Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Vacations Make Memories

As usual, happy Monday to everyone! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays; as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!


Today is the last Monday in May, which is, among other things, always Memorial Day! It’s the dawn – or unofficial start – of summer. It’s the eve of June Eve! After all, April had showers that brought us May flowers, but the month of June can’t come too soon!

Friday was National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! It was also the start of our first “extended weekend” of the year. A lot of people (me and my husband included) packed up coolers (and some other things) and hit the road for our first long getaway of 2022.



Outdoor activities are on the rise again, especially as the weather is getting warmer and more summer-like; plus, the days keep getting longer. As such, June celebrates, among many other things, such as National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month! Two of my husband’s and my favorite things – (like Mom and Dad) especially since we became “empty-nesters”!

Not that it wasn’t fun camping as a family. In fact, very soon, the kids will be out of school for a few months, thus June is when a lot of families start taking road trips and vacations. Whether it’s to a favorite somewhere they’ve been before or exploring someplace new, vacation times are some of the best memory-making times!

Below is a story Mom wrote for her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter. I think, from the descriptions of us on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes, it’s from a long summer vacation we took in 1971, to West Virginia, to see our relatives from Dad’s side of the family.


As seen in…

No Laughing Matter, by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1970s)

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR KIDS (And Live to Tell About It!)

I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST traveling with our kids – as long as we can go in separate cars. A current poll, taken among the mothers of the Sears Sandbox symposium shows 10 to 1 in favor of going around Harsens Island on a skateboard, as opposed to traveling anywhere by car with their kids – even to the mailbox at the end of the [200-foot long] driveway.

For one thing, any trip is going to be automatically rated ‘X’ when, before you can get out of your own driveway, you must first settle which child is going to sit next to a window and which child won’t. Before the trip is scarcely underway, we can always depend upon the child who rolls the window down, because they need some air, to be sitting next to the child who wants the window up because they’re cold.

The Sunday supplement ads for vacation-minded families, who want matching luggage, are a waste of time. Who wants matching luggage, when it should, by all rights, be packed in a U-Haul truck and immediately be disorganized the minute you unlock the motel room [or cabin] door…

Because this is usually the exact moment I have to find a clean shirt and slacks for the one who spilled their Dairy Queen [treat] all over themselves. If I told him once, I told him a hundred times: ‘let me hold the shake for you while you drive, Honey!’

The real trouble with packing, I feel, is that you usually end up taking all the wrong kind of clothes. When you leave home in the middle of a driving snow and the skies are icy grey and bleak, it doesn’t occur to you that 450 miles south you’ll be shedding the snow jackets and galoshes; wishing you had brought those shorts and tennis shoes, after all.

It is completely ridiculous to allow any child to pack their own suitcase. Chances are, they will try to convince you that one change of underwear is going to be adequate for a 10-day vacation – and that’s when I visualize myself spending all of my time sitting out the duration of our trip, watching my enzymes and bleach race their way to the dirt and grime in some out-of-the-way, ‘coin-op’ laundry [facility].

Some of the motel rooms we’ve stayed in, have been pretty nice; but then, there are some others that left us feeling we could have had the same conveniences, for which we were paying $50 per day, for free had we stayed at home. If [I] can’t wash 6 days [worth of] dirty underwear in the wash basin, [we] can’t stay there!

Not one of the lovely travel brochures I read showed ‘the happy family’, as they pull up to the Pennsylvania turnpike gate without realizing that the baby ate the toll card along the way. I can say, with all honesty, that we intimately know every public restroom on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes… not to mention, 3 plazas in West Virginia and several in Niagara Falls.

Another thing about traveling with the kids is that, invariably, the best restaurant is always just around the bend, after you’ve [already] stopped at the worst [one]. We are further engaged in the constant inquiries of the children who will, at annoying intervals, in the perfect unison of an acapella choir ask: ‘When are we going to get there?’

The remainder of the trip is spent… painfully telling them that I never wanted to read the roadmap for [Daddy] in the first place; and how was I to know that he wanted Exit 7, not 11! And how do you explain to the service station attendant that you were foolish enough to let your wife read the map and now you’re lost?

I’ll be darned if I know – but, before we take another trip with the kids, we’ll have a bumper sticker on our car that reads: ‘Approach with caution – driver under the influence of children!’


