Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Who Never Got A Dinner!

Happy Monday and happy March to everyone! As for myself, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalWomensHistoryMonth

March is, among other things, National Women’s History Month – which, according to NationalDayCalendar.com, was “established in 1987 as a way to celebrate women across the nation and their efforts to make the country, and world, a better place for women of all ages and races.”

I’m especially joyful today, regarding sharing Memories Of My Mom, as Mom’s pioneering efforts to imitate America’s favorite junk food, fast food, and other famous restaurant dishes – in a roundabout way, making home a better place, first, and emulating that into the community, the country, and the world – most certainly SHOULD be celebrated as historical!

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t make “the list” of “Top 100 Women of History”, by Jone Johnson Lewis (updated July 3, 2019), as seen at ThoughtCo.com; who used internet searches as a parameter. Likewise, Mom didn’t make “the list” in “Famous Firsts in Women’s History” (by History.com editors – updated Feb. 4, 2021) either.

Nevertheless, many of Mom’s own mentors and idols were on those lists – great women such as Maya Angelou, Lucille Ball, Jackie Kennedy (Onassis), the Bronte sisters, Anne Frank, Julia Child, Oprah Winfrey, and Erma Bombeck! That brings to mind the hilarious rantings about famous people who “never got a dinner” by Red Buttons, as a frequent guest “roaster” on many of the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roast shows.

Mom never won a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer Prize, nor had she written the “great American novel”. But, for over 40 years, she was a journalist, writing and self-publishing hundreds of food-for-thought articles and newsletters; as well as over 40 cookbooks, unlike any others on the market! My mom was a pioneer in the food industry, being the first person (let alone, the first woman) to carve out the “copycat cookery” niche – but she “never got a dinner”!

Mom didn’t make great scientific contributions, like Marie Curie or Florence Nightingale; however, she was the FIRST to develop recipes that imitated many American’s favorite foods like KFC Chicken, McDonald’s Special Sauce, Wendy’s Frosty, White Castle’s Hamburger “Slider”, Famous Amos’ Cookies, and THOUSANDS more! Mom made countless meals in her lifetime that  tasted like we were “eating out at home” – but Mom “never got a dinner”!

Mom developed her own “secret recipes” for “famous foods from famous places”, right at home – and shared those secrets in her books and newsletters! Mom often gave away “free samples” of her work through the mail, on TV and radio talk shows, as well as in newspaper and magazine interviews – and “never got a dinner”!

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Mom wrote and syndicated her own columns for newspapers and magazines, geared toward the Women’s-Lib-Movement-fence-sitting-housewives-turned-homemakers (like herself). Starting in the early 1970s, Mom was imitating the coveted (yet taboo) fast foods, junk foods, and convenience foods – taking the “junk” out of the “so-called” junk foods – but she “never got a dinner”!

Mom wasn’t a women’s rights activist, like Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In fact, she often had a few choice words for Women’s Lib (satirically speaking)…

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in… “No Laughing Matter”; a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer

(date unknown; circ. 1970s)

GIVE ME LIBERTY OR…

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to Women’s Lib, I don’t think they can help me. I think they’ve done enough for me already! Frankly, I think I was doing alright before they came along. At least I could get a seat on a bus. Now I’m lucky if a man will offer to hold my packages for me.

I can also remember when cutting the grass was considered “man’s work”. These days my husband flips me two-out-of-three to see which of us gets the lawn mower and who will fix the iced tea and sit on the patio chair to watch.

Last week, I was visited by a new militant group of women in our neighborhood who are protesting the proposed 4-day work week for MEN. They advocated a simple test. If you cannot get through a two-week vacation and the Christmas holidays with a man who over-waters your house plants and alphabetizes your refrigerator then how can you get through a three-day weekend, 52 weeks out of the year?

For you must then decide if you have to run the sweeper [aka: vacuum] while he’s taking a nap, or does he have to take a nap while you’re running the sweeper. Arguing with a husband (especially when he’s your own), is like taking a shower/bath in a scuba outfit. But I have a theory!

There are some things in this liberated life, which a woman just cannot control. You have tasted instant failure when neither of you can agree on who gets custody of the only controls on the electric blanket; and if it’s fair that she who makes the garbage must also carry it out; and whose mother calls more – yours or his?

Mom always felt that all of us could and should make the world a better place. It all counts – even in the smallest ways! Mom did it, herself, in all of her creations, through her comical cartoon panels, food-for-thought articles and food-for-the-soul inspirations; not to mention her very UNIQUE food-for-the-table recipes. My mom was a “creative guru” at whatever she attempted – but she “never got a dinner”!

She wore so many hats in our family – as cook, maid, chauffer, nurse, seamstress, counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. Additionally, in her dining-room-table-based “family enterprise”, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and (again) so much more! She was a “Wonder Woman” – who “never got a dinner”!

As a semi-modernized, yet somewhat old-fashioned, working “housewife”-turned-“homemaker”, during the 1970s – amidst the Women’s Lib Movement – Mom felt extremely blessed to be able to do what she loved most, WRITE; while being able to do it from home, balancing and juggling her many hats as “Mom”, “Wife”, and “Business Woman”. Yet she “never got a dinner”!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 295)

A MEAL BY ANY OTHER NAME

FAST FOOD RECIPES were not published in the best-sellers – and these were the restaurants where families were apt frequent if they wanted a meal that was affordable!

Paul and I could take all 5 of the children to Capri’s, an Italian restaurant down the road from us in Pearl Beach, and we could feed the whole family for less than $10, providing we ordered the large pizza with only pepperoni and cheese on it and one soft drink for each of us. It was not for substance that we ate out. It was for entertainment.

We could take the kids to McDonald’s and it did the same thing for us that going to the movies did for our parents. It was an affordable pleasure. It was a diversion from meatloaf and pot roast and peas and carrots.

It was a treat. We looked forward to it. We felt good about the experience and even better after it was over. It carried us through a long week of paying the utilities, insurance, house payments and car payments and grocery expenses.

When we had to have our 10-year-old station wagon repaired, we had to skip eating out that week. If one of us had to see the dentist, it might be 2 or 3 weeks before we could afford to eat out again. We made do with what we had. We could make the most of what we had. In the 50s and 60s and early 70s, this is the way parents raised their families, budgeted their earnings and allowed for their pleasures.

Things changed, as well they should. Women went out to work. If they weren’t working to supplement the family income, they went to work for their own satisfaction. Whatever the reasons, families changed. Eating at home became less and less appealing – and less and less convenient. Homes were built with smaller kitchens and bigger bathrooms. Microwave ovens were more affordable – and defrost and heat became more popular.

WE WANTED OUR CAKE AND WE WANTED TO EAT IT, TOO!

We wanted to eat out at a price we could afford; and, when we couldn’t afford to eat out, we wanted to dine-in as if we were eating out! At the time, there were few recipes for this kind of cooking. We wanted to spend less time preparing the foods and less money on the ingredients and still serve a dish to those who shared our table with us that would be equal to – if not better than – anything we could buy in a restaurant or from a supermarket.

For all of these reasons, I have pursued the investigations of the food industry with the greatest joy and the utmost care, translating into recipes, those secrets that I have been able to decipher.

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 141)

MARITAL BLISS

BREAD-BAKING has filled my house with the most delicious aromas – on those occasions when I have ventured into the catacombs of conscious cookery. I was taught by a grandmother who believed that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach; and, if you kept your man well-fed and loved and listened-to, everything else would fall into its proper place in perspective. Well, we can’t all be right all the time. Grandma tried.

Bread-baking was not the Elmer’s “Glue-All” of my marital bliss and stability. In fact, on occasion, it might have threatened our harmony – considering that, before I learned a few chosen shortcuts to better baking, I could (at the drop of a hat) clutter the countertops with every bowl, dish, spoon, pan and ingredient possible! This, of course, necessitated having to “eat out” on those nights when there was no place to prepare a deserving dinner at home.

It reminded me that somewhere there should be a clause in every cookbook warning young wives with old-fashioned morals about marriage that there are some things Mother never told us… Or if she did, I just wasn’t paying attention!

In any case, I recommend cooking as being thoroughly therapeutic! Bread-baking includes the energetic kneading of the dough – which enables one to work off pent-up emotions that one cannot otherwise rid themselves of verbally.

Whenever I had problems to work out (which was like every other minute or so) I would either be in the kitchen, cooking something, or at the typewriter, writing about cooking something! Kneading a large batch of yeast dough is a great way to unwind and relieve tensions.

Of course, it didn’t always solve my problems, since most of them were directly related to my finding my utensils, which I had to locate before I could start relieving myself of unwanted tensions. I’ll bet I was the only woman on the block who had to sift through the kids’ sandbox before I could set the table or bake a loaf of bread!

LAST THOUGHTS…

If you missed my visit last week on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene, you can listen to the podcast recording here:

https://www.whby.com/2021/02/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-touchmark/

I’ve also created a list of links to all of our monthly WHBY “Pitzer” Podcasts, thus far, including Mom’s recipes that I’ve shared with Kathy’s audience. See the “Media Friends” tab on this website, as I will be updating the list monthly with more links and recipes of our radio visits.

[Our next visit is scheduled in four weeks – Monday, March 29th!]

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#NationalPeanutButterLoversDay

In honor of National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, today, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Peanut Butter Pie like that of Ohio’s Goody-Goody Restaurant; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 239)

AND HERE’S AN ENCORE of Mom’s “secret recipe” for RecessTM Peanut Butter Cups, as seen in her “free recipes” offerings – also, part of her “Original 200” collection!

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March is also…

Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, and National Sauce Month!

Furthermore, one of the many celebrations for this whole week is aimed at National Procrastination Week – which is actually celebrated during the first TWO weeks in March (or whenever it’s convenient)!

Additionally…

Today, March 1, is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, and National Pig Day!

Tuesday, March 2, is… National Banana Cream Pie Day, National Old Stuff Day, and National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day)! 

Wednesday, March 3, is… National Anthem Day, National Cold Cuts Day, National I Want You to Be Happy Day, National Mulled Wine Day, and Soup It Forward Day!

Thursday, March 4, is… National Grammar Day, National Sons Day, and National Pound Cake Day!

Friday, March 5, is… National Cheese Doodle Day; and as the first Friday in March [2021] it’s also National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, National Speech and Debate Education Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day!

Saturday, March 6, is… the kick-off of International Women’s Week [which starts the first Saturday in March]! It’s also National Frozen Food Day, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, and National Oreo Cookie Day! In honor of the latter, here is Mom’s famous imitation of the famous sandwich cookie:

Sunday, March 7, is… National Flapjack Day, National Be Heard  Day, National Cereal Day, and National Crown of Roast Pork Day! It is also the start of the 1st FULL week in March (7th-13th for 2021), which celebrates National Girl Scout Week, Words Matter Week, and Read an E-Book Week (see below)!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…9 down and another 43 to go!

WHBY “PITZER” PODCASTS

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

For WHBY “Pitzer” Podcasts, in case you missed them, check out the following links:

April 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/04/27/laura-pitzer-emerich/

May 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/05/26/laura-pitzer-emerich-2/

June 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/06/29/laura-pitzer-emerich-open-show/

July 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/07/27/laura-pitzer-emerich-open-show-2/

August 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/08/31/laura-pitzer-emerich-3/

September 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/09/30/laura-pitzer-emerich-4/

October 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/10/26/laura-pitzer-emerich-5/

November 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/11/30/laura-pitzer-emerich-amy-albright/

December 2020 (which was postponed into January 2021) – https://www.whby.com/2021/01/10/laura-pitzer-emerich-6/

January 2021 – https://www.whby.com/2021/01/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-7/

February 2021 –

February 2021 – interview postponed to Thursday, 2-25-21 – https://www.whby.com/2021/02/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-touchmark/

[TO BE CONTI NUED – STAY TUNED FOR MORE!]

