Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Stories Of Our Lives

Happy Monday, once again! I think Mondays are fabulous and I always look forward to every one of them, as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!




Wednesday is celebrating National Tell a Story Day! That’s just what I try to do, here, every Monday. I love telling stories about my mom – and it’s become one of my favorite things to do every week! Likewise, Mom always loved to tell up-lifting and humorous stories in her columns, newsletters, and books – even through her cartoon panels.

By the way, for the rest of this week, it’s still National Humor Month, too! Similar to some of her favorite comedians, Mom found her “family life” to be the best source, on which to draw inspiration for her cleverly witted, food-for-thought stories and cartoons. She was creatively gifted as an artist, writer, and story-teller – among many other things.


Additionally, April is National Couple Appreciation Month! And, when you think about it, none of us would be here, with stories to tell, if it weren’t for our parents getting together – and their parents (pictured above) getting together – and so on! Therefore, as far as couples go, I have to say that I really appreciate my own parents – as well as each of their parents, etcetera.

However, I would think this national observance could be better celebrated in August (rather than April) – especially in this context – as that’s when most family reunions are held, especially on Labor Day weekend, to honor the families’ elders. Otherwise, wouldn’t it make better sense to hold family reunions in April, in honor of Couple Appreciation Month? This could be the new trend for “Spring Break” events!

Mom and Dad were together for 58 years, before Dad passed away in October 2014. The first 20 years of their marriage, Dad worked in various positions at a sign company. He retired in 1976 to help Mom with her business, which had grown a lot in its first couple of years, alone; and it was taking all of his attention, when he wasn’t working at the sign company, as it was. The last 38 of those years, Mom and Dad lived and worked together, side-by-side, 24/7.


[NOTE: I shared this in one of my February blog posts, Marriage And Compatibility, along with Mom’s story of “Compatibility And Forgiveness”, from her own self-published book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 62-64).]

It takes a very special bond – and, as Mom claimed, a lot of forgiveness – to be practically inseparable, day-in and day-out. Many couples discovered that in the early months of the “pandemic shut-down”, when most states were issuing “stay-at-home” orders to try to curb the spread.


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St, Clair, MI; June 1997, pp. 28-30)


When the recipe cards became so popular that we were packaging them, sometimes in complete [$40] sets of the full 200 selections, I began to look at the possibilities of doing my own recipe books – less-expensive to the customer, surely, and less work for us considering all of the myriad choices one can have with 200 individual cards.

I assembled several single page books that I could mimeograph, remaining independent in the production of them, and came up with several workable ideas. It was very shortly thereafter, [from] a printer Paul was dealing with, at the company he worked for in the city, that we learned how to layout our own camera-ready copy and provide the recipes quite inexpensively. It was such a relief to be rid of the messy mimeograph machine.


Self-publishing is a hard row to hoe, but worth all efforts when the final product is the result of your dedication and determination not to fail. We hope to now be able to accept QVC’s offer to let them sell our books in a series of six, as they asked us to do just two weeks after we signed with Guthie-Renker [1993]. With that now long behind us, we are finally free to fix things the way they were before we fixed them!


It was a blessing in disguise that Paul’s assignments at the company where he worked had given him the job of purchasing agent, for it certainly prepared him strongly for the responsibilities that would come our way in branching out into self-publishing our books.

Every department he worked in at Willey Sign Company gave him a basic foundation for being able to structure our business into a self-sufficient operation, from advertising to marketing and bookkeeping.

It was right after the ‘National Enquirer’ and ‘People’ magazine and ‘The Washington Post’ interviewed us and [printed] stories about our work, that he found himself spending every evening after he got home from his job, every weekend and his two-week vacation time, as well, working on our recipe business, that he knew he had to make a choice.

He had to give up his 20-year job and the benefits and such in order to devote full-time to Secret RecipesTM. It was a decision we have never regretted. With only $1000 in the bank and all of the bills that continued to come in day after day, we launched our ship of dreams and have never once had any regrets. Nor have we ever gone one day [as of this printing] since that date, August 13, 1976, without an order!

‘The experiences we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry…has occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio [and television] broadcasting and newspaper exposure… I have met some of the nicest people in the world, some of the most generous people who want to share their good ideas with me as much as I want to share mine with them. Of these good people, I will speak often and lovingly.’ – Gloria Pitzer [My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 2)]


I have a sign, hanging proudly, near my dining room table that reads: “There’s a room in every home where the smallest events and biggest occasions become the stories of our lives.” The table is the same one I grew up with in the 1960s and 1970s. It always seemed to be my family’s favorite spot in which to gather, eat, laugh, and talk about our lives. Those were, at least for me, great times; inspiring many, humorous, family stories.


