Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tell A Story Day

Happy Monday to all AND happy National Tell A Story Day! Also, #TGIM – I always look forward to every Monday because it is my #52Chances each year,  in which I have to share my memories of Mom!

Recently, I was thrilled to hear from a lady who used to have my mom on her radio show once a month for almost 13 years, from June 1992 through December 2005. Her name is Kathy Keene and she hosts “The Good Neighbor Show” on WHBY, in Appleton, WI. The show still airs from 11am to 1pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

I really love hearing from people who knew Mom. Everyone has some kind of wonderful story to tell about how Mom touched their life in some way – through her “food-for-the-table” recipes, “food-for-thought” editorials and “food-for-the-soul” commentaries. Even her cartoon panels, “Full House – as kept by Gloria Pitzer”, were witty and entertaining. Mom was a very talented storyteller, illustrator and innovative recipe developer!


Today, at 11:08am CDST/12:08pm EDST, I am going to be reminiscing about Mom, in an interview with Kathy, during the first hour of her show! You can listen to it live, from your computer or phone at: I never tire of telling Mom’s story and there is no more perfect day than today, since it’s National Tell A Story Day, to tell a story about her. Mom left such a wonderful legacy, as the “Secret Recipes Detective”, for all of us to continue enjoying for generations.

Kathy had asked me, in an email, if Mom had retired in 2005, after her last monthly visit on the “Good Neighbor” show. That’s probably what a lot of people have wondered over the years… “What ever happened to Gloria Pitzer, the Recipe DetectiveTM?”

As I wrote to Kathy, Mom never really FULLY retired in 2005. While Dad would have preferred that Mom had, she just couldn’t stop doing what she loved so much, so completely. Mom still did a couple of “special occasion” radio shows a year; until about 2014. She also did a few lectures, here and there, about her 3-to-5-ingredient, short-cut style of “copycat cookery” for some libraries and the “Good Sam” RV group, to which she and Dad belonged for many happy years.

Before Dad passed away, unexpectedly, at 84 years old, in October 2014; they were still promoting and selling 7 different recipe “bulletins” (2 pages of related recipes for popular “brands” such as Sanders, Bill Knapp, Bob Evans and others), for $1 each; a “Soup and Other Comfort Foods” folder (4 pages of related recipes), for $2 each and Mom’s “Mostly 4-Ingredients” cookbook, which was reprinted in June 2002, for $10 each – all of which included postage. In fact, I still have the bulletins, folder and a few boxes of that cookbook in my basement, which reminds me of something Mom wrote…


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 54)


YOU CAN WRITE THE BOOK. Get it published. Stack the books from floor to ceiling in your garage (or wherever). What do you do with them, then, once you have sold a few copies to the neighbors, your bowling league friends and some patronizing relatives who complement you with half-hearted assurances that you shouldn’t give up no matter what…

You plug along, in spite of the lack of interest from those you care the most about, those to whom you turn for a little pat on the back and moral support but find lukewarm receptivity to your project. You have to then know how and where and to whom you will sell your cookbook or newsletter, or you must find somebody who can do it for you, better than you can do it for yourself.

So far, in these nearly 20 years [1972 through 1989] that I have been sleuthing out the secrets of the food industry, I have not been able to find such a person. I have found, however, instead, a very wonderful outlet [in radio] for acquainting the public with what we are doing and this, in itself, was never deliberately planned. It was something that just happened – and like a beautiful idea usually does, it unfolded, step-by-step into one of the most extraordinary experiences [for which] I could have wished. 

In August 2008, my brother, Mike, who lives in California, had set Mom and Dad up with a website,, from which to advertise their Secret RecipesTM offerings. It was a more up-to-date way for the public to be in touch with what Mom was doing. Since Mom and Dad knew nothing about technology, Mike managed and ran the website for 10 years, transferring the domain to me, the summer after our mom passed away, because I wanted to start writing this blog about her legacy as the “Recipe Detective” and I had asked Mike if I could put it on the website.

The winter after Dad had passed away, Mom wanted to revive her favorite cookbook, The Better Cookery Cookbook (first printed in 1982), hoping to reach out to a new generation of cooks and “cook-want-to-be’s” and, also, to create a new residual income, for herself. But she couldn’t physically do the self-publishing route that she and Dad had always done, together, for the preceding 40 years.