 

 

 

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Radio Is Like Family

Happy Monday to all! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you! And the last Monday of each month has become extra special to me ever since last April, when I started getting together with Kathy Keene, host of the Good Neighbor” show on WHBY (Appleton, WI) and reminiscing about Mom, who was a regular on Kathy’s show, once a month, for almost 13 years, from June 1992 through December 2005.

#WHBY

Today, around 11:08am CDST/12:08pm EDST, I will be reminiscing about Mom, once again, with Kathy Keene, during the first part of her Good Neighbor” show! You can listen to it live or later at WHBY.com!

[***CORRECTION: (ABOVE) RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, THE 25TH – SAME TIME…]

Times were tough back in the early 1970s, when Mom decided to leave her job at the paper to start her own newsletter – and not just for our family. Mom wanted to share all the ways she found to save money, especially with her own growing family of seven, through her “eating out at home” ideas. Mom always knew who her target audience was for her “copycat cookery” crusade and where to find them!

While other forms of media were great, too, radio turned out to be the most solid cornerstone in the building of the success of Mom’s Secret RecipesTM business. The public loved her “new idea” [at least is was at that time] for making your own fast food, junk food and other coveted food favorites right at home, easily, and at less cost.

Right from the start, Mom and radio formed a seemingly natural friendship. The people she got to know through her regular radio visits across the country and internationally became like a second family to Mom. She wrote about them often in her books and newsletters. Mom’s radio visits always made her day shine, even when the skies were grey.

Many of the people with whom Mom worked in that industry said she had a great “radio voice”. While, Mom had also appeared on some pretty famous TV “talk” shows, over the years, she really felt more “at home” when she was being interviewed on radio talk shows. She also found the audiences of the radio talk shows she was on to be the most positive and receptive audiences of all!

Over the decades, Mom received a lot of “fan mail” and requests from all around the world. The radio shows’ audiences, to whom she often spoke, asked for a wide array of recipes for recreating their favorite restaurant and grocery store products. Even after 40 years [1974-2014], as the food industry evolved, there were always more, new and interesting challenges for Mom to conquer.

‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ ― Theodore Roosevelt

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 9)

BOB ALLISON’S “ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR” [SHOW] – HI, NEIGHBOR!

One of the nicest things about being a writer is that you can work at home. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, as soon as my kids were out the door to the school bus, I set up my $39.95 Smith Corona portable typewriter at the kitchen table, where I was one step away from the stove, refrigerator and recipes I was curious to test and write about.

The view from the kitchen table included the front yard and the North Channel of the St. Clair River (part of the St. Lawrence Seaway to everyone else) – the riverside was [called] the front yard and the roadside was the back yard. The old house had its faults, I’ll grant you, but nobody could refuse a view like we had, living on the banks of that river!

There was always something going on outside, sufficient to inspire a feeling of well-being, which every writer must have to do their job well. In keeping with “write about what you know best”, I could put every economical recipe I used to feed my family of seven to good use, sharing the Secrets with others.

One of my addictions in those days was a daily recipe radio show called Ask Your Neighbor, hosted by Bob Allison over the WWJ-Detroit radio airwaves. He always opened his two-hour show by saying, “if you have a household problem you cannot solve, then call… (and he’d give a phone number) …and ask your neighbor!”

I called him frequently with answers to his other listeners’ recipe questions, until I became “a regular” on the show. With Bob’s generous help in mentioning my monthly newsletter, my subscriptions began to climb to 300, and 400. I was finally showing a profit! That gave my husband, Paul, some relief from his skepticism that I would eventually outgrow my obsession with writing.

From Bob Allison’s listeners alone, Paul and I had received over 1000 letters in one day! …It is as much a thrill for me today, to hear somebody on Bob’s Ask Your Neighbor show request that “Gloria, The Secret Recipe Detective” try to duplicate a recipe, as it was for me decades ago when it all began.

‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ – Seneca (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)

Mom wrote and self-published hundreds of newsletters and at least 40 books filled with not only thousands of her own “secret” recipe imitations, but also with her humorous stories and anecdotes, helpful kitchen and household tips, as well as some history or background information about many of the companies and products she imitated.

Mom really knew how take the monotony out of meal time! She designed her books and newsletters much like patchwork quilts, with a piece of this and a piece of that; offering a variety of things that might interest her readers. She intended them to be as much coffee-table or bedside-table reads as they were recipe collections for the kitchen.

There were no other books or newsletters on the market (in the 1970s) that were offering what Mom did! Her compositions stood out and captured a lot of attention that spread like wildfire! It was a perfect storm – from the unique layout and subject matter of her books and newsletters to the media exposure she got – mostly through radio but also via newspapers, magazines and TV – bringing about Mom’s fame as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM of the food industry.

I’m still working on a time line that spans about 35-40 years, of all of Mom’s radio and TV appearances, as well as newspaper and magazine interviews. I will eventually be adding this timeline to TheRecipeDetective.com website’s “Media Friends” tab. I’ve been gathering the information through my copies of her many books, newsletters and other works.

I’m also continuing to work on a “Master Index” of Mom’s complete recipe collection and am updating the “Recipes” tab with Mom’s imitations that I’ve shared in my blog posts.

‘The experiences we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry…has occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio [and television] broadcasting and newspaper [and magazine] exposure… I have met some of the nicest people in the world, some of the most generous people who want to share their good ideas with me as much as I want to share mine with them. Of these good people, I will speak often and lovingly.’– Gloria Pitzer [My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 2)]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 75)

THE CHALLENGE TO INSPIRE

WE EMBRACE THE challenge to inspire… The care and concern that an author has for their readers is part of the pleasure of presenting interesting ideas in either an entertaining way or in an informative way. I try to balance my own presentations between the two.

When I am broadcasting over the numerous radio stations around the country, sometimes around the world, I try to lift the listener to a new height of interest and enthusiasm, and I leave the serious side of nutrition to the experts, who have the medical background to support their claims.

My hope is to present my recipes in such a way that cooking is a joy and never a job! I try to present these recipes with the same concern as I do giving a gift to a special friend. Each of our 5 children, who have grown up helping Paul and me with these recipes, have gone out into the world with this legacy of love and enthusiasm. We can only hope that they use what we have given them.

When the publishers initially rejected Mom’s creative offerings because they weren’t the picturesque, routine and monotonous cookbooks, which they thought the public wanted; Mom was only more determined to publish them, herself! After all, she was part of the public too – and these were the kind of books she wanted!

When you think about it, writing and publishing are only minor steps in the whole “book process” compared to marketing; which is probably an author’s biggest challenge because it involves so much more personal time and effort. For Mom, it was a labor of love!

To say, “Mom really enjoyed her promotional schedule of radio talk shows after each of her cookbooks (and newsletter issues) ‘premiered’,” would be an understatement! For Mom, her radio “visits” across the country, even internationally, felt more like having an “after party”, over and over again!

Like any proud mom, she loved to talk about her babies (the recipes, newsletters and cookbooks)! In fact, Mom’s relationships with radio talk shows and their hosts went on for more than 32 additional years, when she was eventually forced to fully retire for health reasons.

As I’ve mentioned in previously, Mom briefly ventured into TV talk shows for some of her cookbook promotions – most notably were the two times that she was on the Phil Donahue Show (in 1981 and 1993). Regardless, Mom always felt more at home on the radio. I suppose that’s in part because she was actually at home, doing most of her radio roundtables by phone, from her kitchen and/or office (in the next room).

Mom was a natural at marketing herself, her talents and her products. Maybe it stemmed from her own upbringing, as both of her parents were realtors. I may have inherited Mom’s loves for writing, art and creativity in general; but I’m definitely lacking in her confidence and marketing talents!

‘It is as much a thrill for me, today, to hear somebody… request that ‘Gloria, The Secret Recipe Detective’ try to duplicate a recipe, as it was for me a decade ago when it all began.’ – Gloria Pitzer (May 1982)

[*NOTE: That thrill continued to remain with Mom, for many more decades, until she passed away in January 2018.]

Mom often wrote about her radio visits in her numerous books and newsletters – even including her up-coming radio schedules in her newsletter issues, so that her readers in those areas could tune in. Nowadays, you can “tune in” to just about any show, from anywhere, via the internet!

On one of the very first pages of Mom’s last cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018), which I helped her to rewrite for the new digital generation from her favorite, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983), is a “thank you list”, dedicated to radio stations, talk show hosts, and others with whom Mom worked.

They significantly contributed to the first decade of the growing success of Mom’s Secret RecipesTM business. Incidentally, Mom’s relationships with radio talk shows and their hosts went on for more than 32 additional years, when she was basically forced to give it up for health reasons. Nonetheless, like family, she kept in touch with many of them; even after her “retirement” in 2014.

I must say, the internet is an awesome source of information and archives in which to find some of Mom’s old No Laughing Matter columns; as well as her old cookbooks that have been out of print for years.

Some of her old books can still be found for sale on Amazon and eBay (sometimes for ridiculously high prices, because they’re no longer in print). As well as her last book that was published by Balboa Press in January 2018.

Unfortunately, on the flip side of that coin, because of all the information that can be found on the internet in just a few key words, those kind of call-in talk shows that Mom used to frequent, are now going to the wayside, like the old drive-in movie theaters.

I have heard from quite a few people, since starting these blogs (September 2018), who’ve told me that they still have copies of Mom’s books and newsletters and how special they remain to them. I pour through my copies all the time for inspiration for, both, cooking and writing!

I recently reminisced with another of Mom’s friends in radio, Art Lewis, who hosted the “Listen to the Mrs.” program, along with co-host, Sue Smith, on WSGW-Radio in Saginaw, MI – which, until a couple of years ago, had been on the air since 1952.

Art mentioned how he loved to kiddingly tease Mom about the oven in her and Dad’s RV, which sparkled like new – because she never used it! I would love to hear from you, as well! Please write to me at therecipedetective@outlook.com or contact me on Facebook (@TheRecipeDetective) with YOUR memories of my mom!

In honor of February’s Great American Pies Month and National Bake for Family Fun Month [see another baking recipe further below, too], here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Strawberry Pie, like that of New York’s famous Lindy’s; as seen on page 29 of her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997)!

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some other February month-long, national celebrations that are still going on this week include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Additionally, other celebrations for this week include:

Today is the start of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and National Invasive Species Awareness Week. It is also National California Day, National Cook a Sweet Potato Day, and National Margarita Day!

Tuesday is National Dog Biscuit Day and National Banana Bread Day! In honor of which, below is an imitation for Banana Bread Like The Grand Hotel’s that I helped Mom develop, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 182).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

Wednesday is National Tortilla Chip Day!

Thursday is National Chocolate Covered Nut Day, National Clam Chowder Day, National Toast Day, and National Chili Day! In honor of which, below is a re-share of Mom’s famous imitation for “Wednesday’s Chili”…

Friday is National Pistachio Day, National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, and Skip the Straw Day!