In honor of TODAY, being National Zucchini Bread Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Zucchini Bread, Inspired By Bill Knapp’s”; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Secret Knock-Off Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov 1996, p. 35).


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


Some of April’s observances include… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, and Scottish-American Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Telephone Day and National Poem In Your Pocket Day (which changes annually – April 25 for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… National Kids and Pets Day, National South Dakota Day, and National Pretzel Day! Plus it’s also… National Soft Pretzel Month! Here’s another re-share of one of Mom’s imitations!




Wednesday, April 27th is… National Devil Dog Day and National Prime Rib Day!

April 28th is… National Blueberry Pie Day, National Great Poetry Reading Day, and National Workers’ Memorial Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in April, it’s also…  National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and National Teach Children To Save Day!

April 29th is… National Shrimp Scampi Day! Plus, as the last Friday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Arbor Day!

April 30th is… National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National Raisin Day, and National Hairstylist Appreciation Day! PLUS, being the last Saturday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Sense of Smell Day!

May begins on Sunday, observing, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

May 1st, is also… National Loyalty Day, National May Day, and National Chocolate Parfait Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Lemonade Day! Additionally, as the first full week in May (1st-7th of 2022), it’s also the start of… Small Business Week, National Wildflower Week, and National Pet Week (1st-9th of 2022)!


…17 down and 35 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Columnist & Cartoonist

Happy Monday everybody! Personally, 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!


A couple of weeks ago was National Hug a Newsperson Day and today it’s National Columnists’ Day! I used to think they’re the same but learned they’re not. A newsperson reports news stories objectively, fairly, and accurately, without opinion or viewpoint. Columnists write narratives to provoke and produce particular feelings and/or beliefs. Mom did both, preferring the latter. For many years, she was a proud member of the Federation of Press Women, in Michigan.

Before authoring and self-publishing over 200 newsletter issues and more than 40 cookbooks, Mom wrote and syndicated many journalistic columns with satirical viewpoints of current events and hot topics, particularly as they related to homemakers and their families, during the Women’s Liberation era.

Mom’s columns ran under various titles, such as The Pitzer Patter, Minding the Hearth, The Cook’s Corner, Food for Thought, and No Laughing Matter. Mom also created a series of cartoon panels, many of which I’ve shared in these blog posts, called Full House, as kept by Gloria Pitzer; which also focused on the humorous side of the not-so-liberated-life of a homemaker, like herself.

Mom always had a cynical sense of humor – not just in her writings and drawings, but also in her outlook on life. Fifty years later, I’m still amazed by the timelessness of some of the issues, about which Mom wrote. I guess the old adage is true, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

History continually tends to repeat itself in new forms of old events. We still need to fix the roads and there’s still corruption in politics. Every now and then, we still face a food crisis or flood or drought or some kind of seasonal/regional natural disaster. There continues to be reoccurring rises in unemployment, interest rates, the cost of living, and general inflation. These were topics Mom covered as, both, a newsperson and columnist.

‘It was all leading to my eventual work in the food industry – but I couldn’t see that at the time – I could only see that I had to write and with any luck at all, luck would be when preparation and experience met opportunity. The opportunity was close at hand.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 294).]

About fifty years ago, Mom left her newspaper job and began her family-owned-and-operated, cottage-style, dining-room-table business; releasing her first, self-published, cookbook, The Better Cooker’s Cookbook, in early 1973. It was compiled from a collection of recipes she had developed while writing her syndicated, recipe column, Cookbook Corner.

Mom faced major challenges, personally and professionally, when she suddenly switched gears, going from a syndicated columnist to a self-published author. In addition, during the 1970s, there were food shortages, paper shortages, sky-rocketing unemployment, and more.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 6)


IN THE EARLY 1970s, I was trying to juggle marriage, motherhood, homemaking and a newspaper column syndicated through Columbia Features, when it seemed obvious to me that there wasn’t a single cookbook on the market that could help me take the monotony out of mealtime. There was not a single recipe in the newspaper’s food section that did not smack of down-home dullness!

‘Okay,’ they said at the newspaper I worked for, ‘YOU write the column on foods and recipes that YOU think would really excite the readers and make them happy!’ I did, but that didn’t make the Editors happy, because it made their [food industry] advertisers miserable.