After decades of saying she would never let anyone else publish her works, Mom finally consented to letting another publisher do it. So, my brother, Mike, and I did some research on different publishers and finally chose Balboa Press; who were more than happy to republish Mom’s cookbook.

However, the name of the book had to be changed, per the publisher, because it too closely resembled the title of Betty Crocker’s cookbook. I tried to explain to the publisher that was the whole premise of the book – to “copycat”, like a parody – but they wouldn’t print it, otherwise. Thus, the title became Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook The Best of the Recipe Detective.

They couldn’t just reprint from one of our original copies, though. Because of eBooks and new technology equipment, I had to retype the entire book into Microsoft Word for Mom, reformatting it to fit the size of the new edition and scanning all of her illustrations to be placed in it, too. We ended up, leaving out most of her diet information section and a few other things that were no longer current or applicable.

It took me a couple of years to rewrite the book for Mom, as I was juggling a “paying job” and my many “non-paying” jobs at home and as her guardian, also. It went to print shortly before she passed away, in January 2018. Mom was so happy when she heard it was in print again. She told me that one of her favorite parts of her lifetime was that she was kind of famous for a little while and she was blessed to have met some really wonderful people because of it…


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 3)


It is obvious…if you are familiar with [any] of my books…that traditional presentation is not important to me. It has nothing to do with concept and everything to do with the time in which I put a book together. Most of what I have written has been done like a patchwork quilt, pieced here and there; hardly in sequence and never in a thoroughly developed format that probably every writer worth their salt (or Mrs. Dash) would be apt to follow, in producing a book of their own.

Since the [very] first book, back in January 1973, I have not been able to stick to ‘the rules’ when writing, publishing or distributing a book. It was the first thing a publisher would mention to us when, a few years later, they wanted to take over our books and publish them for us. The comments would range from ‘making your books more sale-able’ to ‘changing the format somewhat’, which all meant redesigning what I had developed so that it no longer reflected ‘me’, but ‘them’.

Making our books more ‘sale-able’ was the biggest puzzle, considering that, in the beginning, these same publishers quickly rejected my work; and, after an appearance on the [Phil] Donahue Show in July 1981, over a million letters from Donahue viewers made our books probably THE MOST sale-able in the country – if not the world – in the shortest period of time.

So many things happened along the way that contributed to our success as a family enterprise; and, while [in my writings] I will touch on some of the highlights of these experiences, it won’t necessarily be in the order in which they took place. Recollections of how we developed our Secret RecipesTM and the unique circumstances under which this dining room table operation has endured, will surely never make the ‘Best Seller’ list and, perhaps, not even interest most critics, let alone the skeptics, who predicted that the public’s interest in my kind of recipes would not last long. Having been our only source of income since August 1976, I would say they made a mistake in judgement. 

Gloria Pitzer – 1978, St. Clair, MI

Early in the summer of 2015, Mom had survived a double stroke, complicated by a grand mall seizure. She had been showing signs of “sun-downers”, after her previous grand mall seizure in July 2014. As a result of the impact of the seizures and strokes, Mom developed dementia and I consequently became her legal guardian.

Mom’s love for writing and journaling became her saving grace in the rehabilitation and recovery process of her stroke and the subsequent dementia. Journaling didn’t really “improve” her memory, but it was always her outlet for peace and serenity. Thus, it helped her deal with the anxiety of not remembering recent events. She always told me that the up side was that she could remember her childhood through her early adulthood years like they had happened yesterday.

She moved into a “retirement village” that had on-sight nursing care. Although she tired easily, Mom was still fairly active until around Christmas 2017, especially if it involved going purse shopping at JC Penny’s or out to lunch at a restaurant. Mom passed away, peacefully, joining Dad, about 2 weeks after her 82nd birthday, in January 2018.

Paul & Gloria Pitzer – 2012, Niagara Falls, Ontario

Unfortunately, I am not the sales person that Mom was. She was very creative as to how she got the word out about whatever she was doing. Mom’s favorite cookbook may have been rewritten and republished, with boxes of copies piled up in my basement, but they don’t sell themselves. I can’t afford to pay someone or some company to sell them, thus, this promoting-and-selling thing is a slow learning process for me. Like Mom, I LOVE to write! But promoting and selling is a whole other ball game!

Likewise, I don’t know how well I will do today, speaking in a radio interview, since this will be my first time. Mom was a natural conversationalist. She loved doing radio shows. While she had some really great experiences on TV, radio was always her favorite. She felt at home there. Well, in essence, she really was at home during most of her radio interviews. But, as Kathy reminded me, when I expressed my apprehension, it’s like sitting down for a cup of coffee and conversation with friends!


