Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Resolutions Start And Stop

Happy Monday, once again! It’s the last one of 2021. I can’t tell you enough, how I always look forward to Mondays; as they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!


With the Christmas hustle and bustle in the rearview mirror, in advance of New Year’s Resolutions Week, which starts next week, now is the time that many of us are focusing on our New Year’s resolutions for 2022 – what we want to stop or start or change about ourselves. Do you have goals you want to attain, during 2022? You’re not alone. Almost everyone makes at least one New Year’s resolution each year. resolve

According to Wikipedia, making a New Year’s resolution is a more common tradition in the Western world than it is in the Eastern one. Supposedly, the tradition originated over 4,000 years ago, when the ancient Babylonians would make year-end promises to the gods, so as to earn their favor in the coming new year.

Most people make resolutions with the best of intentions. However, it’s actually extremely rare to keep a New Year’s resolution all year, let alone all winter. In fact, around 80% of resolutions fail by mid-February, according to an article from Dec. 29, 2015, by Joseph Luciana, that appeared in The U.S. News. Yet, we continue to traditionally make them, in spite of all that.

‘Success is not in never failing, but in never fearing to begin again.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)


Pearls of wisdom and other excerpts by 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)


VIEW YOUR OWN accomplishments, not in terms of how far you still have to go, but of how far you’ve already come. Once you’ve made that first little change in whatever it was that you were doing wrong, you’ve found living proof that change is possible. You don’t have to cover a mile at each stride. The tiny space between a negative act and a positive act is an incalculably large distance. Once you set your mind to believing in yourself, the results may amaze you! (p. 38)


HELEN HAYES, the great actress, said her mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. Her mother advised her that ‘achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for the achievement and forget about the success.’ (p. 43)


WHAT WOULD YOU attempt if you knew you could not fail? Probably nothing that you couldn’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. (p. 52)

In order to improve my success, in achieving the goals or resolutions I want to set for 2022, I’m taking the extra time now to plan how to stay focused on my end-goal until it’s attained! Usually, that’s easier said than done! For me, creating small steps to reach a goal is always a helpful method to use.

Additionally, it’s helpful to tell others about your goals for accountability or just for support. Working on common goals with a relative, friend, or group of people has also been known to help stick to a goal or resolution, as well. Another aid is in having a reward system for completing each step. This will greatly improve your odds of staying on track, until the final goal is reached. In the end, the biggest reward is the ACCOMPLISHMENT!

‘Refuse to build for yourself… great monuments of nothing. Rather, use the tools at hand and build for yourself – and for prosperity – lasting monuments of achievement, service, and success.’ – William Arthur Ward

The most common New Year’s resolutions are usually involved with wanting to achieve some kind of physical self-improvement goal(s). Among the most common resolutions that people make are to quit smoking, eat healthier, lose weight, and/or start exercising.

Other bad habits people resolute about quitting are drinking, gambling, spending, and so on. Should you start a resolution and fail to follow it through to the end, remember these old classic adages: “if, at first, you don’t succeed; try, try again” and “never quit quitting!” They’re trite but true!


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. 53)


IT’S HARD TO SAY which is worse, the person who doesn’t know what he wants and won’t be happy until he gets it, or the one who knows what he wants and can’t get it.


VERY LITTLE CAN STOP the person who is on their way to where they want to go in life. They’re motivated by enthusiasm for what they want to accomplish. I’m thinking now of the blind woman who was determined to learn how to cook. Each day she worked with her ingredients, tasting each and marking the containers so that she would know how to find them.

She worked and worked with the stove and how to regulate the heat so that she would not undercook, nor overcook anything. With each new day, she set for herself one thing she would learn to do. Her exhilaration at the small successes only made her more anxious to tackle a bigger accomplishment.

Within six months, she proudly entered her from-scratch chocolate cake in the county fair, and took home the blue ribbon, awarded to her by six judges who tasted 25 other entries and did not know that she was blind.

Enthusiasm is the tool of accomplishment. A genius is not someone who was exceptionally intelligent – as if made in some other image than from which the rest came, but merely someone driven to constructive action by a great enthusiasm. The essence of enthusiasm is that we feed on challenge!