When I was told that I’d have to go back to monotonous meatloaf and uninteresting side-dishes that made mealtime a ritual rather than a celebration or ‘pick up my check’, I told them to ‘MAIL it to me!’ I went home to start my own paper!

It was probably a dumb thing to do, amid an economic recession with the highest rate of unemployment I had ever experienced, but it was worth the risk. I was a dedicated writer that knew someone had to give homemakers something more than what they were being given in the colored glossy magazines, where a bowl of library paste could even be photographed to look appetizing!

Fate seemed to guide Mom in a particular direction, and she faithfully followed, trusting that this was God’s plan for her. In the fall of 1973, Mom put together her first newsletter, titled Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter, which she launched in January 1974.

She also sold her growing copycat recipes collection, through the mail, printed individually on 4” x 6” index cards, for 25-cents each or five for a dollar. These are the recipes she later referred to as her “Original 200 Plus Recipes” and she self-published a book of them in 1997.

After a couple years of success with her recipe cards and newsletters, Mom decided to discontinue her growing catalog of cards (some of which she already had to discontinue to make room for newer ones) and start putting her collections into a series of various cookbooks.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 22)


JOURNALISM IS A PECULIAR profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].

Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.

There is great joy in an exchange of ideas; specifically when you have something of value to share. when that exchange of ideas flows from a mutual appreciation of the good in human life, there is no doubt that the abundance of good continues to unfold around us from only one Unlimited Source.

We don’t think too much about that Source until we’re in real trouble. Then, we’re willing to reach out because, after all, what have we got to lose? Too bad we don’t tap that Source when everything is going well and exercise our ability to think [and be grateful], which is something very few people take the time to do…


‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ – Seneca (1st century Roman philosopher)

Mom lived to write but often said it was her writing that made living worthwhile. One of the nicest things about being a writer – whether it’s as a newsperson, syndicated columnist, book author, blogger, or something else – (especially during the past couple of years) is that you can usually work from home-sweet-home.


Since April is National Pecan Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Spanish Pecan Cookies; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 220). [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 April’s observances include… National Records and Information Management Month, National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

As the third full week of April (2022), it’s… National Volunteer Week! Plus, it’s… National Volunteer Month!

Today is also… National Animal Crackers Day!

Tomorrow is… National Amaretto Day, National Garlic Day, and National North Dakota Day!

Wednesday, April 20th is… National Cheddar Fries Day and National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day!

April 21st is… National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of the second quarter (for 2022), it’s also… Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Friday, April 22nd is… National Earth Day, National Girl Scout Leader’s Day, and National Jelly Bean Day!

Saturday, April 23rd is… National Cherry Cheesecake Day, National Picnic Day, and National Take a Chance Day!

April 24th is… National Pigs in a Blanket Day! Plus, as the last Sunday in April, it’s also… National Pet Parents Day!


…16 down and 36 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Faith, Hope, & Love

Happy Monday, once again! I, myself, look forward to all Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



Last week, I discussed turning points in Mom’s life that directed her journey to being The Recipe DetectiveTM. Mom always accredited these turning points, which she often referred to as “meant-to-be’s”, to being part of God’s plan for her. Mom’s faith was a HUGE part of who she was!

Everything Mom wrote contained messages of faith, hope, and love that she referred to as “food for the soul” – interwoven with a bushel-and-a-peck of humor, her “Food for Thought” articles (from columns she used to syndicate), and “food for the table” recipes. The combination, along with Mom’s other artistic talents, set her publishings apart from any other’s!

In sharing her story and legacy of being The Recipe DetectiveTM, since this is the National Month of Hope, I thought I should also incorporate stories of Mom’s own faith, hope, and love; since that’s just as much a part of who she was, as were her writing and other talents.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 104-105)


MY OLDER SISTER, Hazel, was about 12-years old when [the doctors] told Dad she had polio and probably would not live more than a year. Medical science had done all it could for her. She was unable to eat, to even get out of bed, and she was frail and weak…

Dad was clinging to just a thread of hope and willing to try anything that would help Hazel recover. He once told her, he would if he could, give her diamonds if she would just eat again, like a normal child. Finally, he took a step that turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to our family, and to Hazel.

Dad had known of a cousin who had become a serious student of Christian Science having studied under its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in Boston, when the cousin was quite young. Dad knew that his cousin had experienced some remarkable healing through the study of this Science, so he took a chance that a visit to her might offer him some hope that Hazel could also be healed of polio through it…

It certainly was a turning point in their lives, for within a year she was completely recovered, restored to perfect health, without even a trace of a limp – no braces on her legs, no crutches. The medical authorities who had originally discharged her from school, readmitted her with astonishment and disbelief.