Saturday is National Kahlua Day, National Retro Day, and National Strawberry Day!

Sunday is the end of February, as well as National Chocolate Souffle Day and National Floral Design Day!

Feel free to click on any of these links (above) – THEY ARE NOT ADS (except for Mom’s last cookbook), just information Mom would’ve found interesting, too – because she advocated to learn something new every day!

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…8 down and 44 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Culture Of Kindness

Happy Monday and a joyful National Random Acts of Kindness Week! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#RandomActsOfKindness

Yesterday was the start of National Random Acts of Kindness WEEK. Additionally, Wednesday is recognized as National Random Acts of Kindness DAY (as well as Ash Wednesday)! If these “kindness holidays” sound a bit familiar, it’s probably because we just celebrated WORLD Kindness Week and World Kindness Day, a few months ago, in November.

There’s an amazing alliance, all around the world, whose intent it is to basically evolve society for the better through DAILY Random Acts Of Kindness. Their website, by the same name, promotes making random acts of kindness “the norm” and offers a lot of great stories and other inspirations about different ways to spread kindness throughout the week – but, please, don’t stop there!

There are many, eminent, positive, health benefits in relation to kindness for both, the givers and the receivers. For example, acts of kindness are recognized for making those involved happy and happiness is well-known to drive up energy, as well as self-esteem; which, in turn, is also good for the heart and, thereby, likely to help us live longer. You can read more about the health benefits of kindness at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

‘THE GREATEST WASTE in the world is the difference between what we are, and what we could be!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 10)

As I’ve recommended in previous posts, WisdomQuotes.com offers many inspirations from which to choose at least one idea a day to implement throughout the whole year! I think we should all make a new resolution to be more kind, on a DAILY basis.

It’s been said many times over that practice makes perfect. Practice also creates habits that will, in turn, hopefully, become our “new norm”. I’ve heard that habits take about a week to form, therefore, I want to recommend, once again, Chrystle Fiedler’s challenge in “Why Being Kind Makes You Healthier” (as seen at… StarTribune.com; July 24, 2019). Chrystle wrote:

‘Try the seven-day kindness challenge. That means, do at least one act of kindness every day for seven days. Ground rules: Do something different each day; push yourself out of your comfort zone at least once and be sure one of your acts of kindness is anonymous — no one should ever find out who did it.’

#FoodForThought

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 30)

MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY

Have you ever had your day suddenly turn sunshiny because of a cheerful word? Have you ever wondered if this could be the same world because someone had been unexpectedly kind to you. You can make today [that way] for somebody! It’s only a question of a little imagination, a little time and trouble. Think now, ‘What can I do today, to make someone happy?’

IS A SINGLE HEART REJOICING over what you did or said?

Does the one whose hopes were fading, now with courage, look ahead?

Do you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,

‘You have earned one more tomorrow, by the work you did today’?

Between the thousands of recipes in her self-published cookbooks and newsletters, Mom always placed many of her own Food-for-Thought editorials, bits of wisdom, and food-for-the-soul inspirations; all written with a great love and passion for helping and informing her readers – whether requested by them or just something she came upon and thought it might be of interest to them. I try to do the same when I write.

‘Happy is the person who has a good supply of the milk of human kindness and knows how to keep it from souring.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17)

Gloria Pitzer, 1985

Mom was a really big advocate for being kind to and loving others. She would often question why we all couldn’t just get along, as “we’re all God’s children”, she would say. To myself (NEVER out loud), I would often sarcastically whisper, in reply: “Wouldn’t that be sibling rivalry then?”

Mom really tried to be a positive example, lifting up others through her writings – from her food-for-thought columns (throughout the 1960s and 1970s) that were syndicated to multiple magazines and newspapers across the country to her hundreds of self-published newsletters (January 1974 through December 2000) and MANY DOZENS of cookbooks (1973- 2018).

Mom even wrote a few books dedicated strictly to her food-for-thought and inspirational ideas. Throughout, Mom would always emphasize the importance of really caring about each other, being kind and loving. She held a strong faith in Love and all the things it could overcome and yield. Mom would often inter-changed the word “Love” with “God”.

‘…Probably nothing that you couldn’t [or wouldn’t] attempt, now, without a reasonable chance of success. But, by removing the risk you might attempt things that were a bit more daring or slightly more challenging.’ – Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

SUCCESS

As a man grows older he reads more of the ‘Book of Experience’ and less of the pages of ‘Prophecy’. He thinks more of the real worth of folk, and less of their shortcomings. He boasts less and boosts more. He concludes that snobbery is a confession of inferiority, and kindly consideration of others is the hallmark of the only aristocracy worth mentioning.

He hurries less and usually accomplishes more. He comes to realize that age is but a state of mind and that the greatest reward that one can win is the respect, understanding and love of his fellow man. [As Aldous Huxley said:] ‘The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.’

‘Success is not in never failing but in never fearing to begin again!’ – Gloria Pitzer

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 24)

DOING SOMETHING NICE

Don’t expect the world to think you’re wonderful just because you do something ‘good’ – for someone else! Good people do good things all of the time – everyday, and no one pats them on the back for it. You have to do good – not for what others are going to think of you, but what you’re going to think of yourself!

If you get a kick out of doing something good for somebody… do it! But don’t expect any rewards or special recognition for having gone out of your way. Every once in a while you may be complimented for something good that you’ve done, and that’s very nice.

But most of the time, whatever you do is to make yourself feel better about what has to be done, or what should be done! It’s not a matter of conscience, but of compassion. Either you have it, or you don’t!

‘My favorite daily newspaper in Boston has the slogan, ‘to bless all mankind and injure no man’. That is how I would want to write my own publications.’ – Gloria Pitzer,  My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 86)

Besides happy and healthy, kindness is also known to help others feel valued. Thus, showing even the smallest amount of kindness can go a really long way. Like the Greek storyteller, Aesop, once said: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” In other words, a culture of kindness can have a positive ripple effect; inspiring others to pay it forward, in the same fashion.

Being kind and compassionate should happen every day! After all, weren’t we taught to be good and kind since we were toddlers in Kindergarten, or even earlier? Why do we seem to forget that important lesson as we get older?

According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum (the author) “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”

As I previously wrote about, in November, kindness is truly an essential part of society, bridging the divides of race, religion, gender, and other such things – even politics. This is an excellent week to celebrate kindness, considering all of the political upheaval still going on in our country. It’s still needed more than ever, as divided we fall but united we stand!

#TheGolden Rule

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12) is considered the elementary “Golden Rule”, by which we all should live. According to Wikipedia, the name came about “because there is ‘value’ in having this kind of respect and caring attitude for one another.”

As I wrote in one of my blog posts, “The Golden Rule”, it’s a basic, moral principle for society to adopt and employ, encouraging everyone to treat each other with kindness and respect, for that’s how we should want to be treated, as well! It’s a simple and reasonable guiding principle, by which to live, everyday!

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

In so many ways, Mom and Dad, both, set good examples for me to follow. I’m proud to do the same, setting a good example for my children to follow; and I can only hope that that they will continue the tradition, as well, making kindness their daily norm.

The giving of the best of ourselves should be done without expectations of reciprocations of gratitude! It is through acts of kindness and giving from our hearts that we actually receive our own true gift – one that can’t be bought or even price-valued – the gift of LOVE!

Like a smile, a random act of kindness – just because – can be contagious. But, unlike the coronavirus, that’s a good thing. Plant the seed, every day, and watch kindness grow wild!

‘Greatness is measured by kindness – education and intellect, by modesty – ignorance is betrayed by suspicion and prejudices – real worth is measured by consideration and tolerance of others.’ – B.C. Forbes

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

EVEN MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 43)

YOU’VE MADE A FRIEND

A SMILE IS the universal, unspoken language between us. Some people smile more easily than others, but a smile is as good as a hug. I just LOVE people who smile a lot! Even when I’m shopping or [when Paul and I are] walking around the campgrounds on one of our abbreviated ‘get-aways’ with our motorhome, I find myself smiling at people I have never seen before, and they smile back. It’s contagious!

People don’t smile as much as they should! I’ve noticed lately how seldom strangers smile at each other in shopping centers and restaurants and other places where average folks mingle or pass. It occurred to me that there was nothing to lose by smiling and nodding at people as I shopped or glanced across a restaurant to other tables.

A surprising thing happened! Grim looking faces spontaneously responded with smiles and nods, as if they were trying to place me or recall where we might have met before. It was just wonderful!

‘Friends are a treasure and when we count our blessings we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)

IN CLOSING…

Today is also National Wisconsin Day!

Thus, in honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Milwaukee Cheese Soup; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 71)

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Don’t forget, according to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Another week-long celebration that began yesterday (as it was the 2nd Sunday in February) is National Kraut and Frankfurter Week!

Additionally…

Today is also Presidents Day & National Gumdrop Day!

Tuesday is National Almond Day, Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day, & Fastnacht Day!

Wednesday is National Cabbage Day!

Thursday is National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day & National Drink Wine Day!

Friday is National Tartar Sauce Day & National Chocolate Mint Day!

Saturday is National Love Your Pet Day, National Muffin Day, & National Cherry Pie Day!

Sunday is National Sticky Bun Day!

HAVE A SUPER-TERRIFIC WEEK!

#GoodNeighbor

REMINDER: My monthly interview with Kathy Keene, on the “Good Neighbor show, is coming up, again, next Monday!

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…7 down and another 45 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Writers Appreciation

Happy Monday and a jubilant Freelance Writers Appreciation Week to all! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays, because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share my Memories of My Mom, the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#FreelanceWritersAppreciationWeek

Yesterday was, among other things, the start of Freelance Writers Appreciation Week. It’s one of those special, week long “chances” we get (each year) to be grateful for writers! I’m a big fan of reading so I’m very grateful for the creative talents of writers, producing works that are inspirational, educational, informational, entertaining, thought-provoking, and so much more.

I consider myself to be a writer but not a freelancer, as I don’t make any money from my writings or this blog. Freelance, per Dictionary.com, means “selling [one’s] work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”

In fact, even the links that I incorporate into my blog posts are not ads and I don’t receive money (or anything else) for anyone clicking on them. I include them merely because I find their subject matter to be relative and current, as well as at least one or more of the adjectives I listed above. Simple as that!

Mom started her career in freelance writing when she was a young teen. What began as winning essay writings for various contests turned into food-for-thought columns that she syndicated to various newspapers and magazines as a young adult. Writing, you could say, was always in Mom’s blood.

As I wrote in my introduction picture, I started this blog (and continue it) to raise awareness of Mom’s trailblazing talents in the food industry, as the ORIGINAL creator of copycat cookery; but also for the wonderful legacy that she left all of us through her own freelanced, syndicated, and self-published writings.

Mom wasn’t just the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, who investigated and developed (in her own kitchen) imitations of popular restaurant dishes, fast food items, pantry-shelf products, and more. Mom also filled all of her books and newsletters with just about as much food-for-thought editorials and food-for-the-soul inspirations as she did food-for-the-table recipes and kitchen tips.

Mom always wanted her creations to be just as much at home on the living room coffee table or even the bedside table as they were on the kitchen counter. Her books and newsletters were like no others, which put her writings in a unique position to be noticed – and that they were!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 22)

JOURNALISM

JOURNALISM IS a peculiar profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].

Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.