I have so many great, childhood memories of summertime vacations with my family. We frequented many Michigan tourist destinations like Tahquamenon Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Alpena, and Tawas. Other nearby, one-tank, map dots that we often enjoyed included Toronto (Ontario), Niagara Falls (Ontario), and Cedar Point in Sandusky (OH).

Mom took most of the pictures we have of our family vacations. However, every once in a while Dad took a few shots of us with Mom. That was long before the digital age – back when we used rolls of film, which had limited numbers of pictures that could be taken. Additionally, you never knew whether any or all of the shots were good or not until you had them developed into hard copy pictures.

I’ll always best remember one particular summer vacation that we (Mom, Dad, me and my younger sister, Cheryl) took in 1979. We were staying at the Grand Hotel, on Mackinac Island. That same week, a movie crew happened to be there, filming “Somewhere in Time”; starring Christopher Plummer, Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour!

We actually got to meet and talk to the stars. What a special treat that was for all of us to experience! Unfortunately, a lot of our pictures from that vacation didn’t come out very well – over exposed or something.


In honor of May, still being National American Cheese Month for a couple of days, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Macaroni & Cheese, like Beefeater’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Eating Out At Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1978, p. 22)!



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


Some of May’s observances include… Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Creativity Day, National Water a Flower Day, and National Mint Julep Day!

Tomorrow is… National Macaroon Day, National Utah Day, and National Smile Day!

Wednesday begins the month of June, celebrating, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

June 1st, is also… National Olive Day, National Say Something Nice Day, National Pen Pal Day, and National Hazelnut Cake Day!

Thursday, June 2nd, is… National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Day! Plus, it’s also National Leave The Office Early Day – unless June 2nd falls on a weekend, then it’s celebrated on the nearest business day!

June 3rd, is… National Egg Day, National Repeat Day, and National Chocolate Macaroons Day! Plus, as the first Friday in June (for 2022), it’s also… National Doughnut Day! In honor of the first two, here’s a repeat of Mom’s “Deviled Eggs” recipe from her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 68).



June 4th, is… National Cheese Day, National Cognac Day, and National Hug Your Cat Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in June (for 2022), it is also… National Trails Day, National Bubbly Day, National Prairie Day, and National Play Outside Day [which is the first Saturday of EVERY month]!

June 5th, is… National Gingerbread Day and National Veggie Burger Day!


…22 down and 30 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Dawn of Summer

Hello and happy Monday to all! I personally look forward to Mondays, each and every week! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!


The year is almost half-way through and the dawn of summer (aka: Memorial Day, which is considered the un-official start of summer) is only a week away! Memorial Day was originally established as a day of remembrance, set aside to honor our veterans who died, serving in the U.S. military.

Our hearts go out to their surviving families, as those veterans gave their lives, protecting our country and our freedoms. Therefore, while we enjoy celebrating our freedoms this coming weekend, keep in mind at what cost we have them, in the first place! Likewise, let us also commemorate those veterans for the ultimate sacrifice they all made for us.

Traditionally, many towns honor their local veterans with floral wreaths and small American flags on their graves, as well as with community parades and special memorial services. Afterward, many of us will celebrate the extended weekend with pot-lucks or family picnics or backyard barbecues [as it is National Barbecue Month, too]!


For some reason, Americans always like to find ways to “celebrate”, even the most somber of days, with optimism, happiness, and hope – and, of course, food! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this is one of those holidays that didn’t make Wikipedia’s top 10 celebrated Public Holidays in the United States. But it’s still noteworthy as being celebrated with a lot of food!


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)


WE ALL EXPECT life to be good to us – most of the time. That isn’t too much to ask, now, is it? But when things don’t work out the way we had planned or [as we had] hoped… the tendency is there to feel [that] life gave us lemons. The best experiences often come out of the biggest disappointments. So, when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade – turning a ‘let-down’ into a ‘set-up’…

Norman Vincent Peale once said that God never closes a door that he hasn’t opened a window. But the opportunities that are available to us aren’t always the most obvious when we’re in the throes of self-pity or weary from overwork… You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you’re in the backyard, looking for four-leaf clovers.

