March (2022) and National Women’s History Month starts tomorrow! There are so many famous women to recognize world-wide – Amelia Earhart, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa, Madam Curie, Rosa Parks, Margaret Sanger, Princess Diana, Sandra Day O’Connor, Eleanor Roosevelt, “Rosie the Riveter”, Maya Angelou – the list goes on!
I want to include “moms”! I’ve been writing every week about my mom’s own amazing history, of being “The Recipe Detective”. Mom created the copycat cookery concept about 50 years ago, in the early 1970s – imitating fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products at home.
Most of what Mom knew in the kitchen, when she first started what became her “Secret RecipesTM” business, she had initially learned from, both, her mom and mother-in-law. I think, in most families, the moms are probably the greatest sources of inspiration.
Let me tell you about the women who inspired my mom (and me)! Mom’s mom, Esther (Klein) Carter, “Grandma Carter” to me, taught her many cooking, baking, and presentation techniques. Pies were Grandma’s specialty, as well as, crafting skills (like sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, etc.).
I don’t know much about Grandma Carter’s mom. Grandma’s family had immigrated to the Ohio/Pennsylvania area from Prussia when she was small. Her mom died after her youngest brother, Earl, was born. Grandma’s dad struggled with trying to raise them all by himself and find work, too.
Grandma and her seven siblings were then raised in a Catholic orphanage, even though they were Jewish, because there weren’t any places, at the time, that could/would take them. The nuns made sure the children stayed together (until they aged-out) and went to the synagogue down the road every week, for the Sabbath.
After starting to work as my Grandpa Carter’s secretary [circ. 1934], in his real estate business, they fell in love and married a few years later. Grandma became a member of Grandpa’s church (the Church of Christian Science). She also got her own real estate license, in spite of the male-dominated profession.
Grandma retired from realty when she was about 74 years old. However, she couldn’t be idol. She stayed involved in her church (becoming a Reader and a Practitioner). She volunteered in local civic organizations and sold her crafts. She also put together her own recipe folder/collection, to sell by mail-order, with a little of Mom’s help.
Below are some articles that Mom had saved over the years from the Royal Oak area’s “Daily Tribune” about my grandma, the first of which includes Grandma’s own secret recipe for Veal Olympic.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 106)
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE – AREN’T THINGS!
MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME early-on that the best things in life aren’t things! I have tried to pass this on to my children as well. Feelings and thoughts and expressions of caring are more important to me, and I am not one bit surprised to learn from many of our newsletter readers, that they feel the same. We must remember to remove price tags from people. Everyone has worth; the excitement lies in the discovery of their value!
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS…
The quests for ‘the loaves and fishes’, however, gives us a false sense of what is of value, and this is the notion that I’ve tried to convey in my writings. In spite of the real value of the intangible things in life, I do still have a few favorite things. These are simple belongings with no redeemable value to anyone but me.
There is, for instance, a set of all five of Elsie Masterton’s cookbooks from her Blueberry Hill Farm series of the 1950s. There is a cross in a crown on a necklace chain that I fashioned for myself out of an Avon tie tack [of a] crown and a drugstore crucifix, plus some Super Glue. I really enjoy wearing it. Wearing it reminds me to find a feeling of oneness with my Source, first thing every day.
On the wall of our bedroom, there is a picture frame containing photos of each of our five children taken a few minutes after each was born. On a shelf, in the kitchen, is a cookie tin that bears the picture of Wally Amos (Famous Amos of chocolate chip cookie fame), which he personally presented to me in February 1988, when he surprised me during the televised filming of the ‘Home’ show in Hollywood, with Rob Weller as host.
A letter from Pres. Ford, thanking me for the moral support I gave him after his first televised press conference, and the cookbook I had sent him, is another small treasure among my ‘things’. There is also a framed citation from WXYZ-Radio for having given an outstanding broadcast with them during the Republican Convention in Detroit.
The silver ice bucket that our five children presented to Paul and me on our 25th wedding anniversary [June 1981] is but another favorite ‘thing’. Wealth does not equal worth and so the amount of money we could have earned, but turned down instead, as a result of keeping our publication at home, is not as important as the work itself.
My dad’s mom, Anise Knotts Pitzer, “Grandma Pitzer” to me, taught Mom about gardening and canning; plus, how to make her own grocery products at home, to save money. All of which Grandma learned from her own mom. Grandma Pitzer grew some great, prize-winning tomatoes! Mom learned a lot from her.
That’s when Mom and Dad lived with Dad’s parents, for a short time, right after they got married. Years later, Mom wrote a prize-winning story, about living with in-laws, for a magazine contest. In fact, Mom wrote many inspiring stories about Grandma and her mom’s West Virginia, backdoor bakery. I’ve shared some of her stories in a few previous blog posts, including Heirlooms (June 8, 2020).
This is the last day of February (2022), for observing the month’s national celebrations, such as… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month! Do something special – learn something new!
In honor of tomorrow, being National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for homemade, sugar-free Peanut Butter (with a maple option); as seen in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 47).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
Tomorrow, March 1st is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, and National Pig Day! Plus, as the day before Ash Wednesday (2022), it’s also… Fat Tuesday (aka: Mardi Gras), Paczki Day, Fastnacht Day, and National Pancake Day (per IHOP)!
March 2nd is… National Banana Cream Pie Day and, National Old Stuff Day! Plus, it’s… National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) [NOTE: If the 2nd falls on a Saturday or Sunday, this celebration moves to the closest school day.] Additionally, (for 2022) it’s also… Ash Wednesday! This year, the season of Lent runs through Thursday, April 14th.
March 4th is… National Grammar Day, National Pound Cake Day, and National Sons Day! Plus, as the first Friday in March (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, National Speech and Debate Education Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day!
Sunday, March 6th is… National Frozen Food Day, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, and National Oreo Cookie Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s Oreo imitation, which she called Gloreos!
Plus, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th or (for the first two FULL weeks) the 6th-19th! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you! Other week-long observances, starting on the 6th, include… National Read an E-Book Week, National Words Matter Week, International Women’s Week, and Girl Scout Week!
…9 down and 43 to go!