The following recipes were not among Mom’s “free sample” offerings, nor were they in her “Original 200” collection. But, in honor of today, also being National Prime Rib Day, I wanted to offer you a copy of Mom’s “go-to” Prime Rib recipes from her self-published cookbook, Make Alike Recipes, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1991, p. 83) – this book is no longer in print, but you may find used copies on Amazon and eBay.


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


REMINDER: suggests that we… “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…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…17 down, 35 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Quarantine Effect

Happy Monday to all! Whether you’re quarantined, staying home and staying safe, or working the “front-line”, I urge you to make the most of your Monday! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year to share memories of my mom with all of you – #TGIM!

Staying fit and staying healthy, while staying home and staying safe, has become a recent focus for many who are beginning to see, what I’m calling, #TheQuarantineEffect; which is a weight-gaining side effect from the stay-at-home orders being followed nationwide – even worldwide. That’s why the hashtag, #Quarantine15, is on the rise.

The “Quarantine 15” effect began trending around mid-March, as people started “Tweeting” stories about their weight gain, during all of the “stay home, stay safe” orders; from their mindless, couch-potato-binging to anxiety and stress related munching. The weight gain was commonly compared to the “Freshman 15”; which is the average weight students usually gain during their first year at college and away from home. It’s generally due to their on-the-go-eating routines of ready-to-eat fast food and junk food products.

Over-eating is a common response to stress and anxiety! Historically, food has usually been a comfort source for most people, especially when they experience fear and worry. Besides hoarding toilet paper and cleaning products, many Americans have been stock piling snacks and junk food to enjoy while stuck at home. However, that allotment, which would ordinarily last a household a month, is now disappearing within a week or two!

There are so many articles and videos to be found on the internet about healthy eating and cooking, wise food choices and home exercise routines, from which we can derive all kinds of inspiration. While our lives have taken a sudden detour and changed our sense of normalcy, we must all remember that it’s only temporary. Some of us may see these self-quarantine orders go on for months, or even into next year, but it’s still only temporary.

While looking for inspiration for myself, recently, I found “How to not Gain Weight During the Coronavirus Lockdown”, written by Doree Lewak (; March 17, 2020), which gives some great advice on how to “stop the Open Mouth, Insert Food stress-snacking cycle”! I wish I had read it a month and 10 pounds ago. However, as the old adage goes, “better late than never!”

‘Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results! Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.’ – Hamilton Holt


Mom and I have, both, struggled with “yo-yo weight” for most of our lives. One diet after another left us wondering why they seemed to work for other people, but not for us! Unfortunately, our mindsets (as with so many others) were to only diet until we got to our desired goals. There was never really any long-term plan for after that, other than to buy new clothes – or get out the “old size” clothes from previous diets, of which we never entirely disposed.

Once at our goal, we’d slowly forget about the discipline that got us there and start allowing ourselves to slack a little bit. One food “reward” here, another there and before we knew it, we’d fall back into our old habits; regaining what we had lost and then some, as we further sabotaged ourselves with our own excuses for failure.

Nevertheless, we did find a diet that helped us – when we worked it – Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins, M.D. (Bantam Books; Oct. 1981). We discovered, from Dr. Atkins’ book, that we have a carbohydrate intolerance. Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution is not a quick “weigh-fix” solution. It’s actually a low-carb lifestyle commitment. Thus, it only works if you work it, and only for as long as you work it! Truth be told, though, neither of us made the lifetime commitment to it previously.

However, about 13 months ago, on the first day of Spring 2019, I embraced the low-carb lifestyle with commitment; eventually, limiting my carb-intake to 25 grams a day, max. My goal was to lose 50 pounds AND maintain it! Being hypoglycemic, borderline diabetic and 55 pounds overweight, at the time, I felt 20 years older than I should have felt. That’s why I finally decided to make the lifestyle change commitment, much like I did when I quit smoking cigarettes almost 14 years ago.

I realized that I was only cheating myself whenever I made bad choices on what I ate and/or how much I ate for meals and snacks. After all, I was the one who was freely buying, preparing and consuming the food. There was no one to blame but myself. So, I came to terms with the release of my carb-addiction, in much the same way as I released tobacco from my lifestyle – based on the book, The Easy Way To Stop Smoking, by Allen Carr (Sterling Publishing Company, NY, NY; Sept. 2004).