From that time on, Dad was absolutely devoted to the study of Christian Science, and it was my mother’s deep and abiding faith that served to then inspire me in my adult years, as she also adopted it as her own [faith] when she married my dad. Dad could never understand why any of his children would stray from its teachings as we reached adulthood.

But how proud he would be, today, to see that we have returned to it, without so much as even a backward glance or entertaining any regrets. Each new day is unfoldment and inspiration, finding new meaning to life because of a broader outlook, a deeper sense of prayerful appreciation for God’s perfect plan for each one of us!


A few years ago [in the mid-1980s], in fact, I learned that neither magic nor medicine could make my problems go away, nor even relieve me, temporarily, from physical torment and mental anguish. Doctors and tests and expensive medication did not help.

So, in desperation, I turned again to that faith by which I had been raised, discarding then and there every material, medical aid; much of which I was addicted to in the form of tranquilizers and sleeping aids.

I dumped it all into the garbage, one day – the cigarettes, of which I smoked nearly 3 packs a day for years; and all of the assorted kinds of alcohol, to which I had come to depend so much on, and without which at night I could not fall asleep, along with the medication the doctor said would never cure whatever it was that physically weakened me for several years and caused my heart to race periodically without warning.

The medicine that was supposed to help me was, instead, making me helpless. I sat down on the steps of the office and cried. I told Paul I could not go on like that any longer. So I phoned a friend who was a Christian Scientist and I asked her to give me the name and phone number of a registered practitioner from her Journal, which she did.

I called one, asking him if he would take my case. He did and it was the beginning for me of a brand-new life. Day by day, moment by moment, since that turning point I returned to normal health and energy, progressively free from the many unresolved fears and pain that seem to preoccupy me for such a long time. One step after the other, I gained confidence, courage and character. My cup runneth over and over and over!

A lot of stories Mom wrote were about finding the blessings in any given day or moment; good and bad, alike. That’s just how she was raised, being grateful for something, everyday – not just for Life’s gifts, but also for Life’s challenges. That which she confronted and overcame, empowered her to do more rather than discouraged her to fail. Failure was never an option Mom’s faith would allow in!

Besides being grateful for something every day, Mom would also strive to learn something new every day. She looked at every day as a defining moment, in which the combination of experience, faith, and knowledge can positively influence one’s personal evolutions.

Mom was a devout Christian – born and bred in the Christian Science faith, with Jewish and Lutheran influences, as well. No matter what the problems and struggles she faced, she never lost hope that it was all a part of “God’s plan” for her. She would always try to find something, from which to learn and for which to be grateful.

‘You have not failed until you quit trying.’ Gordon B. Hinckley

Mom held fast to hope, faith, and love; trudging through whatever she had to face, to get where she needed to be. Mom not only wrote daily about her faith in her personal journals but also in all of her cookbooks and newsletters. She shared it publicly and openly, with hopes of inspiring others – to be a candle, if not a lighthouse!


Happiness is a state of thought. It begins with gratitude for all we’ve already received and achieved – not with what we ‘own’ or the ‘things’… – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM  Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 5)

Happy Easter (in advance)!


In honor of TODAY, being National Pet Day, here are some of Mom’s secret recipes for homemade pet foods. Having been part of her original catalog of 200+ recipe cards, they were reprinted in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 44).


By the way, National Pet Parents Day is coming soon, too!


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


Some of April’s observances include… National Records and Information Management Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

As the second full week of April (2022), it’s also… National Library Week, which includes… National Education and Sharing Day (today), National Library Workers Day (Tuesday), National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday), and National Library Workers Day (Saturday)!

Today is also… National Cheese Fondue Day and National Submarine Day!

April 12th is… National Colorado Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Licorice Day! 

April 13th is… National Make Lunch Count Day, National Peach Cobbler Day, and National Scrabble Day!

April 14th is… National Gardening Day, National Reach as High as You Can Day, and National Look Up at the Sky Day! It’s also… National Pecan Day AND National Pecan Month! Thus, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation of Pecan Pie, Like Big Boy’s!


April 15th is… National Banana Day, National Glazed Spiral Ham Day, National Rubber Eraser Day, and Good Friday (for 2022)!

April 16th is… National Eggs Benedict Day!

