Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happy Fall And Family

Happy Monday and happy fall y’all! I always look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



I LOVE fall – it’s definitely my favorite season! I adore the crisp, cool nights and lukewarm days. I love seeing the trees change colors. Incidentally, yesterday was the start of National Fall Foliage Week! I also love going to the cider mill for fresh apples, donuts, and (of course) cider. Plus, Octoberfest jubilees are popping up everywhere!


Speaking of which… October is almost here! Thus, we’re rounding the bend, this week, for September’s finale. However, it is still September for a few more days, so there is still time left to celebrate some of its many wonderful observances – such as…

…National Fall Hat Month, International Update Your Resume Month, National Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, and National Whole Grains Month! But that’s not all…

Moreover, since this is the last week in September, it’s also… National Keep Kids Creative Week! Additionally, relative to that, since this is the fourth Monday in September, today is also… National Family Day; which promotes making and sharing meals together, as well as family bonding around the kitchen table.



September is also Self-Improvement Month! Family meals, prepared and eaten together, provide vast opportunities for strengthening ties, building better relationships, and creating a sense of belonging, which leads to better self-esteem.

When my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made our meals family-style! We’d fill our plates and talk about our days, passing the serving dishes around the table while elbowing each other whenever Mom and Dad weren’t looking. We’re far from being the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family!

We ate together because that’s how our meal was served. The food may have been like that in a restaurant, but Mom would always remind us that our kitchen wasn’t a restaurant where you could drop in any time and place an order for whatever you’d like. In our household, you ate what was made and when it was served, or you would probably have to go hungry until the next meal.

However, I can’t remember any of us even being willing to miss one of Mom’s meals, so that was never really an issue in our household. Mom would always joke about being a bad cook in her many editorials but, even before she became famous for being the Secret RecipesTM Detective, she really was a great cook!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.6)


As often as we put things off, in life, it’s a shame that we don’t care more about the ‘now’, the ‘todays’, the here-I-am and here-you-are, and what can we do for each other to make things as good as possible for [both of] us! I know! There are people who can’t be bothered with such nonsense. They have jobs to work and bills to pay, things to worry about and goals to achieve.

‘If you’re going to talk about cooking and foods… what are you going off on tangents for, talking about people and their feelings?’

This is a question I’ve been asked over and over by inquiring reporters, wanting to know why we’re successful at what we do, why people go to such trouble to locate us and order our books! I think they answer their own question. Don’t you?

After all, cooking is not for robots! The way we present our food to those who share our table with us takes into account more than plopping the pot roast onto a platter and announcing, ‘Supper’s ready!’ Is that where it ends? When a meal is presented, there are many considerations for the cook.

Besides the balance, nutritionally, there’s the effort to please those who will hopefully enjoy the food. And trying to please those you’re feeding is a direct appeal, a definite effort, to consider someone’s feelings, the feelings of enjoyment and consequently of approval – approval of the food and… the one who prepared it.

Every day, the homemaker, with a family to feed, meets the challenge of proving they can be proficient, both, in the selections of foods, [as well as] the preparation and presentation of it and the management and the management of the cost.

Cooking is more than turning on the stove and opening the refrigerator. It’s pleasing people! It’s caring about what they might like to eat. It’s doing your best to prepare and present the dishes so that mealtime is not just a daily routine – but an occasion.

The cookbook industry has offended us… as if the recipes were designed for mindless bodies – not for folks with feelings! Food fanatics continue to advise us on how to feed the body while we let the famished affections go hungry.

The critics’ smoking guns right now are aimed at curing physical maladies with food administered medicinally. Food, as medication, is used as both a preservative and a cure. But what heals the broken spirit – the sensitive, the distressed, the lonely, the shy and withdrawn?

It takes more than adequate fiber intake; minimum daily nutritional needs being filled to cure the body of ills created by stress and anguish. It takes loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return!