I had to mentally accept that this was going to be a permanent change for me – a lifestyle – not just until I reached my weight loss goal. I did reach my weight-loss goal and I know, if I ever go back to my old lifestyle, I will also go back to my old weight. So, I try to continue to make wise choices in what I consume. However, with all the fall-out from the pandemic, stress is up, and I stopped watching HOW MUCH I ate. While I was still making low-carb choices, every little bit added up!  “Everything in moderation” is the best rule by which to live, but it’s easier said than done these days.

I made it through the holidays and winter without the weight gain I would usually procure. But, recently, with the stress and anxiety over the Covid-19 pandemic, I stopped counting my carbs and gained back 10 pounds, thus far, in the past month. The wildfire-like spread of this virus, around the world, and the resulting quarantines, health threats, business closures, job losses, and so much more is a lot for anybody to handle.

My mom was the first to develop homemade, make-alike versions of fast food and junk food products. The great thing about Mom’s recipes, at least with most of them, is that they can be tailored to many different diet restrictions. I’ve been putting my own low-carb adjustments on Mom’s (and others’) recipes for the past year, with some success; sharing a few of them within my blog posts.

‘You’ll be amazed at the number of recipes you can duplicate in your own kitchen – and those you can, at least, come close to imitating – with far more success than the advertising people give us credit!’ – Gloria Pitzer

Treats like Awrey’s and Hostess’ famous cookies and cakes, to name a couple, were among Mom’s “Original 200” recipes collection, in the 1970s, which she printed on index cards and sold through the mail for 25-cents each. Mom also printed her growing and evolving make-alike-recipe collections in her hundreds of newsletters and over 40 subsequent books. She finally had to retire, due to health reasons, after more than 40 years of being the Recipe DetectiveTM.


As seen in…

The Second Helping of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 1-2)


What is the truth about junk food? The food experts have been referring to many snack foods and fast foods as ‘junk’ in an attempt to disqualify their value when compared to foods containing high amounts of protein and vitamins.

No one has confirmed a definition of the expression ‘junk food’, yet the public has been conditioned to accept any snack food, sweets, candies, confections, baked goods and many beverages as ‘junk food’ when, in reality, these are not without nutritional value.

All by itself, a raw carrot could hardly support the human system substantially; neither could a cup of yogurt. Yet, a candy bar or a small piece of cake or a hamburger on a bun is considered, by some of the food industry’s most prestigious experts, as having little or no food value in our daily diets.

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

The junk food paradox has caused school systems and other public institutions to ban the sale of any foods we would consider snack items, making it illegal, in fact, in the state of Michigan and some others, if such items were sold to children through vending machines on the premises.

This is infuriating to the good cooks and… food chemists among us, who know that JUNK FOOD is actually any food that is poorly prepared. ALL food has nutritional value. Some just seem to have more than others. But, in the final analysis, it is purely personal taste that will determine the popularity of one food over another.

The ‘fast food’ industry has been the most successful of any phase in the business. Their success depending largely on the fact that their recipes are all closely guarded secrets! I say, ‘baloney!’

As a very believing public, we have been spoon-fed a good deal of shrewd publicity by some very skilled… advertising people, who count on our susceptibility to commercial advertising campaigns to buy their products. Whether we’re buying a hamburger in one of McDonald’s restaurants… or a ‘Twinkie’ off of the grocer’s shelf, we still believe that these products can’t be equaled by any other company in the industry, nor by the average cook in a standard, home kitchen… AND this is wrong!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, January 2018; p. 283)

If your choices, now, include things you eat without really enjoying them, you can begin to exercise, instead of your “will” power, your “won’t” power – and refuse to keep on eating what is not good for you and what you don’t really need, replacing it with something you do enjoy and that will benefit you in nourishment, either emotionally or physically.

The WON’T power exercise for me meant no bread, no potatoes, no pastries, no gravy, no grains or other starches. It worked beautifully. For you, it might not be satisfactory. So, you can choose another course of action. I merely wish to share my experience with you because it worked for me…

What works for one person, may not work for another; but sharing the secrets of a weight loss diet that works, is too good to ignore. Even if you, personally, are not interested in losing 10 pounds, you probably know someone who is! The diet industry pulls in millions and millions of dollars every year, developing new gimmicks, pills, plans, menus, clubs and published materials about losing weight. I have tried them all in my adult life – and never with success! So, I finally developed my own diet… [Based, largely, on the low-carb diet developed by Dr. Atkins.]