To seize every opportunity to express your very best effort is the kind of motivation with which I grew up and have passed on to our five, now-adult, children. When they all lined up for this Memorial Day snapshot [in 1969 (below)], before we left to march in the big parade in beautiful, downtown Algonac; little did we know how beautifully our [lives] would turn out. How little did we know what big challenges would tempt us to give up [and] to succumb to defeat.



Additionally, this coming Friday will also be National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! It’s one of those times, with the extended weekend, when hundreds of thousands of people (me and my husband included) will hit the road for a long weekend getaway – or maybe just a one day journey with a picnic somewhere.

After my parents became empty-nesters and needed a break from their long work week, they often chose to go on a road trip somewhere. It didn’t matter if it was a planned route or the “other scenic route” (that’s what Dad called it when he got lost). They were together and away from “it all”, just enjoying each other and the beautiful Michigan scenery!


Sometimes, however, work would always manage to creep back in whenever they stopped for a bite to eat, as Mom usually managed to find something good that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got back home. My husband and I can relate to the road trip getaway. We love taking road trips like my parents did. Michigan, and the whole Great Lakes area, is a wonderful place to explore and unwind from a hectic work week.

Needless to say, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’ – Gloria Pitzer, from Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)]


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, p. 1)


One thing among many that I have learned from Good Sam, the national RV organization, to which Paul and I have belonged for three years now [since 1985]; is that you should never ever withhold your enthusiasm for caring about others.

Never regret anything you do or say on behalf of the good it might bring to those [about whom] you care – for, if your motives are unselfish, and your intentions are to encourage or enrich or benefit others, you can’t lose. You should jump right in, adding enthusiasm to whatever it is that you are doing that might appear to be just a passive condition when enthusiasm is needed.

Try a little enthusiasm! …Enthusiasm and optimism go hand-in-hand with happiness. These provide us with an emotional springboard from which we can dive quite smoothly, into deep and troubled waters, and still surface refreshed and invigorated. (p. 1)

The trouble with trying to be happy all the time is that most people look for one particular condition or experience or possession, from which they hope to derive complete contentment, forgetting that happiness is a moment – not a forever! (p. 4)

MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable, and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.’ – Gloria Pitzer, The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979)


Here are four basic tips for planning road trips that I shared last year…

    • Always bring a real roadmap, as there are places that actually don’t have any cell service for miles.
    • Allow extra time and gas (or electric charge – whatever the case may be) for spontaneity. In case you decide to take a detour or two to other map dots along the way!
    • Stop frequently and take breaks – “smell the roses”, photograph the memories, and talk to the locals.
    • Pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks, even if you plan to eat at restaurants along the way. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

I hope you enjoy your extended weekend and 2022’s dawn of summer!


In honor of May, also being National Salad Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Seven Layer Salad – from her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 37), a revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).

This was always a popular dish that Mom to took to many summer pot lucks. I also shared this recipe with Kathy Keene’s “Good Neighbor” audience, on WHBY (in Appleton, WI), around this time last year.



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


Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month,  National Inventor’s Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Lucky Penny Day and National Taffy Day!

May 24th, is… National Yucatan Shrimp Day, National Brother’s Day, National Escargot Day, and National Wyoming Day! 

May 25th, is… National Brown-Bag It Day and National Wine Day!

May 26th, is… National Blueberry Cheesecake Day!

May 27th, is… National Grape Popsicle Day! Plus, as the Friday before Memorial Day (for 2022), it is also… National Don’t Fry Day! 

May 28th, is… National Brisket Day, National Beef Burger Day, and National Hamburger Day! [NOTE: It’s also National Hamburger Month!] In honor of the latter three, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation of White Castle’s sliders…




Sunday, May 29th, is… National Coq Au Vin Day!


…21 down and 31 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Your Neighbors

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 all of you!



Today is National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day! A neighbor was once defined as being near or next door to another. That has since expanded broadly to include any fellow human being.

Key traits of good neighbors include being friendly, available, and approachable. Other good traits are being respectful, mature, helpful, and trustworthy. Friendly neighbors always welcome new residents, introducing themselves, as well as other neighbors; always maintaining relationships and being sociable.

Generations ago, it was commonplace to know most, if not all, of your neighbors! However, according to a great article by John Anderer (Dec. 27, 2019), Sign Of The Times: 75% Of Adults Aren’t Friends With Any Of Their Neighbors, “1 in 4 people are living somewhere with ‘no sense of community spirit’ in their neighborhood.”