There was a time, not very long ago, when the average family’s busy lifestyle made it difficult to eat a single meal together, let alone three – with both parents working outside the home and the kid’s after school activities and weekend sports.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and, unexpectedly, families were, more or less, confined together, 24/7 – for all the meals and everything else in between, as well! Our homes suddenly became our hubs, encompassing the office, school, gym, salon, cinema, eatery and so much more!

‘The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen on the front page of the 128th issue of Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Sep-Oct 1987).]


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.10)


Having a good attitude toward cooking, is the most positive way to approach the experience. Some folks really LOVE to cook, and they consequently do it well. But many of them can only turn out a handful of dishes perfectly and, therefore, limit their cooking practices, as well as their opportunities to eat foods that are unfamiliar to them.

Cooking is one of those skills that improve with practice, as does anything we undertake. But most of us are so conditioned to living in a world of instants that if a dish requires more of us than to add water – or to defrost and heat – we’re at a total loss in the kitchen!

Our life styles are changing more and more each day. We’re living in the age of fast food, instant coffee, Minute Rice, … one-step floor cleaners, quick breads, split-second decisions, rapid transit travel and planes that go 700-MPH – so why shouldn’t cooking be hurried along as well?

When you don’t really like to cook, it’s hard to imagine that it does have a positive side to the experience. Gourmets live to cook, while the rest of us cook to live – and just as often, would prefer it if we didn’t have to cook at all. This attitude toward getting the whole thing over with as soon as we can, is a reflection of the pride we fail to take in our accomplished dishes. When you thrive on compliments for your culinary skills it’s different.

When you do not have a positive interest in good cooking practices, you, likewise, don’t expect your creations to warrant compliments. The best thing for you to do is start ‘small’ – working with only a few ingredients at a time, until you get the feeling of how certain foods go well together, what flavorings compliment them, the best way to present the food when you serve it, so that it looks even better than it will taste.

Long, complicated recipes that require numerous ingredients and pampering are not always as good as those dishes that require only a few ingredients and a short time to prepare. We have made the mistake of believing that ‘fast’ food is totally without merit, therefore cannot be wholesome, nutritious, nor worth the time and cost, but ‘fast’ can be good if it is properly prepared.


One more thing I love about fall is my “fall cleaning” ritual. Just like in the spring, I actually get a little giddy about flipping the mattress, rotating the seasonal clothes, and moving the living room furniture around – just some of the things I usually do in the fall (and spring) season. I know I’m strange – this is me – I’m okay with it!

This time of year also harvests more Americana nostalgia, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity. It’s time to put away the summer essentials and tidy up our homes to usher in the fall seasonal holidays. Furthermore, on average, Americans spend about six hours per week cleaning their homes.

The American Cleaning Institute estimates that over half of Americans dread cleaning the bathroom, while almost a quarter hate cleaning the kitchen, one-fifth dislike dusting and mopping, and about one-sixth loathe doing the laundry. Sorry, Mom – your most hated housekeeping task, making the bed, did not make it onto this list! Personally, dusting is my least favorite, mostly because it impacts my allergies more than anything else.


In honor of TODAY, being National Corned Beef Hash Day; plus, this is still National Americana Month and Better Breakfast Month – here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Glorified Hash, which I thought, when I was growing up, was a lot like the Libby’s product but better. This recipe was among Mom’s “Original 200” recipe cards collection and appeared in her very first, self-published cookbook… The Better Cooker’s Cookbook (Happy Newspaper Features, Algonac, MI; 1973, p. 35).




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


Other celebrations for this week include:

Today is also… National Chocolate Milk Day!

Tomorrow, September 28th is… National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day (which used to be on the 4th Sunday), National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, and National North Carolina Day! The fourth Tuesday in September is also… National Voter Registration Day!

September 29th is… National Coffee Day and VFW Day! The last Wednesday in September is also… National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Thursday, September 30th is… National Love People Day, National Chewing Gum Day, National Mud Pack Day, and National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Friday starts the month of October, which observes, among other things (pictured below)…

October 1st is also…  National Homemade Cookies Day! Plus, as the first Friday in October, it’s… National Manufacturing Day, National Body Language Day, and World Smile Day, too! The week of October 1st is also… Active Aging Week!

