Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Smile Power

Happy Monday everyone! I hope today holds something about which you can smile. I always look forward to Mondays, myself, because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



Today is the start of National Etiquette Week, which ends this Friday! Etiquette is a code of customs for polite manners and behaviors in society. Some examples of proper etiquette are saying “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, being punctual and professional and respectful, speaking with kindness and honesty, smiling at people and looking them in the eye, not interrupting others, giving compliments and not criticizing, as well as not being boastful or arrogant.

The list goes on and on! Reasoning and civilized behaviors are what distinguish human beings from animals. We start to learn etiquette at a very young age – from our parents and family, as well as from institutions like schools, churches, and businesses. There are many different codes of etiquette, depending on a variety of diverse places and events; such as corporations, meetings, weddings, funerals, dining and eating, talking on the phone, and even bathroom usage.

‘I believe these people agree that there is a greater need to recognize decency and honesty, but in good taste, savoring dependability, unselfishness, compassion and, yes, good manners – all of which are basic to the good life for both the individual and the community.’ – Helen Hayes (in a commencement address) [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. 17).]

Etiquette is similar to what we all learned in kindergarten. 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.”


‘Smile and the world smiles with you!’ – Stanley Gordon West

By the way, since smiling is a small part of good etiquette, I also want to mention that tomorrow is (among other things) National Smile Power Day! If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because we just celebrated National Smile Day two weeks ago! But who couldn’t use another reason for smiling? Smiling can practically cure what ails you or, at the very least, help you deal with “it” better.

The power of smiling – no matter if you’re the giver or receiver – activates certain networks in our brains that positively improves our feelings, attitudes, and mindsets; while reducing stress, anxiety, and tension. Smiling prompts the brain to reduce cortisol, while producing endorphins and serotonin, which simply makes you feel better, overall.

There are many scientific studies out there that show all the health benefits from smiling (and genuine laughing, which can’t be done without smiling)! It makes you feel good and feeling good makes you smile even more, which causes a chain reaction in people receiving a smile from someone else and paying it forward to others. It’s a good kind of contagion! BEST OF ALL – IT’S FREE!


This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 4)



When doctors told Norman Cousins that he had one chance in 500 to live, he remembered the old saying that ‘laughter [was] the best medicine’. Cousins then asked Allen Funt, producer of the TV show ‘Candid Camera’ to send him films of past ‘Candid Camera’ classics and a motion picture projector.

Cousins soon made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine laughter would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. Cousins and his doctors made the startling discovery that laughter not only eased his pain, but also produced measurable changes in his body chemistry – small but lasting drops in the dangerously high sedimentation rate of his red blood cells. [Cousins wrote:]

‘The life force may be the least understood force on Earth. William James said that human beings tend to live too far within self-imposed limits. It is possible that these limits will recede when we respect more fully, the natural drive of the human mind and body toward perfectibility and regeneration. Protecting and cherishing that natural drive may well represent the finest exercise of human freedom.’

The power of a smile can welcome a new friend or simply make people feel comfortable. One of the most attractive features of people, in general, is a genuine smile. It’s like an open invitation that says you’re friendly and want to relate with others. Additionally, smiling also gives the perception of being trustworthy and agreeable. A true smile shows others that you’re willing to cooperate and worthy of their time and attention.

Many things used to make Mom smile, even when she felt like she was at her wit’s end. Seeing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren was probably at the top of the list. Listening to music (anything from Frank Sinatra to Kenny Rodgers); watching uplifting, musical and comedic movies; reading her copies of The Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures; as well as, journaling also ranked high on the list, too.

‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’ – Proverbs 17:22


Excerpts from…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17)


I’VE NEVER HEARD of anyone ‘suffering’ from wrinkles caused by smiling too much. But look at all of the furrowed foreheads on folks who have frowned their way through life. We can smile because we’re friendly, or because we’re sympathetic, or because we’re easily humored – but the smile of simply being connected with life in general is something we each deny ourselves by CHOICE! The frustration sets in when we can’t find anyone to blame for our not being able to smile!