[Unfortunately, Mom ran out of words on January 21, 2018. But her legacy will always live on!]

The pros and cons of freelancing can be limitless, depending on so many different factors for different people. Freedom, control, flexibility, and independence are just some of the possible perks that attract freelancers. However, there’s always an “on-the-other-hand” side to that coin too.

No paid benefits (like vacation, personal, or sick times; nor, employer “sponsored”, health insurance), a lack of job security, “client” development, and unstable/sporadic work opportunities are just some of the disadvantages that weigh heavy on a struggling freelancer.

Thus, it takes a lot of courage to devote one’s talents (in more ways than one), to succeed as a freelancer – whether it’s part-time or full-time. Either way, you have to be able to put yourself out there, selling you and your “brand” just as much as your creations.

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 86)

HOW I CAME TO KNOW WRITING LAYOUTS & PUBLISHING SKILLS

I WALKED INTO THE OFFICE [of the Roseville Community Enterprise], kids in tow, and John [McPartlin] asked, ‘what can I do for you?’ To that I replied, ‘it’s what I can do for YOU. I’m here to apply for the job of suburban correspondent.’

He said there had to be some mistake, for they were not looking for one. I told him I realize they were not looking for one, but nonetheless, they did NEED one, and I was prepared to provide them with good articles, reports on area municipal meetings and any other features they would require.

‘Inspiration doesn’t make appointments!’ – Gloria Pitzer

John was reluctant, I am sure, to give me the job, but the association did prove to be a very beneficial one for both of us. I learned to key line while working for him, which enables me to now lay out all of my own work, without the assistance of a ‘publisher’.

From my work with John, I also learned about advertising production and sales and proofreading, as well as typesetting with the IBM composer, the very machine that now sets the type of this page and all of our work, making it ‘camera-ready’.

The important lesson I learned, however, from working under John McPartlin was how to recognize a good story and how to write it properly. My favorite daily newspaper in Boston has the slogan, ‘to bless all mankind and injure no man’. That is how I would want to write my own publications.

I learned, among many things, that writers do labor for the love of their work, like a lot of people do, and they live with discipline and constant rejections, which ultimately will separate ‘the men from the boys’ in this profession. The gift is like a slave-master, and the writer must write no matter what else is neglected or sacrificed. So writers settle for rewards of recognition rather than financial security.

Security, to a serious writer, is an amplitude of ideas. Seniority means nothing. Effort and ability mean everything. Competition? There are approximately 400,000 professional writers today [1989] with their articles or books in print, all clamoring for attention from a few thousand were the publications and book publishers. In my specific field, there are over 45,000 cookbooks on the market today [1989]. These are, both, collaborators and competitors.

‘A writer’s tools are ideas and ideas are funny little things that don’t work unless you do!’ – Gloria Pitzer

A writer’s tools are ideas and ideas are funny little things that don’t work unless you do! Often, ideas come without an appointment – like at 2 o’clock in the morning, or in the middle of a pleasant lunch and a lovely restaurant. Then you pull out pen and paper and make notes because the ideas are fresh, and you cannot let yourself postpone the surge of inspiration you instinctively feel is touching you at that moment.

All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them but confront them. Touching this ultimately, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble. It goes back to basically the expectancy of good, which takes some thoughtful consideration. Despite overwhelming challenges, expectancy of goods sustains us, dissolves doubts, even impels a beneficial change in our thinking. Infinitely more than wishful thinking, it’s Divine Law in operation, governing each of us.

STILL, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 1)

A STORY TO SHARE

From the mimeograph machine that I hand cranked and inked, with every 200 copies, came the first pages of our newsletter and the first 200 recipes of favorite dishes from famous places. Actually, I added only a few recipe cards at the time to each of the early issues of the newsletter and these grew from 25 to 50 to 100, finally being concluded with 200 selections as of our February 1977 issue.

Those we offered through the newsletter and on 4 x 6 cards have never been published in one complete edition, so we now offer this collection to celebrate over 20 years of our continuous publication of our Secret RecipesTM. In most of these 200 recipes I’ve not had to alter the ingredients nor the technique but in some that had no regard for what is considered wholesome, I’ve made a few changes and improvements.

It never occurred to me that the dishes we were trying to imitate would not be of interest to a deserving family of readers, who simply wanted to enjoy dining-in as if they were dining out. From that day, in August 1976, when this recipe enterprise became this family’s only source of income, it was a welcomed challenge to be able to work at it, not as a job, but always is a joy.

People often question my ability to continue at it with untarnished enthusiasm and never having had to deal with what is called ‘writers block’. I can’t imagine a day when I am not writing and enjoying every moment of it. The 200 original secret recipes were only the beginning of what I felt would eventually become a well-described collection of worthy recipes. And it happened exactly that way.

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Yesterday began the Great American Pizza Bake week (and Tuesday is National Pizza Day – see more below). In honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Skillet Pizza; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 76).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s other continuing, month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Some other celebrations for the week include: Yesterday was also the start of National Jell-O Week, National Marriage Week!

Additionally …

Today is also National Football Hangover Day, National Iowa Day, & National Boy Scouts Day!

Tuesday is National Pizza Day & National Bagel and Lox Day! The following recipe is a re-share of Mom’s imitation for pizza like Little Caesar’s (as seen in a number of her cookbooks and “free recipe offers”.)

Wednesday is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day!

Thursday is National Peppermint Patty Day, National Make a Friend Day, National Inventors’ Day & National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day!

Friday is National Plum Pudding Day!

Saturday is National Tortellini Day & National Cheddar Day!

Sunday is Valentines Day & National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day! It is also the start of National Kraut and Frankfurter Week [which starts the 2nd Sunday in February] & National Random Acts of Kindness Week.

#GoodNeighbor

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

My next interview with Kathy Keene, on WHBY, is coming up in two weeks!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…6 down and 46 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Super Sunday Feast Bowl

Happy 5th Monday (2021) and happy February to everyone! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

http://therecipedetective.com

#SuperBowlSunday

There weren’t many things that stumped my mom more than understanding my dad’s love of football. Thus, in honor of both, Mom and Dad, I want to write a little about the colossal Super Bowl event that is only 6 days away, now. This year the big extravaganza is being held in Tampa Bay, FL.

And it just so happens that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the NFC champions, facing-off (at home) against the AFC’s champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a rare event when a city hosting the Super Bowl actually has their own team in the event, as the hosting cities are set years in advance. Therefore, Tampa Bay Floridians have been celebrating on a huge scale, as the NFC champions AND Super Bowl LV hosts!

Despite the pandemic that has been plaguing our country and the rest of the world for nearly a year – and continues to do so – parties are still being planned for the big event (even if on a smaller scale than usual), squares are being bought, bets are being placed and all the usual hype about the half-time show and “special” TV ads have already begun!

It seems that there’s always something to celebrate, every day of every year – even if it’s not an “official” holiday – and next Sunday is no exception! Football is not something Mom celebrated but Dad certainly did! Regardless, Mom did always like to entertain – especially with food and drinks – and almost any excuse for a “party” would do!

#NationalSnackFoodMonth

Over the past five and a half decades, the Super Bowl has evolved from a simple championship football game into a cultural phenomenon and an un-official holiday. How perfect that February is also National Snack Food Month, since the most popular Super Bowl party eats are from the snack foods category! At home, snacks are usually prepared from common pantry ingredients and don’t require a lot of preparation. They’re typically “finger-foods” intended to be convenient, easy, quick, and satisfying.

Whether packaged/processed or homemade, snacks are usually small portions of food that are generally eaten between meals and/or before bedtime. However, the category of snack foods (like the Super Bowl event, itself) has evolved from simple cookies, popcorn, pretzels, chips, dips, and the like to also include appetizers like pizza bites, chicken wings, nachos, fondues and deep-fried morsels of just about anything; as well as sliders!

[Below is a re-share of Mom’s famous imitation of sliders, like White Castle’s, who were one of the few corporations that took her imitation for what it was – a compliment – and approved, buying a bunch of her cookbooks to give to all of their company’s executives!]

Last year, according to an article at TheDailyMeal.com, The Most Popular Super Bowl Party Foods, Ranked [written by Carolyn Menyes (Jan. 13, 2020)], the #1 favorite snack food choice was chicken wings! Others that made the top 15 list in this article include sandwiches like subs, pulled pork, and sliders; as well as nachos, chili, pigs-in-blankets, potato skins, guacamole and a half-dozen others.

Another article, Ranking the Best Super Bowl Party Foods, from the staff at SI.com, lists 12 favorite Super Bowl snacks of their own – some not listed in the other article. A couple that I really liked were jalapeño poppers and crab dip. However, they were both in agreement with the #1 choice being wings!

Wikipedia.com claims that about “28 million pounds… of chips, 1.25 billion chicken wings, and 8 million pounds… of guacamole are consumed during Super [Bowl] Sunday”. I searched for Brady’s and Maholmes’ favorite Super Bowl snacks. It seems that Brady is a vegetarian and health nut, while Maholmes seems to like KC Barbeque (go figure).

#CookingWithQue

If you’re a vegan, like Brady, check out Que’s Baked Cauliflower Wings! Que is from our Detroit area and often appears on our local Fox2 News show. This lady is awesome – and I’m not even vegan!

For your Super Bowl celebration (or any day for that matter), below is a repeat sharing of Mom’s imitation for Hot Wings like she had at one of our local Hooters’ restaurants many decades ago… followed by one of her satirical columns about football.

Hot Wings, like Hooters, by Gloria Pitzer

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 301-302)

Originally from… “MINDING THE HEARTH” – a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1970s)

[FOOTBALL SEASON]

I am resigned to my life with an armchair quarterback, for I know that the garlic in our matrimonial gladiola patch is PRO FOOTBALL! From September to March, every year, there is always going to be a gigantic communication gap in our house.

The art of conversation isn’t really lost. It’s merely hidden behind the pre-game warm-up, installing a power offense which will take advantage of decent, but not blinding, speed in the backfield in a right-handed attack with a lot of blocking in a size-out pass pattern.

I guess the reason I’ll never win an argument with my husband in the fall is that I can’t understand one single word he says. I even tried to leave him once during an NFL game, but it wasn’t until the Super Bowl was over (5 months later) that he even noticed I was gone.

I admit, I don’t know much about football, but I still insist it isn’t quite fair that the fellow who worked so hard last season, doing a terrific job as quarterback, wasn’t promoted to HALF-back this season! Anyway, the last time I tried to cultivate an interest in the game was the time my husband called me in to watch the last two minutes of an exciting game. (Mind you, I use the term ‘exciting’ very loosely!) I guess it was exciting.

Paul kept jumping up and down, hollering, ‘Look at them go!’ All I learned from that experience, was that two minutes of football is equal to 20 minutes of Daylight Savings Time. An ordinary Sunday afternoon at our house would begin as he slipped into his George Blanda sweatshirt and punted his bottle of Ironized Yeast Tablets across the room, then he would step up to the TV set and announce, ‘Gloria, is there anything you’d like to say to me before football season begins?’

Perhaps you understand why every fall I join ‘Parents Without Partners’. Because my husband would only notice me if I were to run through the living room with… a number on my back. I can forgive him a lot of faults, especially during football season, but… When he asked if I had anything to say to him before he turned on the set, it was no wonder I replied, ‘Do I have to say it all now?’

‘…You know better than to speak to me during an instant replay!’ he snapped.