October 2nd is… National Fried Scallops Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month, it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

Sunday, October 3rd is… National Techies Day and National Boyfriend Day! As the start of the first FULL week in October, it’s also… International Post Card Week and National Newspaper Week!


…39 down and 13 to go!

Little Seizure’s Pizza



By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 79). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

TO PREPARE THE CRUST: sprinkle 2 packages dry yeast over 2/3-cup warm water and stir in 2 teaspoons sugar. Let it stand about 5 minutes or until very bubbly. Combine the following ingredients:  3 tablespoons corn oil, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic salt, ½ teaspoon dry oregano leaves and about 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, beating to a smooth batter.

Beat in the yeast mixture, then, with a sturdy spoon, work in 3 to 3 ½ cups MORE flour until you can toss it lightly on a floured surface and knead it until it feels elastic in texture. The kneading may require about 2/3-cup additional flour just for coating your hands as you knead the dough. Don’t let the dough become too stiff; yet you don’t want it to stick to your hands.


10 ½ ounce can of tomato soup

1 tablespoon dry oregano leaves

½ teaspoon garlic salt

8 ounces each: Mozzarella and Muenster cheese, shredded

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

8-ounce thinly-sliced pepperoni

8-ounce can of mushrooms, drained

Spray the inside of a large plastic food bag with Pam, or wipe the inside of it with oil, and place the ball of kneaded dough in this to rise until doubled in bulk. Be sure the plastic bag is large enough that it will permit the dough to double without splitting the bag.

You can place the bag of dough on a warm, sunny spot on the table or kitchen counter, which helps it to raise quickly – and, if it’s summer time, place the bag of dough (with the open-end sealed tightly with tape or a wire twist) in your car with the windows up!

When it has doubled in size, punch it down and shape it to fit two 15-inch round pizza pans that have been greased and dusted in cornmeal. Onto the dough, add the sauce and topping ingredients exactly in the order listed above, spreading each ingredient evenly over the dough.

Let this rise for about 20 minutes in a warm place and then bake at 450°F for about 20 to 25 minutes, putting one pizza at a time on center rack of the preheated oven. If you can only handle eating one pizza at a time, wrap the second pizza in foil or plastic and seal it with tape to lock out all air BEFORE it rises for a second time and freeze it.  After letting it thaw for 30 minutes, you can bake it as directed above.

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Mother, May I?

Olive Garden-Style Alfredo Fettucine


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… My Personal Favorites (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 19)


8-oz cream cheese, in bits

¾ c grated Parmesan

8 TB butter

½ c milk

1-lb box fettucine, prepared as box instructs


Put first 4 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring until smooth and piping hot – but don’t let it boil or it might scorch! Spoon sauce mixture over 4 portions of prepared fettucine. Serves 4 sensibly or 2 foolishly!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – For the Love of Writing

Kenny Larger’s BBQ Chicken


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her self-published cookbook, That’s the Flavor (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1998, p. 25). Also seen in her “Free Recipes/Information” sheet (circa 2000).


3-lbs. chicken pieces, still frozen

1-lb. can cranberry sauce (jellied or whole)

1 envelope onion soup mix


Place chicken in a 14-cup capacity crockpot. Mix cranberry sauce and onion soup mix together and pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours then turn on low for another 3 hours.

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – “Famous Foods from Famous Places”

Day-After-Thursday’s Jack Daniel’s Sauce


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her “Free Recipes/Information” sheet (circa 2000)


½ C. pineapple preserves

2 TB soy sauce

3 TB honey

Dash powdered cayenne pepper

1 TB dry minced onion

½ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. ground ginger

¼ C. Jack Daniel’s Black Label whiskey


Combine ingredients [as listed, except for whiskey] in a small pan and bring to a boil for one minute. Put through blender, just to break down onions into specks. Add whiskey and serve warm over your choice of meat.

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring into Cleaning

Out Front Steak Seasoning & Overnight Marinade


By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her “Free Recipes/Information” sheet (2000)


Combine 1 envelope of taco seasoning mix with 1 envelope of Good Season’s Italian Dressing mix.