‘To make a smile come, they say, brings 13 muscles into play – while if you want to thrive, you’ve got to work up 35!’ – Gloria Pitzer

‘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


The exhilaration that comes from hearty laughter is the most satisfying ‘high’ one can experience. The small smiles that lead up to laughter is a good start in the direction of finding the humorous and the enjoyable aspects of life. What we witness can either be dismissed or retained in our thoughts. If it makes you smile – hold on to the thought!


One of Mom’s fondest memories that would make her smile was of her relationship, over the years, with the Phil Donahue Show people. While, at first, it was overwhelming and exhausting, even devastating to a point; but it grew to be one of the best things that ever happened to Mom as the “Secret RecipesTM Detective” and one of the most treasured times of her life!


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 95-96)


THOUGH MANY EVENTS drift through my mind, surprisingly enough, it is the ‘Donahue’ show I recall most frequently, when I consider turning points.

We were settling down in our new home in St. Clair, with the office in the basement. We outgrew that arrangement in the short time and then rented a large office up town. The books became more successful than we anticipated in the newsletter circulation was growing to over 10,000 subscribers…

We were receiving a few hundred letters a day, which will usually do, from the radio shows and newspaper stories that I have been involved with as a consultant on franchise foods. In the spring of 1981, Carol Haddix, who had transferred from the Detroit Free Press to become food editor at the Chicago Tribune, ran a story about us.

The Donahue show people called to request that we appear on their show as soon as we could arrange it. We had just finished a television appearance with PM magazine out of Detroit and another with Channel 4 in Detroit for the noon news and the response was so overwhelming that we were hoping to put off any further publicity until we could take care of the current response…

The Donahue show appearance will always remain the single most important part of our growing, of opening many doors that would have been otherwise close to us in the field and for allowing me to let my light shine. Now to keep on shining!

So on July 6th, Paul and I flew to Chicago, staying at the Hyatt O’Hare, and did the Donahue show vibe, for an entire hour, on July 7, flying back that same afternoon. In the airport, on the way to catch our plane back to Detroit, a woman came up to us all smiles and said she had just seen us on television, and we told her how to send for the books.

The next day, however, 15,000 letters were waiting for us at the St. Clair post office. And every day for four months we picked up thousands of letters, having received by Christmas, well over 1 million letters requesting information on how to acquire our books, which were still available only by mail from our address…



Fudge is another thing that always made Mom smile! Therefore, in honor of National Fudge Day coming up on Wednesday, June 16th, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Niagara Falls Fudge” like she always enjoyed at Maple Leaf Village in Niagara Falls, Ontario!

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 232)

[A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]


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


June celebrates, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy MonthNational Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Other observances happening this week include:

June 13-19 is National Little League Week and National Flag Week (which is always the week of National Flag Day)! Add an extra day for Men’s Health Week (which always starts the second Sunday in June & ends on Father’s Day)! The third week in June also observes Animal Rights Awareness Week and Universal Father’s Week!


Today, June 14th, is also… the U.S. Army’s Birthday, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Flag Day, National Bourbon Day, and National New Mexico Day!

Tuesday, June 15th, is… Nature Photography Day!

Thursday, June 17th, is… National Eat Your Vegetables Day, National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, National Apple Strudel Day, and National Cherry Tart Day!

Friday, June 18th, is… National Go Fishing Day, National Splurge Day, Wear BLUE Day (always on the Friday before Father’s Day), and National Take Back the Lunch Break Day (which is the third Friday in June)!

Saturday, June 19th, is… National Garfield the Cat Day, Juneteenth, and National Martini Day!

Sunday, June 20th, is… American Eagle Day, National Vanilla Milkshake Day, National Ice Cream Soda Day, Summer [Solstice] Begins (which is the longest Day of the Year), and National Seashell Day (which is the first Day of Summer)! As the third Sunday in June, it’s also Father’s Day and Turkey Lovers’ Day (plus, it’s Turkey Lovers’ Month, too)! Also, as the third Sunday in June, it’s the start of National Play Catch Week (June 20-26)!


…24 down and 28 to go!

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