… It’s not really a diet, but a new pattern of eating that can, if I wish, serve me all my life. The best way to learn any new pattern of behavior – whether it is eating or dancing or jogging or working – is to break it down into small manageable parts and work through them step-by-step! This is not a diet to be used, discarded and taken up again. It is a way of life at the table. It is a new attitude towards food…


In honor of today being National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day, here is a recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake that Mom made for years; as found on page 97 of her self-published book (no longer in print), The Best of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Feb. 1990, 11th Printing).

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


REMINDER: suggests that we… “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…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…16 down, 36 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Working From Home

Happy Monday to all! #TGIM – every week, I long for each Monday to arrive, as they are my #52Chances per year to share my “Memories of My Mom”!

For years, breakfast has received a lot of attention, as it has been considered by many health professionals to be “the most important meal of the day”. However, as families’ schedules got busier and more hectic, they started enjoying more and more “quick” breakfasts on-the-go.

Thus, dinner – the EOD (end-of-day) meal – became the most important meal for many families because that’s when they, all, could usually get together. I remember, when my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made a big deal out of dinnertime for our family. That was usually when we would all get to discuss our day’s activities and events and make plans for the next day or the coming weekend.

Dinner at the Pitzer’s

What about the under-praised lunch break? That thing we sometimes get, somewhere amidst the events of our workday. It’s the time we take to replenish ourselves, if we’re lucky. Sometimes it’s a rushed, 10-minute protein bar occasion or a brown-bagged, eat-while-you-work sandwich. Sometimes employees, who are extremely busy with their workday, don’t even realize they’ve missed their “break” entirely until it’s hours past due.


Today is National Make Lunch Count accredits TGI Fridays – a popular, countrywide, restaurant chain – for this national celebration. TGI Fridays created a study, four or five years ago, through which they found that the majority of the American workers they studied suffered from what they considered “FOLO” (aka: Fear Of Lunching Out). They observed that many office employees “eat lunch at their desk at least twice a week (73%) while one-third have lunch at their desk every day of the week.”

However, as this was probably written before the pandemic and “Stay-At-Home” orders, they went on to say – most likely, in order to promote eating out, such as at one of their restaurants – “Don’t fear lunching out any longer!” Of course, we can’t do that now, in our current atypical norm of physical distancing and no-contact food deliveries or curbside pick-ups due to the highly contagious Covid-19 virus that has overwhelmed the whole world.

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

TGI Fridays suggests that taking a break AWAY from the workday improves productivity. But now, most of those Michiganders who can are working from home and staying at home as much as possible, following “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders. We can still include taking an actual lunch break during our workday by LEAVING our home office or work area for at least 20-30 minutes. Step away from it all in order to refuel and refresh – body, mind and soul. Both, our brains and our bodies, need to have a few physical breaks throughout our workdays. You’ll find it improves your focus, creativity and productivity. asks us to share our creative ways to “Make Lunch Count” today and any day! Promote your ideas on social media, using #NationalMakeLunchCount.

Since today is National Make Lunch Count Day, make it a point, especially today, to not only not skip lunch but to also focus on enjoying every minute of it! Stop what you’re doing and step away for a little while – take a BREAK to really appreciate your lunch and all it has to offer you – body, mind and soul. Make yourself a “Chef’s Salad” or “Dagwood-Style Sandwich” – anything – but take the time to enjoy the making of it, as well as the consumption of it!


Since we’re still staying home and staying safe, get creative with how to “eat out at home”! Mom was a big inspiration for how to make our favorite fast food and junk food choices at home. If the weather is nice, have a picnic in your yard, or dress your dining room up to “feel” like your favorite restaurant and copycat your favorite dish from there. Anything to get away from the workday, for a little while at least.

Pitzer’s St. Clair House, 1978


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 65-66)


AN ORDINARY DAY for us begins at 6:30 AM. Even though, I may have had a midnight or middle of the night radio show to do, the alarm still goes off at the crack of dawn. I realized some time ago that I could not roll out of bed and go directly to the stove to make the coffee and scramble the eggs and then, upon cleaning up after all of that, still go directly to my drawing board and my IBM composer for the rest of a long day.

I COULD but I would not have had a good attitude. So, Paul and I go, instead, to the restaurant in the mall downtown and let THEM make the coffee and scramble the eggs for us. Then we stop by the post office and pick up the mail and, by the time we are back home, I feel like a normal working person who leaves the house every morning to go to their office.