‘All right,’ I screamed. ‘Why do you love football better than you love me?’

‘I don’t know,’ he said, scratching his head. ‘But I love you better than basketball! … Love you? Of course, I love you! That’s my job. I’m your husband! Besides, I love EVERYBODY!’

‘I suppose you’d like to have dinner in the living room, in front of the TV,’ I said tartly. ‘Or should I time it for the half-time extravaganza?’

‘Half-time will be fine. By the way,’ he asked, ‘what are we having for dinner?’

‘Film clips of last Sunday’s roast!’ [I answered.]

‘That’s not funny,’ he snapped. ‘I’m getting hungry!’

‘Good!’ I said bitterly. ‘Then the pre-dinner line-up includes whose off-sides that can set the table while I give you a slow-motion replay of how your son kicked the oven door while I was pampering a Boston butt-cuss (an illegal substitution for pork roast) and spelled out Billy Sims with 659 parsley flakes on a field of mashed potatoes.’

‘Okay,’ he chuckled. ‘I can take a joke as well as the next guy. But what are we really having for dinner?’ He asked.

[I answered.] ‘PICKLED PIGSKIN – that’s what!’

WITH ALL THIS INFORMATION IN MIND, you must now understand why it is that I have never written a book for women. I thought I did not have enough information to hold a woman’s interest for more than one or two chapters. But I do NOW, and I’m going to entitle it ‘EVERYTHING YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT FOOTBALL – and were sorry you asked!’

Football season, the punt of no return, is that once-a-year experience that makes me wonder, as my husband sits, watching one game after the other on TV, why he hasn’t worn out HIS end zone! It’s my own fault. I tried to cultivate an interest in the game so that we could share something besides the absence of conversation between us on weekends from September through February.

But looking back, it seems that all we have been able to share, instead, is the compelling urge to see this season over with. I want to see it over with, so that we can be a family again, and my husband would like to see it over with, so that he can see how closely he came to determine the winning team at the Super Bowl!

My armchair quarterback keeps giving advice on every play. Every time this happens, I expect Tom Landry to stretch his arm right through our picture tube and point at my husband, insisting, ‘Hey, you – you with all the advice! Go in for Dupree!’

Mind you, this is the same man who has committed to perfect memory such statistics as how many touchdowns and yards run, his favorite player has mastered, but he can’t remember his own shirt size, where he left his car keys, our kids’ middle names, nor his mother’s telephone number!

But, at least, he is not as emotional over the game as some husbands I know. Just last weekend, I visited my friend while she was in traction in the hospital, bandaged from head-to-toes like an Egyptian mummy – while her apologetic husband leaned over her, explaining, ‘Honey, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you 100 times… NEVER walk in front of the TV during a 95-yard punt return!’

I SUPPOSE, ONE THING I CAN ALWAYS DO, while he watches television football games, is the grocery shopping. After all, somebody must! We can’t eat without groceries. While I have tried to train Paul for retirement, by trying to teach HIM how to shop for the food, I don’t believe he is ready, yet, for his ‘solo flight’ down the aisles of the A&P!

I’m the food-shopper with outstanding guilt-complex who is driven to [let]to  poor souls with 4 items in their arms to go ahead of me – unless they’ve brought their lunch with them and are prepared to spend a month in line behind me, explaining the 3 carts of groceries to the person behind me who has never had feed a family of teenagers.

One must chance that while you are permitting all those nice people to pass you up with their one or two items more than the express line will allow, and YOUR ice cream is in a puddle on the floor under your cart that is being mopped up by a disgruntled stock boy! Things like this occasionally afford me the reputation of being recognized by butchers everywhere as, ‘Here comes that nut who always has to see the other side of the roast!’

Parties for Super Bowl Sunday typically involve large gatherings of friends and families, including those who aren’t even fans of the game. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the “Super Sunday” event (even during a continuing pandemic) always gives people a good excuse for getting together (if only in small, safe groups) to socialize, watch the big game and half-time show – and let’s not forget about the buffets of snacks, appetizers and sweets to consume (as well as the beer)!

The consensus seems to be that Super Bowl Sunday is America’s second biggest day of food consumption, next to Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s why half of the Super Bowl ads are usually food focused. One could say that the Super Bowl parties, themselves, have evolved into a food-fest competition! The top three contenders, for the past few years have been between chicken wings, pizza, and nachos.

I agree with what Jenna Helwig noted in her article (Feb. 5, 2016), You’ll Never Believe How Much Food We Eat On Super Bowl Sunday, on Parents.com, regarding the “second biggest day of food consumption”. Jenna argued that the “Super Bowl actually better reflects what most of us really WANT to eat: classic junk food. From chips and wings to nachos and beer, the Super Bowl is our excuse to just chow down and enjoy all the foods that we rarely eat or feel like we should eat the rest of the year. It should go without saying: There is no place for food guilt during the Super Bowl.”

In honor of the approaching Super Bowl Sunday, below is a re-share of Mom’s “secret recipe” for Meatballs like Win Schuler’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s – The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 57)!

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s other month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Furthermore, some other celebrations for this week include:

Today is National Baked Alaska Day, National Get Up Day, & National Texas Day! Below is a re-share of Mom’s imitation for Texas Fruitcake, like that of the famous Puddin’ Hill legacy.

#NationalTexasDay

Tuesday is National Heavenly Hash Day, National Tater Tot Day, and National Groundhog Day!

Wednesday is National Carrot Cake Day!  For that celebration, here’s another re-share of Mom’s imitation for “Awrey’s Karat Cake”…

#NationalCarrotCakeDay

Thursday is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day & National Homemade Soup Day! It is also the start of Boy Scout Anniversary Week [February 4th-10th, annually]!

Friday is Bubble Gum Day & World Nutella Day!

Saturday is National Chopsticks Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, National Frozen Yogurt Day, & National Play Outside Day [which is on the first Saturday of EVERY month]! It is also the start of Pride in Food Service Week [starting on the 1st Saturday in February]!

Sunday is also National Send a Card to a Friend Day & National Fettuccine Alfredo Day!

Additionally, Sunday will also be the start of National Jell-O Week, National Marriage Week, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week [which is the 2nd full week in February], & the Great American Pizza Bake week!

#GoodNeighbor

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

In case you missed WHBY’sGood Neighbor” show last week, below is a link where you can listen to the recorded podcast of Kathy Keene and I, discussing Super Bowl snacks and some of Mom’s favorite Mexican-style appetizers from page 65 of her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018).

https://www.whby.com/2021/01/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-7/

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…5 down and 47 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happy Hobbies

Happy last Monday of January! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you! Plus, since the spring of 2020, the last Monday of each month has become even more special to me. [See my “LAST THOUGHTS” section, near the end of this post.]

Just a reminder, as January winds down, this whole month is still celebrating (among other things) National Sunday Supper Month, National Blood-Donor Month, National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, and National Soup Month – but January is not over yet!

#NationalHobbyMonth

This week, I’d like to write more about hobbies. A hobby is generally a pleasure-seeking activity that we do, on a fairly regular basis, usually in our spare time. Hobbies add excitement, diversity and enjoyment to our somewhat hum-drum lives. Hobbies also provide us with various health-benefits, as well as relief from depression, anxiety and stress!

Photography, exercising, gardening, cooking, shopping, organizing, reading, writing, crafting, collecting, traveling, and watching movies are just a dozen (of an endless amount) of popular hobby choices that people have taken-up over the years.

I’m sure a lot more people have especially started new hobbies over this past year (or rekindled old hobbies), while in “lock-down” for Covid-19, alone. Additionally, more people probably turned their hobbies into online businesses over this past year, than ever before; creating a new source of income, while having to work from home. We’re a resourceful lot when need be!

Gloria Pitzer, 1985

As January is the beginning of the new year, a lot of resolutions involve starting a new hobby – or turning a hobby into a vocation! Similarly to Mark Twain, NationalDayCalendar.com says about hobbies: “…if you’re really lucky, you can find what you love to do and turn it into your career. You know what they say: ‘If you make your hobby your job, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’”

#FunAtWorkDay

‘Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ – Mark Twain

That’s what happened for Mom. Her girlhood “hobby” of journaling turned into her passion for writing, which turned into her “calling” and eventually her legacy. Mom always said that she made a living with her writing, but it was her writing that made living worthwhile; and that being a writer wasn’t what she did but, rather, who she was!

However, Mom never looked at writing as a “hobby” for herself. To Mom, it was simply part of her being – something she did routinely, every day (like brushing her hair), since she was about 10 years old, until just before she passed away (which was only three years ago, last week).

Mom had a special talent for combining food-for-thought editorials with food-for-the-soul passages, entertaining illustrations and food-for-the-table recipes – all sprinkled with a dash of satire and a pinch of wit – in most of her writings. You can see a list of her writings under the “Cookbooks” and “Other Publications” tabs on this website.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 25)

THE LITTLE STEPS

… Over the years, the reporters who came to interview us, somehow arrived at our doorstep anticipating a happy cross between the Walton’s and the Brady Bunch. I don’t know if they were disappointed or relieved to learn that we weren’t even close to either of the adorable, but fictional, families they expected.

There were times when the reporters asked to come out to our home, then, in Pearl Beach (near Algonac) and so small, I use to say, if we had a City Hall it would be located over a phone booth!

They would approach the story as if it were just another housewife with a happy little hobby who turned it into a profitable business. My writing was never a hobby… For lack of a better definition, the Internal Revenue Service calls our enterprise a ‘business’… [while] others call it our ‘work’. I, however, like the word ‘livelihood’ because it is a lively experience.

‘Journalism is a peculiar profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since graduating high school in 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate, to reach out to someone with ideas…thoughts…reasonings and remembering. While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire, not if they’re truly writers. Editors may retire and reporters may retire…at some given point. But, old writers never die, they just run out of words.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 22)

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 42)

HOW IT BEGAN – CRITICAL EARLY ADVANTAGE

THE MIMEOGRAPH did give me the advantage of being self-sufficient without having to go into debt. Paul failed to see the importance of my having to have this, until I showed him the receipt for it having been paid-in-full, and the bankbook that showed him exactly how much I had earned from having printed a newspaper column on the machine, then selling them to 11 newspapers around the state.

John McPartlin had loaned me his newspaper directory, from which I drew the names and addresses of those weekly papers that had a circulation sufficient to afford a dollar per column, per week. Considering the mimeograph only cost $79.95, I feel I did pretty well, skimping and scraping to get it paid for. Paul was skeptical, however, that it would ever be anything then an expensive hobby. I think I must have tried so very hard to be the best I could be, to prove to him that he was wrong about me.

THE NEWSLETTER BEGAN with the mimeograph in our utility room where I cut the stencils, Inc. the drum by hand, applied the stencils and ran the copies off, a few hundred at a time, allowing them to ear-dry on the dining room table in the next room. The dining room table was a door to which Paul had affixed for table legs. It was seldom clear of our work. I never gave any thought, then either, to the number of hours that we put into producing the newsletter. We simply worked until the work was finished, or we found a good ‘breaking-off’ point.

I found many articles of interest online regarding hobbies for making you happy, as well as making you money. Three great reads that I liked are “4 Ways To Find A Hobby You Love” by Deanna de Bara at TheMuse.com, “20 Productive Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter And Happier” by Chris Haigh at LifeHack.com, and “21 Best Profitable Hobbies…” by at GatheringDreams.com.