Over the decades, people have withdrawn from socializing with their neighbors. Furthermore, John wrote that “56% say they have no interest in getting to know those who live next door any better than they already do. But the survey did find that people living in rural areas (18%) are more likely to have friends in their neighborhood than city dwellers (15%).”

Mom celebrated “neighbors” (in the broader meaning) over the radio airwaves for many decades, 1974 to 2014, starting with Bob Allison and his Detroit area Ask Your Neighborshow’s audience, who were the first to call her “The Secret Recipe Detective”.

Bob and Mom formed a fast friendship, and she soon became a regular guest on his show every Monday for decades, sharing her secrets for imitating famous foods.


As seen in…

The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemaker’s Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977)


FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS, we had only a hundred readers or so. Then, because some good folks in the media took a liking to the newsletter and mentioned it, subscriptions picked up. Bob Allison of Detroit’s WWJ-Radio [show], Ask Your Neighbor, probably gave us the most enthusiastic reception, which led to our becoming a sponsor of the show and caught the attention of the ‘Detroit Free Press’ ‘Newsweek’, ‘National Enquirer’ and many others until we found our circulation had jumped…to nearly 4,000 in a little more than a year.

The duplications of the famous name recipes stirred the [public’s] interest. It was a service that apparently had not been offered to the public yet, and one we were most happy to supply. The humorous columns I had [been syndicating] to newspapers just a few years before became a popular attraction in the monthly newsletter…

The operation grew so quickly that it had the whole family working seven days a week, just to keep up with the orders. All of our five children helped to assemble, staple, address, and mail out the copies under my husband’s supervision, until we reached about 3,000 readers and then we found it [to be] such a full-time activity that my husband resigned from his position of 20-some years as an account t executive for a sign company… just  to devote all of his attention to running my ‘office’. 

It was such a joy to be doing something for people that brought them so much happiness and our own family such a sense of unity. When our oldest son, Bill, went off to college… and our [other] son, Mike… we had to replace them. It was pure luck [or Divine intervention] that one of my friends, and the wife of one of the Little League coaches that Paul had worked with in baseball, here, in town, was anxious to help us out.

Sherry Ellis joined us, and I can only describe her as ‘bubbling like a happy brook’ – the best thing that this office could have hoped for. Debbie, our oldest daughter, continued to help us after school and our two younger daughters, Laurie and Cheryl… It even included my mother’s assistance and, you’ll note, I have used some of her recipes. Without her, I never would have learned to boil water properly. She’s a superb cook!

[As of] January 1977, we will publish our 37th monthly issue of the ‘National Homemaker’s Newsletter’ and we [now] have close to 5,000 readers. We say that getting the newsletter is just like getting together once a month for coffee with friends!

It was a bittersweet day when Mom published her last newsletter (Issue #219) in December 2000 – after 27 years of “getting together” with her thousands of readers, who she always thought of as her neighbors and friends. But she reveled in keeping in touch with them through her radio “appearances”.

By the way, Mom also celebrated neighbors for almost 13 years (June 1992 through December 2005), as did I for 13 months (April 2020 through May 2021), with radio talk show host, Kathy Keene, and her “Good Neighbor” show’s audience, on WHBY in Appleton, WI. I’m honored to have been able to share that with her.

According to a consensus of online advice, a few great ways to make friends with your neighbors, new or otherwise, include taking the initial step (if they haven’t come to you) and knocking on their doors, with a greeting and introduction.

Sometimes organizing a housewarming party or backyard barbecue can create a great ice-breaker event between neighbors, in which they can get to know each other. Such gatherings help neighbors and neighborhoods find common ground on which to connect.


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, from…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, pp. 50 & 59)


PEOLE NOWADAYS GIVE UP too easily. They’ll donate a dollar to an anonymous recipient of any given charity but won’t give two words to an offended neighbor – the two most important words of successfully living side-by-side – ‘I’m sorry.’

You don’t throw away the patient because the bandage needs changing. You try again, and again, and again for some common ground of understanding. Otherwise, how will we, as a society, ever be able to love our neighbors across the world, until we’ve first learned to love those across the street? (p. 50)


IT’S GOOD TO HAVE good neighbors! I guess that’s why I never want to move from this house. We don’t even know all of our neighbors by name, but we recognize their smiles and respond to their waving when we passed by or see each other in town.