Depending on how swamped we are with mail and subscriber contacts, book orders and government papers to be filled out and filed, we will try to take a break around noon for either a sandwich at our desks or, better yet, will run down the street to the Burger King for an orange juice and fish sandwich or over to The Voyageur [restaurant] for half of a ‘Captain’s Salad’ or a croissant special and a view of the St. Clair River, with freighters passing up and down stream that we can feel truly inspired and refreshed when we leave there. A break like that will renew our creative energies and also give us a chance to ‘visit’ with each other – a practice that few married couples really seem to enjoy much anymore – if they ever did at all.

These breaking off periods of getting away from the house and our office within, look to others, I suppose, as if we really aren’t that busy that we can frequent the local restaurants as much as we do. What they don’t see, however, is the kitchen where, for three or four solid hours, I was testing and trying to develop a particular recipe – making it perhaps three or four times before either giving up on it or feeling victorious and happy to print it in the next newsletter.

We take a lot of kidding about how often I am seen pushing a cart in the local supermarket and how often I am seen ‘eating out’ that you’d ever guess I cooked at all. It is, because I try to maintain and encourage a happy balance between the recipe testing and our normal life with friends and family, that we have never found the enterprise in which we are engaged, a burden to us. So many people we know do nothing but complain about their jobs, their work and regret. My cup runneth over and over and over! I WOULDN’T GIVE IT UP FOR THE WORLD!

By five or six o’clock in the evening, we’re ready for another break; and, in between, I have probably talked to two or three radio stations, answering questions for their listeners as they call into the station; which, by the miracle of telephone, puts us in touch with each other as if the host, the listener and I were all in the same room!

The radio visits that began with [our] good friend, Bob Allison, and his very successful show [‘Ask Your Neighbor’], with nearly 30 years, opened so many interesting and helpful doors for us. All of the other radio stations since, with whom I work, became a part of our schedule after years of providing listeners with the right information, with entertaining ideas and friendship and concern for their needs.

Sometimes I have received calls from hosts of radio shows who heard me on another station than their own and asked to set up an hour with them. Some of the programs run two hours. Many of them only use 15 minutes in which to discuss a healthy menu on the latest restaurant dish to imitate at home. No two radio shows are ever exactly alike, yet in one respect they are all incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive…

Photo by Susan L. Tusa for an article about Mom in People Magazine (May 7, 1990; p. 81)

I know I’m doing something important… But I’ve had my moments of despair, when I’ve felt, ‘What am I doing?’ – Gloria Pitzer


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 119)

IN MY KITCHEN, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one significant problem. The ‘Good Hands People’ are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen! My sense of organization is not what Heloise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes just recently. I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

I am either in the kitchen, cooking up something for the next book [or] the next issue of the newsletter; or I’m writing about what I’ve been cooking – with time in between to do two, sometimes three, radio shows a day, on a regular basis, running anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. No two shows are ever alike – with the exception of the [wonderful] hospitality and warm response from the listeners.

I have had very few unhappy experiences on the air… Some of the highlights of these radio broadcasts will probably remind you of the first time you heard of me, through one of these shows, for this is where most of our family of readers have come and they continue to listen with as much enthusiasm and as many challenges [for me to decipher] today as they did the day I spoke to my first radio audience and became affectionately dubbed by them ‘The Recipe Detective’. I thank them!


In honor of National Pecan Day, which is tomorrow, here is another favorite fan-choice of Mom’s “Original 200” copycat recipes…

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


Tomorrow is National Gardening Day! So, if you haven’t gotten out in the garden since my blog post last week – regarding #LawnAndGardenMonth , #NationalGardenMonth and #KeepAmericaBeautifulMonth – tomorrow is still as good a time as ever!

After all, April showers bring May flowers – but, first, you have to get the soil ready before you can even plant the seeds. That is, if you’re lucky enough to have the seeds before they were deemed “non-essential” (in Michigan) and banned from being sold, which I don’t understand! How can seeds, which are the source of most foods AND medicinal herbs, be “non-essential”? I’m glad I already have seeds and bulbs from our last planting season!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer


REMINDER: suggests that we… “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…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…15 down, 37 to go!

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Home Is Where Our Health Is

Happy Monday and happy April to one and all! #TGIM – I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year to share my memories of Mom!