Tenderize steak on both sides, by piercing it many times with the tines of a fork. Rub steak with oil and dust with seasoning mixture.


Place steaks in an accommodating plastic or glass container (not metal). Pour a can of Coca Cola around the steaks and cover/seal container. Refrigerate 12-15 hours.  Drain steaks and grill or broil or pan-fry as you wish.

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – A 2nd Helping of Not Losing It!

Hot Fudge Sauce, Like Sanders (Recipe #2)


Recipe Number 2

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, January 2018, 1st Printing; p. 255). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


13-ounce can Pet evaporated milk

1-pound Kraft light and dark caramels

½ pound (2 sticks) butter or margarine

12 ounces Nestlé’s milk chocolate [candy bars or chips] – Do not substitute on the brand!


In top of double boiler, over simmering water, combine all ingredients as listed, stirring about 15 minutes until smooth and melted. Cover and continue cooking for at least 30 more minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes. Cool and put through your blender in small portions, using on/off agitation on high speed until mixture is satiny-smooth. Makes 1 quart. Keeps refrigerated up to a month – reheat in top of double boiler over simmering water. Freezes well up to 6 months.

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Interesting Challenges

Oven-Fried Kentucky-Style Chicken


By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 89). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


THIS RECIPE WAS CREATED on-the-spot when I discovered that my usual ingredients and my most familiar utensils were not ready for me to use on The Donahue Show (when I appeared on it – July 7, 1981.)

I could only hope and pray that what I, then, suspected would be a second–best method of preparing my ‘Big Bucket in the Sky’ fried chicken – and would not discredit me entirely. I had to adlib the experience, calling upon every possible thing I could remember about good cooking. It was luck! And luck – of course – is when preparation and experience meet opportunity!

There was a toaster oven on the table the staff had set up for me to use during the live–telecast of the show. At 8 o’clock in the morning, the producer of the show was driving around Chicago, trying to find a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant that was open, so that the audience could later compare what I had prepared to what the restaurant prepared.

So, I looked at the ingredients I had on hand and tried to improvise with what was there. The on-the-spot recipe was every bit as good as what Paul & I had been publishing and was so much easier, that again we could prove that there will always be more than one way to arrive at a given result!


3 cups self-rising flour,

1 tablespoon paprika,

2 envelopes Lipton Tomato Cup-a-Soup powder*,

2 packages Good Seasons’ Italian dressing mix powder

1 teaspoon season salt


In doubled plastic food bags, combine ingredients well. Twist the end of the bags tightly, creating an inflated balloon affect. Then shake the mixture well to combine.

Spray a jellyroll pan (10 x 15 x 3/4-inch) with Pam or wipe it well with oil.

Run a cut-up chicken fryer under cold water and let excess water drip off, putting all the pieces into a colander to drain a few minutes.

Dredge pieces one at a time in the flour mixture, by placing each piece in the bag of seasoned flour and shaking to coat. Arrange the coated pieces, skin-side up on prepared pan.

Melt ¼ pound margarine or butter and, using a 1-inch-wide, soft-bristled, pastry brush (or one from a paint store with soft hair bristles – NOT plastic bristles,) dab the melted butter or margarine over the floured surface (skin-side only) of each chicken piece.

When all the melted butter or margarine has been divided between the pieces, bake it in a 350°F oven, uncovered, for 1 hour or until golden brown and tender.

FOR CRISPY COATING: After applying melted butter or margarine, dust pieces with a few additional tablespoons of seasoned flour and drizzle with more melted butter or margarine before baking. Serves 4 to 6.

[*SPECIAL NOTE: For imitating the tomato powder called for in the above recipe, see also…]

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 89). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


**Also shared on WHBY – May 26, 2020 – on Kathy Keene’s “Good Neighbor” show!  [NOTE: The last Monday of May was Memorial Day, thus, interview was postponed to the next day.]

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – More than 15 Minutes of Fame!