April 17th is… National Ellis Island Family History Day, National Cheeseball Day, and Easter (for 2022)! Plus, as the start of the third full week of April (2022), it’s also… National Volunteer Week; which goes with April being National Volunteer Month, too!


…15 down and 37 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Turning Points

Happy Monday and happy April! I love Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!


Every day is a new day – a turning point, a gift, an opportunity! Each one has something to celebrate! Celebrating develops gratitude, which creates “turning points” for attitudes. Likewise, it generates a greater enjoyment of what we already have. As Ava Freeman wrote in one of her beautiful paintings (circa 1980s), ‘Every new day offers many gifts… Untie the ribbons!

Did you know that today is, among other things, National Hug a Newsperson Day? Mom worked as a newsperson and syndicated columnist for years before developing her recipe business. Every day was a turning-point-opportunity to Mom. I wish I could hug her! Her newspaper days were among the many turning points in her life that lead to her becoming The Recipe DetectiveTM.

Long before that, when Mom was 10, she saw the 1946 movie, Devotion (about the lives of the Bronte sisters), which created her own personal devotion to daily journaling. That was the first turning point for Mom, in becoming a writer. As a teenager and young adult, every story she wrote, for the various contests she entered and won, usually had something to do with food. Mom accredited these to being turning points in her journey as a writer.

Another major turning point came in the early 1970s, when Mom left her job (as a columnist at a local newspaper), to go home and start her own business with her groundbreaking concept of copycat cookery. That, in itself, was also a major turning point in the food industry!

All the media exposure Mom received from newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV talk shows, were more turning points in her growth and notoriety as The Recipe DetectiveTM. The most influential of all was probably The Phil Donahue Show, on which she appeared twice! Each time, the episodes were re-run around the world, with an over-whelming response!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 299-300). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]



If you’ve ever seen 1 million letters, you know how we felt when we tried to handle the overwhelming response [from our July 7, 1981, appearance on The Phil Donahue Show, in Chicago]! It was exhausting!

Our home, which was both our office and our sanctuary, became like a factory, with people helping us to process the mail, eventually having to return thousands of the orders to the customers with our deepest regrets that we could not, in all fairness to them, delay their order.

The onslaught of mail had forced us to do this. We were all working from 7 AM until 1 or 2 AM the next morning just to open and read the mail. Our phone bill had been buried in some of that mail and in a month’s time, being something like 23 to 24 days behind in opening the mail, our phone was shut off for non-payment of our bill.

As soon as we realized what the mail was doing to us, we tried to get Donahue’s people to stop the continued scheduled showings of our appearance. But that show remained on their repeat schedule for almost a year, playing in the Panama Canal zone, Greenland, Iceland, Australia and on hundreds of small town stations.

Most of the letters requested a sheet of ‘free’ recipes that were included with the order blank for a self-addressed stamped envelope to us. The offer would have been good for us, if it had only been shown that one time – the day on which we appeared on the show – but for nearly a year afterward, the requests still came, as did the complaints and the threats to report us to postal authorities for not having sent those ‘free’ recipes, tore us apart emotionally and physically!

Some people did not include their self-addressed-stamped envelope. Some envelopes were addressed to themselves, such as Joe Smith, but in care of OUR address instead of THEIR address. It was a confusing mess! Some people wrote threatening letters that they hadn’t received their orders and were turning us over to the postmaster general as frauds!

I laid my head on my desk many a time, in tears of anguish and fatigue. The family was falling apart. We couldn’t print our books fast enough, to fill all the orders! Then the post office, in delivering the thousands of books that we DID mail out, lost some, destroyed some, and delayed and even mis-directed other orders.

I remembered what Dick Syatt, one of our radio friends, had told me about finally getting everything you ever wanted, when he said, ‘Hell is God, giving you what you thought you wanted.’ Sometimes we need to have something, lose it and get it back again before we can really appreciate what we have. I had that chance, and I am so glad for it. It was [a turning point] a time to learn and to grow.

Mom claimed that one important “turning point” in her recipe work was the influence she got from Col. Sanders, himself, during one of her radio show visits on a Dallas station. His suggestion of finding one supermarket product for his “secret herbs and spices” made her fried chicken recipe more like the one he originally developed.

Mom shared her famous imitations (as she developed more than one version) of his chicken, during each of her appearances on The Phil Donahue Show. She humorously insisted that (with either version) the Colonel would’ve been a General if he had used her recipes!