“Home is where the heart is…” – a very old proverb, which was originally attributed to “Pliny the Elder” (A.D. 23-79). The proverb has many interpretations. For so many people, “home” is not necessarily a structure but, rather, wherever we are, as long as we’re with our loved ones. “Home-sweet-home” memories are deeply ingrained in many of our hearts, like a Norman Rockwell painting.

It’s nearly impossible to forget whatever our individual interpretations of “home” is in our lives. However, nowadays, that proverb is taking on a whole new meaning and interpretation, as Michigan, like many other states, is under a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order; meaning we should all stay home, only going out for ESSENTIAL things, like food and medicine. As we try to flatten this pandemic curve, it’s becoming more and more like “Home is where our health is!” Additionally, many are now learning more and more about “DIY” and self-sufficiency skills.


Still, so many people just aren’t adhering to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that many of us are under because they are more concerned about their constitutional rights being infringed upon than the health and welfare of their families, neighbors, communities and other surrounding communities as well. To those I say, “GET OVER IT!” Just bite the bullet and do what NEEDS to be done. It’s only for a little while, IF WE ALL PARTICIPATE! “This, too, shall pass!” Remember, everything in life is temporary – including life, itself.

Shout out, one more time, to, for their uplifting article, “7 Ways To Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong”. It’s five years old but timeless, as it really applies to the current, challenging days that we’re all facing. I found this passage particularly inspiring:

Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt; you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning… So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.”

For the last few weeks of March, at the end of my blog posts, I’ve been promoting getting a jump-start on two of April’s national month-long observances, #NationalMonthOfHope & #StressAwarenessMonth because, more than ever, as says, regarding stress awareness, “we are all challenged to keep our stress levels low, and our peace levels high.”



The month of April is also celebrating national observances for lawns, gardens and landscapes – among other things! Gardening can be very therapeutic if you’re feeling stressed out and/or cooped up. With extra time on our hands these days, my husband and I are able to dedicate more time than usual to our annual outdoor spring cleanup and garden bed prepping duties.

Besides the fresh air and sunshine being a great mood-lifter, I find gardening to be a great stress reliever, as well as a wonderful low-impact exercise. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, our new norm has many people wanting to learn more about homesteading, self-sufficiency and growing their own groceries. I wrote a blog post called “Grow & Make Your Own Groceries” in March of 2019. It’s a great subject to revisit!

In their off-season, I re-purpose my Christmas deer lawn ornaments as trellises in my vegetable garden! They’re great for various vining plants like cucumbers and squash AND I don’t have to worry about storing them.

20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (as seen on  claims that pushing the lawn mower for 1 hour can burn 324 calories; plus, spending 30 minutes raking up the clippings will burn another 171 calories.


That article also suggests that picking up yard-waste can, ironically, reduce your waist size; advocating that 4 hours of hard work, cleaning up the yard, burns about 1,800 calories! That’s 450 calories per hour! Additionally, 2 hours of gardening burns about 648 calories or more, depending on the specific activity involved. The added perk is growing your own healthy herbs, fruits and vegetables at a much lower cost than going to the grocery store. Now is the season to start your gardening!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my personal favorites of Mom’s self-published cookbooks is The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979) – aka: “Book 5”. The cookbook is no longer in print, but I have seen some used copies on, both, eBay and Amazon. When I was a young mother and struggling to make ends meet, money was tight, and the pantry was often close to bare! Much like now, due to the food (and money) shortages going on during this pandemic.

Mom’s “Homemade Groceriescookbook was always my go-to-source AND still is! It teaches me how to make a lot of my favorite grocery products at home; as well as, how to stretch or extend other products, saving me quite a bit of money on my monthly grocery expenses for a family of five!

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 12)


THE FAMILY IS IMPORTANT to this troubled world that seems not to know what direction to go in for comfort and relief. So, I cater, in our publications, mostly to this family, with all of the old-fashioned values I can gather and still not sound corny or even ‘preachy’!

That for which I am most grateful, however, as I see how our family has worked together in helping us to build this dining room table enterprise into a substantial and professional operation, is the friendship that has grown over the years between [Paul, me and] the five children…my cup runneth over!

There’s a renewed movement to make a lot of things at home. Not only can we control the ingredients for a particular diet/lifestyle that way but, also, save money too! That is, basically, what inspired Mom to write that particular cookbook in the first place. Back in 1979, a lot of people were getting concerned, and rightly so, with all the additives that are put into our convenient, shelf-stable, grocery products. Furthermore, we can usually save money, making it ourselves – as long as we don’t add the value of our time into the equation!