There aren’t any written “rules” about making resolutions. It really doesn’t matter when you start a resolution. The important thing is to see it through and commit yourself to its eventual success. There’s nothing to prevent you from changing the start date and/or deadline, making a new resolution, or reiterating one you’ve already made but haven’t accomplished yet. More often than not, many New Year’s resolutions are abandoned at the first sign of failure.

I’ve tried the “fake it ‘til you make it” approach many times – it just doesn’t seem to work for me in the long run. I’ve discovered, within myself, that I’m not going to change anything – not for very long anyway – if I don’t truly want to change it in the first place.

I’ve found that the change needs to come from within me and only for my own satisfaction – not to please anyone else. Thus, the mind-over-matter approach works best for me. I must also be committed! It takes the power of positive thinking and commitment, among other things, to succeed in anything.

Believe in yourself! The important thing, for success, is to “get back on the horse.” Mom used to tell me that it’s not will power that leads to successful resolutions, it’s the WON’T power. I won’t give up! I won’t give in! I won’t quit!

‘When you’re wishing for a happier, fuller life, a life with real meaning, there’s a need to remain steadfastly receptive to intuitions & inspirations that whisper to the listening thought of hope & courage.’ – Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Issue 183, Nov-Dec 1997; p. 10)


The traditional New Year’s Eve anthem, known as Auld Lang Syne,  originated in the 18th century; as an old Scottish poem, written over 233 years ago, in 1788, by Robert Burns. However, the poem was made even more famous, in the 20th century, by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians’ musical version.

He and his band traditionally sang it every New Year’s Eve for almost 40 years (1939-1977). Even now, it’s still played/sung every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight to say goodbye to the old year and to celebrate the new one.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne.

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.’

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796)

The most commonly sung parts (or should I say “mis-sung” parts – in our own drunk interpretations) of Auld Lang Syne are the first verse and chorus. The song, in theory, begs the question, “Should we leave ‘it’ behind us and forget about ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ may be)?” When I think about it, I can’t help but ask myself, “how can I learn from my mistakes if I forget about them?”

You never realize what a good memory you have until you try to forget something. Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Issue 146, Sep-Oct 1990; p. 7)

In honor of TODAY, being National Fruitcake Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Hawaiian Hilton Fruitcake; as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 14)


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


Some of December’s month-long observances include… National Write A Business Plan Month, National Pear Month, Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Tomorrow, December 28th is… National Chocolate Candy Day, National Card Playing Day, and Pledge of Allegiance Day!

Wednesday, December 29th is… National Pepper Pot Day!

Thursday, December 30th is… National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, and National Bacon Day!

Friday, December 31st is… National Champagne Day, National Make Up Your Mind Day, and New Year’s Eve! Plus, being the last work day of the year, it’s also… No Interruptions Day! Additionally, from 11:30 p.m. on December 31st to 12:30 a.m. on January 1st of each year, it’s the… Universal Hour of Peace!

Saturday begins a whole new year – 2022! To start, some of January’s month-long observances include… National Blood Donor Month, National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, National Soup Month, and National Sunday Supper Month!

January 1st also celebrates… New Year’s Day, National Bloody Mary Day, and National Hangover Day! Plus, for 2022, it’s also… National Play Outside Day, which is always the first Saturday of EVERY MONTH!

Sunday, January 2nd is… National Buffet Day and National Cream Puff Day! Additionally, the first week of January celebrates, among other things… Diet Resolution Week, Celebration of Life Week, and New Year’s Resolutions Week! 


…52 down and a whole new year to go, starting next week!

I’ll see you next year!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Last Minute Christmas

Happy Monday! I always look forward to Mondays. They’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


This Friday is Christmas Eve and Saturday is Christmas! Plus, the following weekend is the start of the new year – 2022! I don’t know where the time went but it sure flew by quickly! I feel like this is a last minute Christmas kind of year. I’m just getting our holiday cards out in the mail today. Usually, I have them written out and in the mail by Cyber Monday.

I did decorate our house – early – but I still haven’t made my annual holiday cookies and fudge, yet. I didn’t even START my Christmas shopping until a week ago. I still have a little more to get before I can wrap up that “to do” checkbox! I’ll also have to hurry this week to get my cookies and fudge made – or buy them or skip it, altogether.