Other imitations she shared in her ‘Donahue’ appearances included her Recess Peanut Butter Cups, Gloreo Cookies, Hopeless Twinkles, Hopeless Filled Cupcakes, Quacker Jack, White Tassel Hamburgers, Big Match Sauce, Wednesday’s Chili, and Wednesday’s Frosty Drink. [See the “Recipes” tab for these.]

At one time or another, these were all on Mom’s “free sheet” – a dozen or so copycat recipes that she gave away in exchange for self-addressed-stamped-envelopes, including ordering information for her newsletters and the cookbooks she had in print.

Friday is the 29th anniversary of Mom’s SECOND appearance on The Phil Donahue Show (1993), which SMASHED national records for transcript requests – since Mom and Dad insisted that the show NOT give out any of their contact information; creating another turning point, not only for Secret RecipesTM, but also for Journal Graphics and The Phil Donahue Show!


By Gloria Pitzer, January 1996 (unpublished)


ON APRIL 8, 1993, we accepted the invitation to appear for the SECOND time on ‘The Phil Donahue Show’, with one provision – they would promise not to give any information as to our whereabouts. It was a one-of-a-kind experience that is still talked about, remembered, and known for having broken all records in transcripts sold, as well as video tapes of ‘The Recipe Detective’, as provided by Journal Graphics in Denver, CO.

The reason this show could never again be equaled was because of the spontaneous, un-rehearsed, energetic give-and-take between the audience, Phil Donahue, and myself as we spent the hour ‘live’, preparing 10… of my ‘Secret Recipes’.

The show was so well received it was rerun in June of 1994. Perhaps the reason I’ve declined other TV show invitations, which included Letterman, is that I would rather people remember how well my last TV appearance went than to have them see a show that was not as well presented as Donahue’s.

Unique to the April 1993 show was the unity we all felt as… I worked with the staff, crew, producers, and every person in the backstage kitchen to put those… recipes together. Molly Fowler had shopped for all of the food and gave every dish we did a special touch, along with the efforts of Executive Producer, Pat McMilan, and Program Producer, Donna Wright… even Joe, who had met us when we were in Chicago [1981] for the FIRST appearance.

It was a beautiful reunion and the plaque that they received for their success with it, was later passed on to us, with deepest appreciation. We did the show for the honor of being a part of it rather than to drum up sales and that made it special. The prayers that reinforced the energy, cooperation, and harmony of the entire production blessed everyone involved.

Journal Graphics’ Vice-President called us two days after the telecast to tell us they had sold some 1,000 transcripts for the most popular show before ours, which was Ross Perot; but, in two days, our show had sold 50,000… transcripts and some 3,000 videos. It was up to half a million in a few months – the most ever sold of any show in the history of that company.



As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 41)


We always look for a turning point in our lives when things have not gone smoothly. I’m beginning to believe that every day is a turning point – that each experience contributes to our eventual goals and growth. I caution my newsletter readers, even today, not to think in terms of ‘forever’. Think of now and forever will take care of itself.

Most of us worry too much about what my mother calls ‘loaves and fishes’. ‘We worry too much’, Mom insists, and rightly so, ‘about having something to live ON – and too little about having something to live FOR!’

It is not so much where we have been or where we are going but where we are NOW that matters. I look back only to find comfort in those never-again moments during which our five children were growing up and our family enterprise was just getting started. I can only remember how Paul looked when I told him I had bought my own mimeograph machine and how I was using it. BOOM!


Since it’s National Pecan Month, here’s Mom’s imitation of Butter Pecan Bark, like Sanders’; from her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 233). [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…


April’s national observances include, among other things… National Records and Information Management Month, National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, National Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Volunteer Month, National Scottish-American Heritage Month, and National Stress Awareness Month!

Today is also… National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, National School Librarian Day, and National Vitamin C Day!

Tomorrow is… Gold Star Spouses Day, National Caramel Day, National Deep Dish Pizza Day, National Nebraska Day, and National Raisin and Spice Bar Day!

April 6th is… National Twinkie Day, National Caramel Popcorn Day, and National Teflon Day! Plus, as the first Wednesday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Walking Day!


April 7th is… National Beer Day, National Coffee Cake Day and National No Housework Day! Mom would LOVE celebrating this! Plus, as the first Thursday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Burrito Day!

April 8th is… National All is Ours Day!

April 9th is… National Chinese Almond Cookie Day!

April 10th is… National Cinnamon Crescent Day, National Encourage a Young Writer Day, and National Siblings Day! Plus, as the start of the second full week in April, it’s also… National Library Week!


…14 down and 38 to go!