The “work” of homemakers and the value of their time is often taken for granted by their families. However, the services they provide could earn a substantial salary in the open market – chef, maid/housekeeper, laundress, nanny, teacher, chauffeur, personal shopper, secretary, counselor, nurse, groundskeeper and gardener. In addition to these skills, homemakers also contribute a lot more to the home and family of which no amount of money can fill the needs.

According to Porcshe Moran, in her enlightening article, “How Much is a Stay-At-Home Parent Worth?”, a homemaker [aka: stay-at-home-parent] could earn an annual salary of about $178,201, according to 2019 data she obtained from The following picture shows the data I obtained through and regarding the average salaries paid, in Michigan, for the above-mentioned homemaker skills.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there weren’t readily available services for chefs, maids, laundresses, nannies, teachers, chauffeurs, personal shoppers, secretaries, counselors, nurses, groundskeepers and gardeners – people did for themselves. About the only food things that were usually purchased at the “General Store”, for the homestead kitchen, were the “staples” that most people couldn’t make, themselves; such as flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cornstarch, etc. Most homesteaders were self-sufficient in, at least, the basic things to survive.

If we didn’t catch it or kill it, ourselves, fish was purchased at the fish market; while foul, farm and other meats were bought at the butcher shop. Likewise, if we didn’t have our own cow or goat to milk or hens from which to gather eggs, fresh dairy products were usually delivered to our homes by the local creamery. Additionally, since we can’t all be bakers, fresh baked goods could be procured at the local bakery. Similarly, if we couldn’t grow our own, we went to the farmer’s market for fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.


As seen in…

The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979, p. 1)

Many people feel that life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.

Going through life without noticing the scenery and trying to see some of the beauty that is there – waiting to be recognized – reminds me of running ‘helter-skelter’, up and down the supermarket aisles, without seeing the ABUNDANCE that is there. Just take a moment to look at the heart-breaking plight of starving people in many parts of the world and, then, take a good look at the aisles and aisles of food available in this country! [Written in 1979.]

We have so much available to us here…many people fill their backyards each spring with flowers and shrubs, when they could easily plant food-seeds instead, thus cutting something off that weekly grocery bill!

‘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.’Aldous L. Huxley, English Writer and Philosopher (b. 1894, d. 1963)

What happened to us, as a society? We’ve become a too-busy-with-other-things, instant-gratification-and-convenience-overloaded culture! About half a century ago, we evolved into times when both parents, in a family unit, had to work to make ends meet. The value of time changed dramatically, especially for the homemaker. Self-sufficiency and homesteading became a dying skill among many of the newer generations, who’ve opted to spend their time differently in exchange for conveniences – even to the extent of wanting more and more convenient food products.

Too many families are struggling to survive, right now; and it’s predicted to get worse before it gets better. Before this pandemic, there wasn’t enough time for a lot of people to make things from scratch, as they chose to spend their time on other things. We opened the door for convenient, processed foods in order to save us some time (instead of money), as time suddenly became a more valuable commodity. We still have about 16-18 “waking hours” in our days, every day. At some point, we just started prioritizing them differently – and now we must do it all over again, given our new norms these days.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

‘Any change, even change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.’Arnold Bennett, English Novelist (b.1867, d.1931)

The ‘high demand’,overhead costs’ and ‘expected profits’ that are added to the prices of ‘convenience’ food products are what kill us at the grocery store check-outs! The lack of real nutrition that’s missing from these manufactured goods are not benefiting our health any either. They’re loaded with unnatural shelf-life stabilizers, none of which are found in homemade groceries, where YOU control the ingredients!

Most of Mom’s cookbooks focused on imitating fast food, junk food and restaurant dishes at home – except for “Book 5”, which deals exclusively with homemade grocery products and “extenders”. This exceptional cookbook includes some principles of canning and freezing foods, as well as making your own mixes, sauces and seasonings at a great financial savings compared to buying them at the store! Although, sometimes, we just can’t financially or physically afford convenience. The concept of homemade was hugely popular once and is, now, making another comeback.


In honor of National Beer Day, which is tomorrow, the following beer cake recipe was quite a popular choice from among Mom’s “Original 200” recipes.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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


REMINDER: suggests that we… “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…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…14 down, 38 to go!