Have you done all your cookie baking and treat making? Have you stuffed the stockings and wrapped the gifts and decked the halls? Or do you do it all at the last minute? According to an article by People’s staff, from this time last year, a survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Punchbowl, questioning 2,000 Americans about their gift-giving and holiday celebration habits. Some of the survey results showed that…

…51% admitted to last-minute-holiday-shopping.

…33% admitted to losing track of time (as to why they shopped late).

…50% admitted to buying gifts on Christmas Eve.

…39% admitted to buying gifts on Christmas Day.

…37% admitted to leaving a party to buy a gift because they forgot to bring one.

…60% admitted to struggling to find “the perfect gift”.

…46% admitted to being bad gift-givers.

…60% admitted to being overwhelmed by the number of gifts they need to buy.

…59% admitted that holiday shopping felt more like a chore.

…58% admitted that sending holiday cards felt like a chore, as well.

…60% admitted to only sending holiday cards to those from whom they receive holiday cards.

…68% admitted to embracing and promoting gift-card-giving.

Additionally, according to the poll and People’s staff’s article, the top three places at which to get last-minute gifts (and I agree with all of these, as well) are, first and foremost, our local grocery stores (at 41%). Second place went to drug stores (at 33%), and third place went to liquor stores (at 30%).


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer as seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Issue 147, Nov-Dec 1990; pp. 1 & 8)

THE EASIEST COP-OUT for those who put a price tag on the pleasures of the holiday & insist that the success of the celebration depends on the amount of money spent on the preparations and gifts. If I give our children only one gift, it will be that I gave some practical sense of what is truly important at this time of year – not the gift, but the gathering of family and friends…

Not the food, but the feeling of just being home… Never letting what we want be more important than what we need… Not complaining about trivials… And always appreciating what we’ve already received before we can expect to receive more.

THE CHRISTMAS FEELING is basically a simple hope for peace and good will, no matter what other trappings we’ve attached to the occasion through the years since that single star lit up the sky over Bethlehem. No matter what other customs and traditions mankind has attached to Christmas or the celebration of it, the humble wish for ‘peace on Earth, good will towards men’ remains strong among those who thrive on hope and cherish what is good, refusing to be deprived of such expectations!

I also agree with (and want to share) the top 10 choices for stocking stuffers, last minute or otherwise, according to Gifts Likely To Be Put In Family’s Christmas Stocking In The U.S. In 2021, published by D. Tighe (Nov 15, 2021). I’ve stuffed many stockings, over the past 35 years, with all of these items! Tighe’s wonderful article gives more than ten choices – thus, I recommend checking it out for yourself – but I’ll share the top 10 picks, which are as follows.

      • Note pads, pens, and pencils at 35%
      • Crayons and coloring books tied with jewelry or wearable accessories at 37%
      • Arts, crafts, and creative stuff (that’s not coloring) at 38%
      • Cash at 42%
      • Toothbrushes and oral care products at 49%
      • Packaged snacks at 50%
      • Gift cards at 54%
      • Lip balm at 59%
      • Small toys at 63%
      • Candy, chocolate, and/or gum at 83%

I remember one Christmas, when my kids were young, and our household income was so tight that we couldn’t afford to buy each other any gifts. Instead, we gave of ourselves, by making each other “coupon books” for our gifts – offering our time and services for doing someone’s chores or some other special favor – which could be redeemed at some future date throughout the new year.

Another year, for one of our Pitzer family Christmas Eve gift-exchanges, we all agreed (me, my siblings, and our parents) to make each other gifts, because we were all struggling to make ends meet in our own families. I’ve always thought that the homemade gifts were the best ones!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Christmas Card Cook Book

(Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1983, pp. 4-5)

BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRIERS of tradition, we find a spirited acceptance of new family values. Occasions have replaced celebrations. Getting together has been replaced by BEING together! Good food, comfortable conversation [and] warm hospitality have become more important to the family circle than reverence without reason, tolerance without tact, relatives without relationships!

The lovely part about Christmas for us, was always being together – with our friends, our good and dear neighbors and our relatives; in a series of activities that began with Thanksgiving and tapered off around the new year. It was hectic, but it was also many happy reunions, mixed well with spontaneous visitations that, had they been a part of the ordinary activities of the rest of the year, would not mean so much now!