Personally, I have many hobbies that I love. I’ve even made a few bucks from some of them. However, I’m not a very good sales person and that is a very important element one needs if they are going to make money from their hobby. You really need to be able to sell yourself and/or your brand, as well as your product and/or service – OR be able to pay someone else (which is usually a lot of money) to do it for you.

‘Succeeding against the odds…When I look back now, I realize that I was so busy trying to prove that others were wrong about me, I couldn’t see how events were already taking place that would sooner or later put me where I had always wanted to be – writing for a worthwhile living, while it made living worthwhile.’ – Gloria Pitzer My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 81)

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

EVEN MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 53)

RISKS – THE HARD ROAD TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY

There are many risks involved with going into business for yourself, no matter what product or service you intend to offer. If I had thought more about the risks, than I did about the possibilities, I never would have moved an inch toward doing any of the things about which I now write.

My husband is not a risk-taker. I am. We complement each other well. He still becomes uneasy and anxious about every new idea I have for another book or another project, on the basis that ‘we can’t afford it.’

I have learned, over the years, to keep many of my projects to myself until they are completed, which in the long run, saves Paul from worrying unnecessarily about something that will very likely turn out well, and keeps me from worrying that Paul is worrying.

SOME PEOPLE EXPERIENCE a certain let-down, after reaching what they consider ‘the top’. When they finally reach the Everest of their ambitions [and] make it to the top, they start to wonder why they were in such a hurry to get there anyhow. Like Lee Iacocca, who was only in his mid-40s when he was president of the Ford Motor Company, writes in his autobiography, [that he had] no idea what he was going to do ‘for an encore’!

I have never had to worry about this, fortunately. When I have been asked about goals or destination, it is been my feeling that every corner I turn has a new goal, a new destination awaiting us. I have never thought of any one point as being the top. Life has so many wonderful opportunities for each of us to take advantage of, that it does not seem reasonable that I should give myself the limitations that would determine just how far I should be able to go.

Because this was never a hobby, never WORK, never a job, I have had no problem with the worry or concern that accompanies a position from which one expects to retire. I would not want to give up what I have been doing since I was a child [writing]. It would be unfair to have to give up doing something that has also brought so much pleasure and good information to so many people.

It was, however, only when I realized WHAT I should be writing about and what I should be sharing with the readers – what I knew best – that things really began to happen. Of course, my husband wisely reminds me, when someone asked about writing their own cookbook, that WRITING it is the easiest part. Knowing how to SELL it is the hard part!

LAST THOUGHTS…

#WHBY

Today is the last Monday of January – so don’t forget to tune-in to WHBY’s “Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene; as I’ll be on with her at the start of the show, discussing our memories of my mom with her listeners. I’ll also be sharing a few of Mom’s favorite recipes, too.

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#NationalSoupMonth

In honor of January’s continued celebration of National Soup Month, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for #CreamOfBroccoliSoup like that from one of her favorite places, Big Boy Restaurant’s; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 118)

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some other celebrations for the week include:

Today is also National Florida Day, National Irish Coffee Day!

Tuesday is National Plan For Vacation Day, National Spouses Day, National Peanut Brittle Day, & National Green Juice Day (aka: #GotMyGreens)!

Wednesday is Library Shelfie Day & National Chocolate Cake Day!

Thursday is National Fun At Work Day, & National Blueberry Pancake Day!

Friday is National Puzzle Day & National Corn Chip Day!

Saturday is national Seed Swap Day & National Croissant Day!

Sunday is Inspire Your Heart With Art Day & National Hot Chocolate Day. It’s also the start of Meat Week!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…4 down and another 48 Mondays to go!

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happy Michigan Day!

Happy Monday to one and all and happy National Michigan Day to all of my fellow Michiganders! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#NationalMichiganDay

As a proud, born-and-bred Michigander, having been raised by two other born-and-bred Michiganders, I think I should talk about today being, among other things, National Michigan Day! In my Michigander-biased opinion, it is one of the most beautiful states in our country!

Bordered by four of the five Great Lakes (and as a major part of the St. Lawrence Seaway), Michigan is home to an abundance of historic places, beautiful sights, famous people, iconic foods, renowned restaurants, and so much more.

Whenever possible, my husband and I LOVE to go on one-day jaunts or weekend road trips to different areas in our scenic state of Michigan, like my parents used to do. We really enjoy exploring the sparkling, blue water shorelines of the Great Lakes, surrounding most of our state; as much as the in-land lakes, rivers, parks, forests and farmlands throughout the state.

A friend of mine and I recently had a debate about the scenic virtues of our fine state. She’s a travel agent and has traveled all over the world, herself. She expressed concern about my Michigan-dominated, sight-seeing, bucket list, as being too narrow or “close to home”. She just felt that my husband and I should get out of the state and see more of our country.

While there are other states we want to see (if we won the lottery), I contended that Michigan is a big state and there are a lot of places within it, which neither of us have seen, yet, and would like to do so first. Mostly because we don’t get “vacation time” (or any kind of paid time-off) from our employers, so we kind of need to stay within our state, at least, for the sakes of loss-of-work-time and other related financial costs.

We really consider ourselves lucky to live in such a beautiful state! Given enough time and money, we’d love to travel to and explore all of the lighthouses that inhabit Michigan’s shorelines, as well as the old, historic windmill in Holland, Michigan. Personally, after we’re more safe from the Covid-19 pandemic, I’d love to experience Holland’s famous Tulip Festival, which is usually held annually in May.

And just as I wrote that last sentence, my husband walked in with our mail and the first thing he handed me was a gorgeously colorful post card from Holland! Pictured on the front is a beautiful painting of Downtown Holland by Lenore De Pree. I love it! That’s what Mom would call a “meant-to-be moment”.

#DiscoverHolland

‘Apparently, it’s true, that LIFE is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 292).]

My husband and I, both, wish we could afford the time to explore more of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula too. We explored a little of the east side of the U.P., during our honeymoon – such as Paradise, White Fish Point, Tahquamenon Falls, Newberry, St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie.

However, we’d really LOVE to afford the time to go back and see more of its beautiful sights – like Brimley, Escanaba, Grand Marais, Ontonagon, Marquette, Manistique, Munising, the Keweenaw Peninsula of Calumet, Canyon Falls, Ironwood and Copper Harbor – as depicted at TripAdvisor.com.

#seefrankenmuth

There are some places (within a couple of hours’ drive) that my husband and I enjoy so much we love to visit them frequently. One such place, which was also a favorite destination of Mom and Dad’s, is Frankenmuth, Michigan! This little town, just southeast of the Saginaw-Bay City area, has been world-famous throughout generations, for their German-heritage and family-style, fried chicken dinners (among other things).

Saginaw is from where one of Mom’s favorite radio talk shows used to air on WSGW. “Listen to the Mrs.” was hosted by Art Lewis (and Sue Smith, when Mom was a regular guest years ago), who became great friends with, both, Mom and Dad over the years.

Normally, thousands of tourists flock to Frankenmuth from all over the world, all year long, and many will wait in line for hours to get their taste of the town’s world-famous chicken dinners at one of its two largest establishments – the Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s. However, not right now because of Covid-19 restrictions. But those days of indoor dining WILL be back!

The town’s German heritage exudes from its many restaurants, bakeries, cheese houses, fudge shops, hotels, breweries and other quaint little stores that line the mile-plus length of the main street through town – from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland at the south end of town (which is all Christmas, all year) to the Frankenmuth Brewery near the north end of town!

Over the 40 years that Mom investigated different restaurant dishes as “The Recipe DetectiveTM”, she came up with about a dozen great imitations from the Frankenmuth establishments; including some of the famous restaurant dishes available at the two major restaurants mentioned above, as well as some baked goods and sugary confections from the local bakeries and fudge shops.

#MackinacIsland

Mackinac Island, Michigan is a very nostalgic place – the summer vacations that I spent there with my family, as I was growing up, are among my most memorable ones. Especially when we just happened to be staying at the Grand Hotel when the filming of “Somewhere In Time” was going on. We seen Christopher Reeves from a distance a couple of times, but we actually got to meet and talk to Christopher Plummer and Jane Seymour between scenes!

The island is actually full of many DIVINE scents! From the variety of flowers in the beautifully kept gardens everywhere you look to the yummy fudge and other sugary confections being made in the little candy shops to the mouth-watering aromas wafting from the open windows and vents of the island’s restaurants and bakeries that line the downtown streets where the mainland ferries bring millions of tourists every spring through fall (as the island is closed to tourism during the winter months).

The following recipe is Mom’s imitation of dark fudge like Mackinac Island serves – as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 31).

Probably one of the most notable Michiganders in our state’s history is Henry Ford, who has contributed enormously to the evolution and growth of our state, as well as to that of our country. He was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and invented the first automobile that middle-class Americans could afford.

Among other great feats, Ford also designed the mass production, assembly line; which led to the industrial revolution. Additionally, in the late 1800’s, Ford worked with another notable Michigander, Thomas Edison, who was born in Ohio but grew up in Port Huron, MI. The contributions to our society from both of these Michigan men are unbeatable.

Relative to Henry Ford, in a roundabout way, in the summer of 1976, Mom had self-published a little cookbook she wrote, called The American Cookery Cookbook, of which the Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn, MI) bought copies to put in its bi-centennial collection. Mom felt very honored!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 296)

My list of ‘Secret Recipes’ had grown to 200 and we offered them, on 4×6-inch cards [that I printed on my mimeograph], at $.25 each or 5 for a dollar. It was quite a packaging process to fill the combinations of orders, so I put all those recipes into a book.

It was going to be our only book on the subject, since most of the recipes were fast foods – but, as it turned out, it was only the first in a series of five books. After ‘Book One’ took off and became a very good seller, I did a Bicentennial American Cookery book as a limited edition and was pleased when the Henry Ford Library at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan ordered copies for their Bicentennial collection. That was July 1976…

Another famous Ford from Michigan was Gerald R. Ford, former (38th) President of the United States, and his wife, Betty Ford – First Lady (1974-1977). Betty was a big advocate for early detection of breast cancer and chemical dependency treatment (both were raised in Grand Rapids, MI). Mom had another roundabout happenstance with each of them also, as she wrote about in the passages pictured below.

Pictured below is Mom’s revision of the recipe she received from Betty Ford, as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking Any More Than You Have To.

Yet another famous Michigander that Mom came to know, through her own growing fame (especially after being on the Phil Donahue Show) as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, is Ed McMahon and his wife, Pam (also a Michigander), which I also wrote about in another blog post a while back…

Mom’s copycat recipes revolution took the nation by storm and washed over the world – thanks to the Phil Donahue Show – like a tidal wave! Ever since her early cookbooks on the subject were first released in the mid-1970s, Mom referred to her copycat imitations as her solutions to “eating out – at home”, and that, she’d add, no longer meant hot dogs on the grill, outside, in the yard!

Word spread like wildfire that a small-town, Michigan housewife was duplicating famous foods from famous places and sharing her secrets in her self-published newsletter and cookbooks! Radio stations, newspapers, magazines and television – they all picked up on the story and it snowballed from there.

Mom was also invited to appear on the Tonight Show; but had been so over-whelmed by her other TV appearances and the audiences’ responses and orders with which our family just couldn’t keep up. Not wanting to get so big that she may lose her enjoyment in what she does, Mom, regretfully, had to decline… [But] Michiganders are kindred spirits!