The other day I asked one of the older neighbors on the block where he got his lovely outlook on life, which he said he borrowed from Khalil Gibran: ‘I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.’ (p. 59)



Today is National Barbecue Day AND it’s National Barbecue Month! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for sugar-free “Barbeque Sauce” AND FOUR MORE – #DoSomethingGoodForYourNeighborDay – related recipes including sugar-free versions of Apple Sauce, Ketchup, Apple Butter, and Catalina Dressing; all of which are found in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, pp. 12, 50, 54 & 67).




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


Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, National Asparagus 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, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Other celebrations this week include… National Bike to Work Week, which began yesterday; with National Bike to Work Day observed on Friday!

Today is also… National Love a Tree Day, National Mimosa Day, and National Biographer’s Day!

Tomorrow is… National Pack Rat Day, National Cherry Cobbler Day, National Walnut Day, and National Idaho Day!

May 18th, is… National Visit Your Relatives Day, National No Dirty Dishes Day, and National Cheese Soufflé Day! Plus, as the third Wednesday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Juice Slush Day! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s “Orange Brutus” recipe that is 3-in-1; from her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 32)!


Thursday, May 19th, is… National Devil’s Food Cake Day!

May 20th, is… National Pick Strawberries Day [plus it’s National Strawberry Month] and National Quiche Lorraine Day! Plus, as the 3rd Friday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Pizza Party Day!

May 21st, is… National Strawberries and Cream Day! Did you pick strawberries yesterday? Plus, as the 3rd Saturday in May(for 2022), it’s also… National Armed Forces Day and National Learn to Swim Day! 

Sunday, May 22nd, is… National Craft Distillery Day, World Paloma Day, National Maritime Day, National Solitaire Day, and National Vanilla Pudding Day!


…20 down and 32 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrating Food And Foodies

Once again, happy Monday! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays; as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day celebrations, yesterday, with their families! It’s been five years since I celebrated it with my mom. I still miss her, so much! However, I do love celebrating it with my own kids (now adults), just as Mom did with us – at a restaurant, or with carry-out, or having a backyard cookout – as long as it doesn’t involve me having to cook or clean-up for one day! On the other hand, I actually enjoy doing all that for any other celebrations!

Did you know that Mother’s Day is America’s third most celebrated holiday? The top 10 celebrated Public Holidays in the United States, according to Wikipedia, are as follows:

    1. Christmas
    2. Thanksgiving
    3. Mother’s Day
    4. Easter
    5. Independence Day
    6. Halloween
    7. Father’s Day
    8. Valentine’s Day
    9. Patrick’s Day
    10. New Year’s Day (& Eve)

Other noteworthy, unofficial “holidays”, celebrations of which embrace food (and/or drinks) in some way, include Major League Baseball’s opening day, Super Bowl Sunday, Spring Break Week, Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend!

There are also special milestones that we celebrate with food, as well – engagements, weddings and anniversaries, along with pregnancies and birthdays are most common. Additional fetes include confirmations, bar/bat mitzvas, graduations, family reunions, retirements, job promotions, and house-warmings.

People usually celebrate almost every special day or event with some kind of food (and/or drink) – except for a few religious holidays, as they focus on “fasting”. New Year’s Day through New Year’s Eve, all the big holidays and special events in our lives are, in some fashion, marketed in the food industry as much as they are commemorated in the greeting card industry!

As I’ve said before,Any reason to celebrate, is a reason to celebrate with food(Feb. 24, 2020) would make a great ad slogan – but remember, I coined it first! No matter the occasion, even for something as simple as a Sunday supper, nothing amasses people together more than food. All-in-all, we love food almost as much as we love each other.

Sharing food is how we celebrate, make friends, nurture relationships, and mend conflicts. I remember when I was young, crying to Mom that I didn’t have any friends. The next day, she sent me to school with a lunch bag full of cookies to share with the other kids. Mom firmly believed that the way to the heart is through the stomach. Thus, friendships can be formed through the sharing of good food – and cookies are great ice-breakers! It worked for me!