The food was simple, but ample. The food, I feel, should never be more important than the guests for whom it is prepared…All of these preparations are a part of Christmas – but not the important part. The tokens only represent the real meaning – that of loving, of letting go of old grudges, of forgetting past hurts, of looking for something good (even though you don’t see it – until you do!)

LOVE, most philosophers conclude, is the highest level of thought. It is the logic of the heart. And no other season of the calendar year seems to reflect more of this feeling, this consolation to our woes, than the season of Christmas!

We reach out to others – and want them, in turn, to respond to us. Some of us do it with gifts that we buy or make and some of us do it with social gestures of food and hospitality. While all of these traditions are renewed at this particular time of the year, the critics complain and the cynics look for reasons to begrudge us the pleasure of loving the season, renewing the fellowship of it – with family, friends and neighbors.

But that’s not unusual and we shouldn’t be surprised by the criticisms that try to take some of the joy out of the holiday traditions we follow – or create for ourselves. There are always critics, unfortunately, for those occasions in our lives when we wish to be glad about something…

So, on with the celebration – whether we choose to keep it quietly in our own personal fashion of religious customs, or whether we choose to make it festive and pronounced with the traditions of gifts and food. The point is, we are celebrating the season of hope… It’s a time for loving – for expressing it [and] for offering it to others! How can something like that not be good!

Our own traditions have not been very elaborate in our family, during the Christmas season; but, the things we have always done to make the holiday more enjoyable, brought us pleasure. So, we have continued with them. Whether you choose to follow traditions or to create some of your own, the underlying meaning is still there to express joy and LOVE – that incredible, curious logic of the heart!

‘The celebration of the moments worth remembering continues to have its place.’Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Quarterly (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Winter 1994/95).


Almost 30 years ago, Mom wrote in one of her newsletters about her and my dad’s plans for a Christmas present to me and my four siblings, of a cassette recording of the two of them talking about their life together and their most dearly remembered and cherished moments over the decades.

They intended to discuss the memories they had of their grandparents, whom we (my siblings and I) never got the chance to know. There was also to be other stories about our current family and past generations that we could pass on to our own future generations. I so wish they had followed through with that gift. I know it would’ve been priceless to me, at least, and to my own children, as well as to my grandson.

If only hindsight was foresight! I wish now, that I had written down more of Mom’s stories about our family’s history; or, better yet, that I had recorded those conversations during her last few years. We always tend to think there’s time for that later…but then, in the blink of an eye, that time is gone. I need to put together something like that for my own children, before it’s too late!


In honor of Saturday, being National Pumpkin Pie Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for homemade From-Scratch Pumpkin Pie Filling; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 245). [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…


Some of December’s month-long observances include… National Write A Business Plan Month, National Pear Month, Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Sangria Day!

Tomorrow, December 21st is… National Crossword Puzzle Day, National Humbug Day, National Maine Day, National French Fried Shrimp Day, Winter Solstice (which changes annually but is always between December 20th and 23rd, being the 21st for 2021), and Yule (which is always on the day of the Winter Solstice)!

Wednesday, December 22nd is… National Date Nut Bread Day and National Forefathers Day (which is always on the 22nd, unless it’s a Sunday, then it’s on the following Monday)!

December 23rd is… National Pfeffernusse Day, National Roots Day, Festivus, and National Re-Gifting Day (which is always the Thursday before Christmas)! In honor of the latter, here’s a “re-gift” of Mom’s quick, 3-to-4-ingredient, Christmas Fudge recipe, as she gave out in her and Dad’s 1994 Christmas cards! It’s my personal favorite!

#NationalRegifting Day

Friday, December 24th is also… National Eggnog Day! In honor of that, here is Mom’s secret recipe for “Egg Not” (also seen in her last book, mentioned above, on page 277)!


Saturday, December 25th is also… the first day of the Twelve Days of Christmas (which is always December 25th through January 5th)!

Sunday, December 26th is… National Candy Cane Day, National Thank-You Note Day, and Boxing Day (in Canada)! Plus, this is the start of Kwanzaa Week (which is always the 26th–January 1st)!