#SandersCandy

One name in chocolate that Michiganders know well is Sanders Candy. The official Sanders story can be found at https://www.sanderscandy.com/about-us. In the early 1970s, when Mom developed her first imitation of their scrumptious Hot Fudge Sauce, it was among her first 200 “copycat” recipes that launched Secret RecipesTM.

Michiganders (especially southeastern ones) know all about Sanders’ satiny-smooth, luscious, milk chocolate delights! As their company slogan once said, ‘When it’s from Sanders, even a little is a big, big treat.’ I have a lot of great family-time memories of when Mom made their special treats for us – and it was especially fun to help her make them too!

A secret that Mom discovered, in developing her homemade version, was that Nestle brand milk chocolate was the key ingredient in replicating the creaminess and flavor, as no other brand she had tried brought about the same taste and texture that she was trying to achieve. I’ve shared a couple different versions of Mom’s homemade Sanders’ Hot Fudge Sauce imitations in the “Recipes” tab on this website. It was always one of our family’s top 10 favorites of Mom’s copycat creations!

#PureMichigan

Many decades ago, during the countless radio show interviews that Mom did, around the country and internationally, as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, she often received requests for Michigan-based recipes. Usually the appeals were from listeners who were re-located Michiganders that couldn’t find or enjoy their favorite, Michigan-made, iconic foods!

Michigan restaurants that Mom would frequent to taste-test their dishes and try to develop imitations of them at home included the Cheesecake Factory, Olga’s Kitchen, Bill Knapp’s, Win Schuler’s, Elias Brothers’ Big Boy (from whose menus she developed over 50 imitations), and J.L. Hudson’s (from whose menus she developed about three dozen imitations) – just to name a few of her favorite places.

Michigan is a treasure trove of great places, people, products, food and so much more! Happy National Michigan Day!

In honor of #NationalMichiganDay, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for imitating Hudson’s Cheese Bread at home; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 17)

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some other celebrations for the week [Jan. 17th-23rd (for 2021)] include: National Handwriting Analysis Week, Hunt For Happiness Week, National Healthy Weight Week, & National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week!

Today is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, National Thesaurus Day, and National Peking Duck Day!

Tuesday is National Popcorn Day!

Wednesday is national Cheese Lover’s Day and National Buttercrunch Day!

Thursday is National Hugging Day and National Granola Bar Day!

Friday is Celebration Of Life Day and National Blonde Brownie Day!

Saturday is National Pie Day, John Hancock’s birthday and National Handwriting Day!

Sunday is National Peanut Butter Day, National Compliment Day, and International Day Of Education!

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…3 down and another 49 to go!

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Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner!

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I don’t know about you but, personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#SundaySupper

Yesterday was the observance of national Sunday Supper day – which celebrates family-togetherness, around the dining table (no phones or other electronics allowed)! The point is to just eat one meal together, at least one day a week; as well as to connect and conversate with each other. That’s the way it used to be, in the olden days, when I was growing up… or the even older, olden days when my parents were growing up (and their parents before them, as well).

With the onset of the industrial age and the soaring costs-of-living, more and more Americans, of both sexes, began working outside the home. Similarly, less and less importance was given to dining together, while more was given to “on-the-go”, “on-your-own” eating elsewhere.

Along the way families became too easily entwined with their own individual lives with jobs, school, homework, friends, sports (plus other after-school activities), and so on. Most families have become too busy to even sit down together for at least one meal a day (except for Sundays, maybe).

I was inspired by something Ronnie Koenig wrote (May 5, 2019) in “Sunday Dinner – The Tradition We Need To Bring Back”, as seen at NBCNews.com: “We all have busy schedules – errands to run, work to do, kids to shuttle around – but for a few hours that Sunday evening, we decided to take a break from it all. The best part was that it was for no other reason than it being Sunday. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday or graduation, but we were all gathered around the table together.”

As I’ve written in previous blog posts, when I was growing up, our family-meals weren’t just a few times a year, such as on holidays and birthdays. When she could, Mom liked to make our meals seem like special occasions! Don’t get me wrong. We certainly weren’t the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family, by any means. We ate together because that’s when the meal was served!

Even though she made GREAT imitations of our favorite restaurant foods, Mom regularly reminded us that the kitchen wasn’t a restaurant, in which you could drop by at any time and place an order for whatever you want. You ate what was made and when it was served, or you went hungry until the next meal. But, honestly, I can’t remember any of us willing to miss one of Mom’s meals.

She would jokingly say otherwise, in many of her editorials; but even before Mom became famous as the Secret RecipesTM DetectiveTM, she was always a great cook! I miss those days, myself. Even as my own children were growing up (basically after elementary school age), we didn’t have a lot of family meals together because of the classic “busy lives” scenario. My husband and I are empty-nesters now, and even we don’t often sit down to eat a meal together.

SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to the “Sunday Supper Movement”!

I recently discovered, through NationalDayCalendar.com, that Isabel Laessig forged the “Sunday Supper Movement” and has a website by the same name at https://sundaysuppermovement.com/.  This is such a wonderful thing! I highly recommend you check it out for yourself. I can’t wait to try Isabel’s “Candied Bacon” recipe – YUM!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 113)

GRATITUDE

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, was always my mother’s advice to me when I would try to bend a sympathetic ear, imploring her to comfort me and keep me company in my occasional misery. And, of course, misery does love company!

But counting my blessings was the last thing in the world I felt up to doing when the world seemed to be so hopelessly bleak, and whatever problem I had at the time, seemed so devastating to me. Now here I am telling my own children the same thing. Only I tell my own children to count their opportunities, for an opportunity is just a blessing in disguise!

I wish I had known this years ago. What frustrating disappointments I could have avoided, or at the upmost, handled better. I would’ve used the enthusiasm and the optimism that I acquired during the last two years or so to work off those petty resentments that separate us from folks whom we could really care about, if we’d only get to know them better, and perhaps understand why we’re in conflict.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1968)

Naturally, if we judge everything by what we see on television, we’d know that’s impossible – that people in conflict can’t resolve their differences, or so the reports indicate in those real-life fantasies that exaggerate greed, envy and contempt as if the motivation for these traits were purely justified. I don’t think they ever are!

Preparing your assortment of thoughts and feelings in a compatible mixture, in order to produce successful relationships, is really no different than preparing an assortment of compatible ingredients in a recipe for a dish that promises to be a stunning success on the dinner table.

Whether it’s a recipe for preparing a very good dish, or a very good relationship, the basics are still the same – compatible ingredients, attention to detail, thinking about what you are doing, and making logical adjustments as you go!

For all the bad things associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, over the past year, there has been at least one silver lining – that is the closeness that the family unit has gained from quarantining together. In a way, they’ve been sort of forced into putting their outside-the-home, demanding routines on hold; as the pandemic restrictions have given them the extra time together that they’ve always wished they had, if not for their busy lifestyles.

Bam! All of a sudden, the busy-lifestyles-rug was pulled out from underfoot and families have had an abundance of time together. Even their pets have been benefitting from the togetherness. Subsequently, more families have also discovered new-found joys in the simple things, such as going for walks together, as well as preparing and eating meals together! In fact, the whole month of January is now recognized as national Sunday Supper MONTH (among other things)!

Mom and daughter, Danielle and Misty, at BorrowedBites.com, also have a great article about the Sunday dinner tradition, which I highly recommend reading, as well! It’s called “Why Sunday Dinner Tradition Is So Powerful”. I especially love the following passages that they wrote:

‘Who doesn’t love the idealistic picture of everyone gathered around a table, plates piled with good food, and laughter interrupting bites? …Recipes can be seen as just food, or they can be seen as the bait to get people to sit and linger. To tell stories of their week, share what’s on their heart, and utter the latest joke. That’s why we are passionate about sharing recipes that bring family to the table.’

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

You can call me anything, just don’t call me late for dinner! – Author Unknown (circa 1800’s)

Dining habits have changed over the past century, as have the somewhat interchangeable terms of “dinner” and “supper”. Many people consider “dinner” to be the heavier/full meal of the day that was usually consumed in the early afternoon (aka: lunchtime) and “supper” was the lighter meal, served in the late afternoon/early evening.

Yet, we’re also told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, When do you eat your biggest meal – morning, afternoon, or evening? Do you say “dinner” or “supper”? The answers vary greatly among everyone, depending on one’s age and even where they grew up. I typically call our full, evening meal “dinner” (breakfast and lunch are usually light, if not skipped all together). Mom, also, called our evening meal “dinner” and it was, likewise, the biggest meal of the day.

Why did the full meal change from the afternoon time to the evenings? Many believe it’s because people’s schedules became so busy during the day with the rise of industrialization coupled with more Americans working outside the home (usually including both spouses working). It wasn’t feasible to go home in the middle of the day to eat the big, main meal; thus, they ate their lighter meal around noon-time and their heavier meal in the evening, after work and such.

#SlowCookingMonth

On a related side-note, I want to mention that January is also recognized as national Slow Cooking Month. That along with the national Sunday Supper month celebration makes a superb combination! Almost every American household has at least one slow cooker (aka: crock pot). Mom always had several, as do I, in a variety of sizes and shapes!

For some unknown reason, my husband seems to take more of an interest in what I make for dinner when its simmering all day in a slow cooker – more so than anything I make on the stove-top or in the oven. I’ve asked him about it and even he doesn’t know why.

I made chili in one of my slow cookers for last Sunday’s supper and my husband made a point of “checking on it” (to smell it, taste it, and stir it) about twice an hour for me, he claimed, even though I was sitting less than 10 feet away from it, all day, while I did some work on my laptop at the dining room table. I have to giggle at him sometimes!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 67)

WASTING TIME – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SIMPLE JOYS?

Unfortunately, we’re waiting for that golden day, that one lovely moment in which we feel everything is finally grand – everything is finally just the way we have always wanted it to be! Everything we’ve been working for and moving toward has been attained.

We can relax! We’ve lost the weight we wanted to lose. The house is finally in ‘company-is-coming’ order. The bills are all paid. The bank account is adequate. Our children are living productive, useful lives.

Everything will be wonderful – and then, and probably only then, do we feel we have the right to be happy! Until we achieve that perfect moment, that ideal existence, however, we’re looking forever ahead to it, not even seeing the opportunities – small as they might be – to be happy, now, with what we already have, with who we are [and] with what we’re already doing.

Everyone, at one time or another, seems to go through such trying times; carrying burdens we can’t seem to shake, with no one to help us make the load seem lighter. And in doing so, we end up making our mishaps more important than our smallest achievements.

How easily we waste the time we have now, entertaining false pride as if it were the honored guest at our table of regrets. We try to avoid being natural, being ourselves, because it is usually less than we think we should be, or what others expect us to be.

So we look toward the moment when we’re sure everything will fall into its proper place. We finally have the time to call a relative we’ve been meaning to visit. We’ll write that newsy letter to the friend [with whom] we somehow lost touch… We’ll take that cake to the neighbor, [for whom] we haven’t had the chance to call on but meant to. But we can’t do those things now – not while were working out important problems and have so many things to worry about. Worrying takes time!

I’m nearly convinced that there is no such perfection toward which to work and for which to wait. Waiting seems an idol waste when there are so many things I want to do that have been pushed aside because obligations and commitments came first. Instead of looking ahead two years from now, days from now, hours from now, I look to the next moment. Human beings are not immortal, but some of us put off the wonders of living, as if we had forever to realize them.