Food brings us comfort, happiness, and joy. It makes us feel welcomed and connected, bringing out the best in us. Common interests in food allow us to bond with others, creating a sense of fitting in. Humans, by nature, seek pleasure and they often find it in food. Certain “comfort foods” – sugar, salt, and fat based foods are the three basic culprits – trigger pleasure censors in our brains, making us feel good (emotionally).

Food obviously provides nutrients for energy, growth, and health. However, in many cultures, certain foods and drinks symbolize status, power, and wealth. Food, as well as cooking, connects people – to each other, events, and places –crossing all borders, both, literally and figuratively. “Foodie” is the modern term given to the artisan who is passionate about food (& cooking).


As seen in…


Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipe Report (Secret Recipe Report, St. Clair, MI; Issue 85, January 1981; p. 2)


NOT MANY FOLKS KNOW, and even fewer folks care that cooking habits and preferences give a clue to others about your hidden characteristics and secret personality ingredients.

If you look closely at the kind of cooking that people enjoy, you can tell a lot about their disposition and attitudes toward life. Like an astrological reading – only in some cases it’s more like a ‘horror’-scope, the experts tell us what to expect of folks who choose the following cooking preferences:

THE GOURMET COOK – Is a perfectionist in theory – but not always in practice. They set high standards for themselves – and for others, making it difficult to please them. They’re conscientious about improving their present position, never completely satisfied with what they have and always secretly desiring to identify with the refinement and good taste that purports to accompany elegance.

THE JUNK FOOD COOK – Is a person who can make instant decisions and not be upset by an exhilarated lifestyle. They are a bit reckless in their choices, usually preferring total freedom and personal happiness even if there is a risk to be considered. They don’t like to waste time and cannot be troubled with unimportant details or pretensions. They like short-cuts because they are usually impatient – but extremely thrifty.

THE HEALTH FOOD (OR NATURAL FOODS) COOK – …Is pre-occupied with sound, physical health and well-being to the extent of sometimes sacrificing emotional well-being for disciplined decisions. How one feels physically and what makes the body operate and function properly is more important than how one thinks to this cook. They are basically apprehensive, fearful and suspicious. They insist upon facts – not assumptions. Hardly careless and extremely dedicated, they are dependable people.

DOWN-HOME COOKS – …are usually content with whatever sufficiency is assigned to them in life. They make the most of what they have, ‘making-do’ and ‘doing-without’ when necessary. They’re inventive and creative and appreciative.

ETHNIC COOKS – […are] proud of their heritage – are very family-oriented and serious about tradition, home life and moral obligations. Stable and sometimes stubborn people, but loyal!

When you enjoy cooking, spending time in the kitchen eases stress and restlessness. Cooking engages all of our senses. It also generates pleasant memories, which relieves anxiety and boosts attitudes. The immersion enhances the cook’s mood and improves happiness.

Mom turned creative cooking into a new art form when she pioneered the copycat cookery movement over 45 years ago. Cooking can be like any art form in that the artist – or the cook, in this case – finds harmony in the process of creating and satisfaction in seeing the finished product, as well as the joy it brings others.

When I was growing up, it seemed like every gathering Mom (and Dad) hosted or to which she took a dish-to-pass, Mom was a combination of David Copperfield and Da Vinci; creating, both, magic and art with her delightful, culinary cuisines! Check out a great, timeless article that I’ve recommended before, called Cooking is an Art: What Makes a Chef an Artist, Craftsman and Visionary by Colt Taylor (July 3, 2014), at!


Even if you’re not a “foodie”, here are some ways to help you fall more in love with cooking:

    • Get familiar with the basics by watching videos and/or taking a beginner’s cooking class.
    • Start with searching (online) for individual recipes that you’ll enjoy before investing in collections (i.e. books).
    • Experiment with different ingredient combinations to customize to your tastes.
    • Get family and friends involved with your new passion – share the love!


In honor of May, being National Strawberry Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Aunt Jenny’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p.5).



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


Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus 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, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Additionally, as the second full week in May (8th-14th of 2022), it’s… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!

Today is… National Moscato Day and National Butterscotch Brownie Day! Plus, it’s the start of National Etiquette Week (9th-13th for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… National Clean Up Your Room Day, National Shrimp Day, and National Washington Day!