…51 down and only 1 more to go for 2021!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Mondays

Happy Monday everybody! 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!


For decades, my mom looked forward to every Monday, too; because that was the day of her weekly visits with Bob Allison on his radio program, “Ask Your Neighbor”, which, in its early years, was heard on Detroit’s WWJ Newsradio station.

In fact, the title of “Secret Recipe Detective”, which Mom later trademarked, was first bestowed on her in the mid-1970s by Bob Allison’s “Ask Your Neighbor” listeners because she could decipher what combinations of ingredients and techniques could be used at home to imitate many favorite restaurant dishes and fast food items; as well as packaged “junk foods” and other supermarket products, for which people were searching to duplicate.

Mind you, Mom never knew the real “secret recipes” of the “specialty” restaurants and food companies (except for a select few that actually shared their recipes with her). However, Mom had a knack for coming up with her own ingredient combinations and techniques, in developing her own recipes, which imitated the famous dishes and products that people craved! In those days, nobody else was doing anything like that – but many copycats soon followed the ORIGINAL “copycat cooker”.

Mom had appeared on some famous TV shows during the first decade of her recipes business. There was even a Jeopardy question made about her. However, radio was the solid cornerstone in the foundation of building what Mom often and lovingly referred to as her family’s cottage enterprise, a dining room table operation. And when it came to promoting her work through radio shows, Bob Allison was the first radio host to offer Mom that opportunity!


Why do people find Mondays to be the most difficult day of the week? It seems to be the most detested of all the days. People should have a more positive attitude about Mondays. Personally, I greet every Monday of each new week with energy, motivation, and freshness! Of course, it helps a lot if you love what you do on Mondays!

The most common reason people give for hating Mondays is simply because it follows their two days off of work, for enjoying freedom and fun; thus, they dread going back to their unhappy work lives. On the other hand, many other people know that weekends are not necessarily fun and freedom for everyone.

For people like me, the weekend, or any days off of work, are usually spent catching up on “chore time” responsibilities that get neglected because of my employment outside the home; such as yard work, housekeeping, laundry, cleaning the car, grocery shopping, fixing things around the house, and so on. Personally, I call those responsibilities my “domestic” or “non-paying” job.

However, according to an article by Influence Digest, Sunday is supposedly the most important day of the week. Why Sunday Is The Most Important Day Of The Week (Aug 29, 2017) claims, “It is the day that 99% of North American society wastes away but it is also the day that the 1% of society uses to prepare for the week.”

Truth be told, Mondays are marvelous! They’re more often thought of as “new beginnings” than Sundays! It’s a common day for setting goals, starting a new activity like exercising or dieting, or ending a bad habit like smoking. Many new businesses have their grand openings on Mondays. Here are some positive thoughts to keep in mind about Mondays.

Do things on Mondays that make you feel happy – listen to music, dance like no one’s watching, see a funny movie, watch the sun rise (and set), read a new book, or watch cute puppy videos on YouTube; which, by the way, was born on a Monday – February 14th, 2005!

Start your week off on the right foot and be positive! However, if you’re a “lefty”, start your week off on the left foot and be upbeat! At work, instead of bringing donuts in on Fridays to celebrate the coming weekend and TGIF, make Mondays “donut day” or some other kind of special treat day to celebrate being back together – TGIM!

Another reason Mom loved Mondays (at least, September through mid-June, when my siblings and I were young) was because we went back to school and got out of her hair so she could concentrate more on her writing.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 55)


RADIO TURNED OUT TO BE the most appropriate way by which we made people aware of what we were doing. Again, my involvement with the wonderful world of radio actually came about without any specific intention of becoming a regular part of the broadcasting field.

For one thing, I didn’t know I had what is considered a ‘radio voice’. I had never heard my own voice, at least, recorded. Heaven knows, our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their upbringing, I have been known to discover conditions that would prompt me to accelerate vocally in a pitch that only dogs in the next county could hear!

My introduction to radio began with Bob Allison and [his] nearly 30-year-running [at that time] ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. I was folding diapers at the kitchen table, waiting for my favorite, daily segment of ‘My True Story’ to come on the air, when, instead, WWJ announced that it had been replaced with a NEW show.