For each moment that I didn’t enjoy as much as I could have, I’d like to be ready just in case I have a second chance at having them again. I would like to have all of our children with us around the dinner table once more, and really enjoy it, to make up for all of those times that I took their being there for granted. That would be a perfect moment, a perfect day!

IN CLOSING…

#NationalPizzaWeek

In honor of National Pizza Week,  here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for imitating Detroit’s famous #BuddysPizza; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 82)

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some other fun celebrations to recognize this week (for the 2nd full week of January) include: National Mocktail Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, and Universal Letter Writing Week. Additionally…

Today is also National Milk Day and National Arkansas Day!

Tuesday is National Marzipan Day and national Curried Chicken Day!

Wednesday is national Peach Melba Day and Korean-American Day!

Thursday is national Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day!

Friday is national Strawberry Ice Cream Day

…and National Bagel Day!

Saturday is National Fig Newton Day, national Religious Freedom Day and International Hot And Spicy Food Day!

Sunday is national Hot Buttered Rum Day!

It’s also the start of National Handwriting Analysis Week, Hunt For Happiness Week, National Healthy Weight Week, and National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week, which is Jan. 17th-23rd for 2021!

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

#TGIM

https://naionaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…2 down and another 50 to go!

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Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Mondays, Motivations, And Mentors

Happy Monday to one and all, plus a very joyful 2021! I always look forward to Mondays. It’s my favorite day of the week because it represents the #52Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#CelebrateEveryDay

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

Every single day is a new beginning – each one being a celebration, in and of itself. But today is particularly celebrated, as it’s the first Monday of the first month of a brand new year! Thus, today has been declared “Thank God Its Monday Day”!

As NationalDayCalendar.com claims: “Mondays are often full of new beginnings.” Adding… “Not only does the observance focus on the first Monday in January but on every Monday throughout the year.” Suggesting we should… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…”

Personally, I love all of that – especially since I write these blog entries, in memory of my mom, and post them every Monday! In the process, I’m always learning new things, as well as teaching them to others. Since I started writing Mondays & Memories of My Mom in September 2018, it has always energized and motivated me for the rest of my week – much the same way writing always energized and inspired my mom. I can only hope that these blog posts about Mom’s legacy energize and inspire you as well.

#NationalMentoringMonth

January is also, among other things, National Mentoring Month and, again, while it is celebrated throughout the whole month, it should also be practiced continually throughout the year! In fact, I have made a #MondayMentor resolution – to try to be a positive mentor, teacher, or influencer for someone each Monday throughout the year!

Mom has been my mentor in so many ways since I was a small child. She was a “creative master” at whatever she attempted. I’ve always wished I had half of her creative talents. Mom wore SO many hats in our family, as well as in the “family enterprise” (as she called it). For our family, she was the cook, maid, chauffer, nurse, seamstress, secretary, teacher, counselor, mentor, and still more.

In her dining-room-table cottage operation, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and more. Mom was a “Wonder Woman” who tried to devote herself to balancing all of it! Mom especially loved to mentor those who shared her love for writing! She had many mentors and influencers, herself, throughout the years.

My mother is another good example I’ve followed. Her best gift and her greatest asset is that she’s always been a patient listener and a wise advisor. She was absolutely loyal to my father…The world could turn [its] back on her children, but she would always be there for them when we needed her. She’s given me an example that’s going to be tough to equal.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

I grew up, as my mom did, motivated by my parents to seize opportunities (although, there were many I missed) and to always put across my best efforts in everything I do. Everyone should have at least one good example, if not a few good examples, to follow. Additionally, we should all strive to be a good example, as well.

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer (This is not a Cook Book, written and self-published by Gloria Pitzer (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

Mom, herself, was greatly influenced to write throughout her life by many talented women. From the Bronte sisters, whose family story she saw in the 1946 film, “Devotion”, to Maya Angelou, whose story in a 1993 issue of the “Christian Science Monitor” told of how her devotion to writing developed with “the yellow pad”

Mom journaled about her life and that of her family ever since she was about 10 years old. She felt that writing was her “calling” and continued to compose daily, until she physically couldn’t – which was over 70 years of journaling!

Shout-out to screenwriters, as tomorrow is #NationalScreenwritersDayTheir significant influence on us, as a society, is a story for another day.

Devotion” screenplay by: Keith Winter & Edward Chodorov

Comedians and writers like Carol Burnette, Mary Tyler Moore, and Lucille Ball top the list of Mom’s “Woman-Power” influencers. Other talented ladies to whom Mom looked up include Erma Bombeck, Betsy Masterton, Peg Bracken, and Irma Rombauer; just to name a handful.

In fact, a lot of the crafty format Mom used in her newsletters and cookbooks was largely influenced by her own favorite crafter, Carol Duvall; who, in the 1970s, had a “Craft Letter” (as she called it) and a 5 minute crafting segment on WDIV-TV (Channel 4 in Detroit), called “Here’s Carol Duvall”. The two became fast friends.

That was long before Carol had moved from the Detroit area to the Traverse City area, then on to ABC’s “Home” show in California (1988-1994), which was before she began hosting “The Carol Duvall Show” on HGTV (1994-2005), and prior to moving to the DIY network (2005-2009).

In later years, Mom was also largely influenced to continue in her passion for writing by Maya Angelou. In one of Mom’s writings (as seen below), she recounted an inspiring interview Maya had with David Holstrom, “Christian Science Monitor” (1993), as she told of her experience with “the yellow pad”.

Maya said she went to her voice teacher in mental turmoil over having to leave her child in Europe when she returned to the States. Frightened for her sanity, she told her teacher that she thought she was going mad. He gave her a yellow pad and told her to write down her blessings.

She said she didn’t even want to hear that, but he insisted that she start with the fact that she could hear him, that she could see the page, that she could hold the pen. ‘Before I reached the end of the page,’ she [Maya] said, ‘I was transformed. So, everything I have written, every book, every stage play, every screenplay, was written on a yellow pad. As soon as I pick it up, I am reminded of my blessings.’

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 113)

GRATITUDE

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, was always my mother’s advice to me when I would try to bend a sympathetic ear, imploring her to comfort me and keep me company in my occasional misery. And, of course, misery does love company!

But counting my blessings was the last thing in the world I felt up to doing when the world seemed to be so hopelessly bleak, and whatever problem I had at the time, seem so devastating to me. Now here I am telling my own children the same thing. Only I tell my own children to count their opportunities, for an opportunity is just a blessing in disguise!

I wish I had known this years ago. What frustrating disappointments I could have avoided, or at the upmost, handled better. I would’ve used the enthusiasm and the optimism that I acquired during the last two years or so to work off those petty resentments that separate us from folks whom we could really care about, if we only get to know them better, and perhaps understand why we’re in conflict.

Naturally, if we judge everything by what we see on television, we’d know that’s impossible – that people in conflict can’t resolve their differences, or so the reports indicate in those real-life fantasies that exaggerate greed, envy and contempt as if the motivation for these traits were purely justified. I don’t think they ever are!

Preparing your assortment of thoughts and feelings in a compatible mixture, in order to produce successful relationships, is really no different than preparing an assortment of compatible ingredients in a recipe for a dish that promises to be a stunning success on the dinner table.

Whether it’s a recipe for preparing a very good dish, or a very good relationship, the basics are still the same – compatible ingredients, attention to detail, thinking about what you are doing, and making logical adjustments as you go!

Devotion, as well as many other events and people, (family, friends, co-workers, & influential strangers) empowered Mom to be a pioneer and a trailblazer in her chosen field; as a writer, satirist/humorist, cartoonist, publisher, marketer, and more. Mom was proud to be a homemaker and yet also have a “paying” career (from home), where she could cleverly combine them, both!

Regardless of the Women’s Liberation Movement, Mom set to work, focusing her writing and food-for-thought subject matter toward the fence-sitting, semi-liberated homemakers and pantry-cupboard cooks like herself; as she wrote, published and marketed her own newsletter for more than a quarter of a century – January 1974 through December 2000 (as well as her 40+ cookbooks).

Two of Mom’s first and biggest influences in homemaking were, of course, her own mom; as well as my dad’s mom – since Mom and Dad lived with Dad’s parents for a short while when they were first married. Below is a picture of the “inspiration” story that Mom wrote many decades ago and re-printed in one of the last issues of her newsletter.

LAST THOUGHTS…

I really consider myself lucky to have “The Recipe Detective” as my mom and that I (as well as everyone else) can continue to enjoy and learn from her timeless writings – her legacy of love. That’s what I enjoy most, sharing those memories, discoveries, and lessons with all of you! Furthermore, I love to hear stories from others whose lives Mom has touched, as well.

Since starting the blog and some social media pages in Mom’s honor, I’ve received many emails, comments, and messages from people who remember the joy Mom brought them and their families through her cookbooks, newsletters, TV appearances, and radio interviews. That motivates me to continue carrying Mom’s torch and sharing and writing about the legacy of love she left for all of us!

What motivates or inspires you? I’d love to hear from you! Please write to me at: therecipedetective@outlook.com.

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Something else in which Mom inspired me is my passion to continually learn new things. Besides being grateful for something every day, Mom would also promote learning something new every day. From that, I’ve resolved that every day is a defining moment for me (as well as for each and every one of us) in which a combination of experience, faith and knowledge influence my/our personal evolution(s).

We should seize those moments and days that challenge us and do our best to make the most of them! I am going to strive to Learn Something New Every Day and to share/teach something new, here, every week! As an unpaid and unofficial “non-spokesperson”, I’d like to share some links from one of MY favorite go-to sources of inspiration, besides Mom’s writings, which is NationalDayCalendar.com. They offer such a wide array of information on such a wide array of subjects to learn about and celebrated throughout the year!

IN CLOSING…

#NationalSpaghettiDay

Today is also National Spaghetti Day! In honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” (and one of our family’s favorites) for imitating Big Boy’s popular spaghetti dinner at home, Mom called her version “Beg Bouy” Spaghetti. [As originally seen in her self-published book, The 2nd Helping of Secret Recipes Cookbook (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 9).]

P. S. Food-For-Thought until we meet, again, next Monday…

Some other fun celebrations to learn more about this week include: Celebration Of Life Week (January 1st-7th), Diet Resolution Week (January 1st-7th) , & New Year’s Resolution Week (January 1st-7th). Additionally,…

Today is also National Missouri Day!

Tuesday is National Bird Day, national Whipped Cream Day & National Keto Day!

Wednesday is National Cuddle Up Day, National Shortbread Day, national Technology Day, & National Bean Day!

Thursday is National Tempura Day and Mom’s birthday (she would’ve been turning 85)!

Friday is national English Toffee Day & National Joy Germ Day!

Saturday is National Apricot Day!

Sunday is the start of National Mocktails Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, National Pizza Week, and Universal Letter Writing Week. Sunday is also national Bittersweet Chocolate Day, national Cut Your Energy Costs Day, National Oysters Rockefeller Day, & national Sunday Supper day!

In fact, all of January is celebrating national Sunday Supper month! Other January month-long celebrations include: National Blood-Donor Month [or #DonateBlood], National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month [also: #HotTeaMonth or #TeaTime], National Oatmeal Month, national Slow Cooking Month, & National Soup Month.

#WHBY

#TGIM

…1 down and 51 more, to which I happily look forward!

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