This new show turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. To this day [December 1989], almost every Monday morning I visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors, now [in 1989] heard weekdays at 10 AM (EST) over WEXL-radio (Royal Oak/Detroit, Michigan), 1340 on your AM dial.

When ‘My True Story’ was replaced by Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show, weekday mornings, I was, at first, very disappointed. [Recipes,] household hints and problems around the house that you cannot solve yourself, seem like just too much homemaking information to please me.

I soon, however, became ‘hooked’ on the show; as almost everybody does, to the point that, on Fridays, when Bob would sign off and say he would talk to us again on Monday, I was spending the weekends, just looking forward to the show on Monday.

I called the show about two or three times a month for the first year or two to ask questions of Bob’s ‘neighbors’ that my newspaper column readers were asking me. When I could not find the answers from consulting other sources, I knew I could rely on Bob Allison’s ‘neighbors’ to come up with the right answers for me. In return, I would often than phone and an answer that I occasionally had in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests.

Bob did not recognize my voice as a regular collar until I had initiated the newsletter, however. He asked me where the recipe came from that I was giving in reply to one of his listeners requests, which is how his program has always worked. Nobody simply calls in a recipe because they like it. They must, first, be replying to a request made by another caller and, secondly, must have personally tried the recipe.

On rare occasions, Bob will accept a recipe that is NOT tried by the caller, providing it comes from a truly reliable source or has been asked for and not answered for a long time. They also cover services that people are looking for or products that they cannot locate. This is what has always made Bob Allison’s format so unique, when compared to others like it on the air.

In mentioning that the hamburger sauce recipe would appear in the next issue of my monthly newsletter, which I had given in response to one of his listeners previous requests, Bob reacted with great interest and curiosity. ‘You have a newsletter, do you?’ He asked. ‘Well, tell us about it and how much it is and where our neighbors can get it.’

That was all it took to get us well-acquainted with Bob’s ‘neighbors’ and, in no time at all, our subscription orders went from a few too many. Sight-unseen was hardly appropriate to ask people to buy a publication that they could not first examine.

So I spent all of one day and most of the next, thinking about and trying out a single page description with a few sample recipes from the publication that I could send out to interested in perspective subscribers. To this day, we still use the same procedure, and it has worked very well. We offer, for a self-addressed stamped envelope, 15 sample recipes and, on the other side of the page, all the [ordering] information on our books and newsletter.


According to, “When people have a more positive attitude towards Monday, they will be able to transform the rest of their lives by embracing change.” So don’t procrastinate or drag your feet. Jump up! Be thankful! It’s a new week! It’s a new chance to make a difference! Give Mondays your all!

But, if you’re still not pumped up yet about Mondays, then just remember this – it’s only four more days until Friday!


In honor of TODAY, being National Cocoa Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for homemade Hot Cocoa Mix; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 266). [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…


Some of December’s month-long observances include… National Write A Business Plan Month, National Pear Month, Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Violin Day and the U.S. National Guard Birthday!

Tomorrow is… National Bouillabaisse Day and National Alabama Day! Plus, this day is also the start of… Christmas Bird Count Week[s] (which is a 3-week celebration that always starts on the 14th and runs through January 5th) and Halcyon Days (which is a 2-week celebration that always starts 7 days before the Winter Solstice and runs until 7 days after; being the 14th-28th, for 2021)!

Wednesday, December 15th is… National Cupcake Day, National Bill of Rights Day, and National Wear Your Pearls Day!

Thursday, December 16th is… National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (see my re-share of Mom’s Reese’s imitation below)! Plus, this day is also the start of… Las Posadas, which is a 9-day celebration that always runs December 16th through the 24th!


December 17th is… National Maple Syrup Day. Plus, as the third Friday in December, it’s also… National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day and National Underdog Day! Plus, this day is also the start of… National Saturnalia Week (which is always the 17th-23rd)!

Saturday, December 18th is… National Twin Day, National Roast Suckling Pig Day, and National Wreaths Across America Day – which changes annually – December 18th for 2021)! This day is also the start of… Gluten-free Baking Week (which is always the 18th-24th)!

Sunday, December 19th is… National Hard Candy Day and National Oatmeal Muffin Day!


…50 down and only 2 more to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Experience Is Preparation

Happy Monday and happy December, too! I LOVE Mondays! I always look forward to each and every one of them, as they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



Among the many things celebrated during the month of December, this is also National Write A Business Plan Month! If Mom had received a dollar for every time she was asked how she started her business or how someone else could do what she does, she probably would’ve been among the most wealthy business women in the country.

As Mom used to say, there was no blue-print for how to successfully do what she was doing. She got to where she was through many little steps that took her in a direction she didn’t really plan but, which she felt, was the Lord’s plan for her. Mom’s faith was unyielding!

Mom was always mystified on how to come up with an easy answer for people, asking her advice on how to write and publish a cookbook or how to start their own newsletter. She always wanted to create some kind of easy, step-by-step plan. However, there wasn’t a one-size-fits-all answer that she could come up other than these three basic steps:

(1) write about what you know best

(2) know who your target audience is

(3) follow through or sell it to them

Mom always believed that only the trials and tribulations of one’s own real experiences were the best guides by which to set, plan, and accomplish their goals.

Thirty-two years ago, instead of composing a “How To…” guide for writing and self-publishing, Mom wrote “our family story” in her self-published book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989); in hopes that it might help inspire someone else. Here’s a medley of excerpts from that book, which Mom wrote on the subject of creating your own newsletter or book.


The following is a medley of excerpts from Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her self-published book…

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


THE EXPERIENCES WE’VE ENCOUNTERED in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry…has occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio broadcasting and newspaper exposure and our own publishing efforts. If someone can benefit from our experiences, all the better. Mostly, though, this is just a story of our family, our five children…and how we made a dent in the hard shell of the publishing industry. (p. 2)

All of this should have started somewhere at a particular place in my life, because most important things DO have MEMORABLE BEGINNINGS. But I’m hard put to come up with that one event, that singular moment, when I knew that our Secret RecipesTM would touch other people, not just across the country but [also] across the world. And, in doing so, would make a difference. That’s what really counts – doing something that will make a difference for the good of others. (p. 7)

AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK…I am asked how I got into this business, how it all started and how somebody else can write their own book [or newsletter] and get it published. If there were a formula for our kind of success…I would be happy to share the information… (p. 14)

THE EXPERIENCES THAT COMPRISE the success and longevity of our Secret RecipesTM include some very wonderful people who have gone out of their way to make it easy for us to present our work to the public…[those were some to whom I shared ‘thank you’ notes in some of my past blog posts.]

Over the years, it has been, not a job, but a joy to continue investigating the secrets of the food industry, combining this information and recipes with the logic of the heart, the food for thought as well as food for the table. It continues to arouse interest and delight in, both, our readers and radio listeners all over the country, as well as the world! (p. 15)

‘I felt as if the hand of Providence had poured me out a blessing and it was pressed down, shaken together and running over.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 15)


THE EXACT CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, in which each of my writing experiences have occurred, are not clear in my memory now. However, each step [and] each experience was, on second thought, [neither] a delay nor a setback, as I used to believe. It was, instead, only preparation and the gathering of experience…

[Other than myself,] there has been no ‘real’ publisher, no public relations agent or the expensive efforts of professional promoters. [Their] ideas of how to publicize what I have to offer would only conflict with what I felt should be done.

My cup runneth over because I have been blessed with an enthusiasm for promoting my own work and have been twice-blessed with the support and partnership of, probably, the most honest man in the world; who knows, from his own valuable working experiences, exactly how to manage and protect this enterprise.

All of the blessings I derived from having stumbled my way through the [not so] meaningless jobs of the many newspapers for which I once worked, eventually paid tremendous dividends, as I was able to put those learned skills into practice with this family enterprise of ours. Each bit of experience contributed to what I would, later, be able to do without the help of professionals. (p. 20)


While the critics snickered that my fast food imitations would run its unhealthy course in a short while [and] that my ability to turn out copy would, soon, be exhausted; I continued to look to a Divine Source for [my] daily supply of, both, energy and ideas. I have never yet been disappointed or without something good to share with our family of readers and our radio listeners. My cup does, indeed, run over! (p. 21)


IF SOMEONE WERE TO COPY our so-called “success”, I could give them no blueprint for that condition. Each one of the little steps that we had to take to develop the kitchen table activity into a professional business operation, are like the grains of sand that the oyster requires to form a pearl. (p. 25)


WITH…WRITING AND MARKETING, it’s all based on individuality, on experience being the best teacher and on having a responsive audience…it also begins with a sale. You have to know to whom you will be directing your material and how you will be meeting their needs. Nobody can tell you HOW to do that – you either know or you don’t! If you don’t know how to talk to your reader, you’re like a lighthouse without a light!

You have to let your light shine – and part of the preparation of communicating with your readers is to know how to talk to them, what they need from your [books or] newsletters that will enrich them or make their lives better. (pp. 43-44)


BELIEVE ME, IT’S NOT EASY, putting out your own [book or] newsletter; and it is foolish for anyone to believe that there is a blueprint… to follow that will promise instant success. My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 48)


THE CARTOONS… HAD BEEN the very beginning of my work in newspapers, as I provided ‘The Roseville Community Enterprise’ and, later [in between which I was writing at the ‘Algonac Courier’], the ‘Richmond Review’ with a cartoon panel I called ‘Full House, As Kept By Gloria Pitzer’. The cartoons were published every week for four or five years.

At the same time, I was also giving another paper a panel entitled ‘Could Be Verse’, which was three or four lines of rhyme or bumper-sticker-type logic. One, for instance, read: ‘All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER!’

They were silly verses but fun to do at the time. From that, came [my] column entitled ‘No Laughing Matter’, which ran weekly for about six years; and, during some of that time, it was syndicated by Columbia Features out of New York. (p. 52)

I often receive email solicitations, wanting me to pay “them” hundreds of dollars to market Mom’s last cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018). Generally, the emails point out that writing and publishing are only two minor steps in the whole “book-making-process”.

An author’s biggest challenge is probably the marketing step because it involves so much more personal time and effort since you’re not just selling your product, you’re also selling yourself – your talents and expertise.

I believe that! Throughout Mom’s career as the ORIGINAL Recipe DetectiveTM, she put in 12-hour work days all the time – doing restaurant reviews, product testing, developing imitations and many re-tests, writing, self-publishing, and self-promoting were all a part of her everyday life for almost 40 years.

I suppose the hours involved in just promoting something could justify (for me) how much it costs to pay the professionals to do it for me. It’s also saving me from the anxiety of the marketing challenges since I’m not a sales person and never really wanted to be one. However, for me, if I really love a product, use it myself, and believe in its value, that makes selling it to others a bit easier!


But I need to find a plan of action that works for me. And how do I know what’s the value (or cost) of my time? My experiences are a drop in the bucket compared to Mom’s. I’m sure it’s value is far less than that of the marketing professionals – but then “you get what you pay for”, as the old saying goes!

Granted – paying them would save me from all that stuff! But, when you don’t have a lot of money to spend on that kind of stuff, in the first place; sometimes, you just have to learn how to do it yourself. Nowadays, you can find YouTube videos on how to do just about anything! Mom didn’t have YouTube to help her. She succeeded on her accumulated experiences in the newspaper business and her own basic instincts.


Since this is National Pear Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Apple (or Pear) Crisp; from her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 240). [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…


Some of December’s month-long observances include… Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is… National Microwave Oven Day, National Gazpacho Day, and St. Nicholas Day! Today it also the last day of Chanukah 2021.

Tuesday, December 7th is… National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, National Illinois Day, and National Cotton Candy Day!

Wednesday, December 8th is… National Brownie Day! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s secret recipe for imitating Hostess Style Brownies & Fudge Frosting (from her “Original 200” recipes collection.)


Thursday, December 9th is… National Pastry Day and Christmas Card Day!

December 10th is… Dewey Decimal System Day, National Lager Day, National Human Rights Day, Nobel Prize Day, and National Salesperson Day – which is always the second Friday in December!

Saturday, December 11th is… National App Day and National Noodle Ring Day!

Sunday, December 12th is… National Ambrosia Day, National Gingerbread House Day, and National Poinsettia Day!


…49 down and only 3 more to go!