Wednesday, May 11th, is… National Eat What You Want Day and National Foam Rolling Day!

Thursday, May 12th, is… National Limerick Day and National Nutty Fudge Day!

May 13th, is… National Crouton Day, National Apple Pie Day, and National Fruit Cocktail Day! Plus, as the first “Friday-the-13th” of the year (for 2022), it’s also… National Blame Someone Else Day!

Saturday, May 14th, is… National Buttermilk Biscuit Day! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for Kentucky Biscuits, as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).


Plus, as the 2nd Saturday of May (for 2022), it’s also… Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day!

Sunday, May 15th, is… National Chocolate Chip Day! Plus, it’s the start of Bike to Work Week [15th-21st for 2022], which is always the week of National Bike to Work Day [3rd Friday in May (the 20th for 2022)]!


…19 down and 33 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrating Mom

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



Mother’s Day is coming soon but there are also many other reasons for me to celebrate my mom this week! For one, it’s National Inventor’s Month! In the early 1970s, Mom broke new ground in the food industry, with her “invention” of “copycat cookery”, by imitating Americans’ favorite fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products right at home!

Mom took the junk out of the junk foods that the critics warned us not to eat. For 40 years she wrote and self- published 40+ cookbooks, as well as hundreds of newsletter issues. Over the decades, her recipe catalog grew from a couple hundred imitations to tens of thousands! I’m still working on a master index list of all of her recipes.

Mom was on many TV and radio talk shows, locally as well as nationally and even internationally, promoting her copycat cookery concept that was taking the world by storm. As the food industry grew and evolved, so did Mom’s recipes! She also covered recipes for different needs such as sugar-free and low-carb diets and special, homemade, grocery products.

On top of all that, Mom also invented a new concept with-in her copycat cookery. She called it short-cut cookery – using 5 ingredients or less to accomplish the same end result as a longer list would achieve. For example, Mom discovered that mayonnaise made a great substitute for eggs and oil, while cake and pudding mixes contained many of the long list of dry ingredients found in things like from-scratch-cookies.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 70)


LET ME ASSURE YOU, there is no formula for furthering a business like ours. Many people have asked for advice in writing and publishing a cookbook or putting out a newsletter like ours and have seemed so disappointed when I also assure them that I cannot convey to them in a brief letter conversation, what it has taken me nearly 20 years to learn, mostly through experience, through trial and error – sometimes a lot of error!

But it is always a learning experience, as was the case with Thomas Edison when he was trying to invent the dry cell battery. After 200 tests and all failures, somebody else came out with the invention. Reporters asked Edison how he felt about his 200 failures, to which he replied: ‘Those weren’t 200 failures, at all. They were 200 things I found that wouldn’t work!’


Additionally, it’s also National Small Business Week! I’ve shared Mom’s story so many times, about how she quit her job at the newspaper and went home to start her own cottage-style, dining-room-table, recipe-publishing business, with her copycat cookery concept of “eating out at home”.

Mom definitely broke new ground, in the food industry, with her concept of imitating famous fast food fares and popular restaurant dishes at home, without any fancy gadgets or ingredients that waste money. If it saved her family’s food budget, Mom wanted to share it with the world!

‘THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE I know are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing are the same thing!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 19)

Mom had a knack for branding and promoting herself, her cooking concepts, her writings, her drawings, and her recipes. She was a very talented “Jill-of-many-trades”. I fondly remember when she used to take me and my sisters to the various shopping malls and department stores for a day of “working” and shopping, combined with lunch, too!

Each of us girls would get a handful of Mom’s business cards and, while we shopped, we’d stick them in various places throughout the stores; such as in the pockets of clothes and purses and inside the covers of books, just to name a few. We’d often take a lunch break in a Hudson’s dining room – one of Mom’s favorite places, as she imitated almost three dozen of their dishes (eight of which are in her last book)!


I always thought it was so fun! Looking back, it was a very innovative way for Mom to advertise, locally, to her target audience; which, at that time, were other homemakers, like herself. Mom found her inspiration for this marketing method from an interview she had heard of an award-winning car salesman from the Detroit area.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 43)


To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 [each] and a total of 200-300 cards. These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul did not know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved.

It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or a benefit, would have to be my little secret. Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too.

I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [area of] the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores. From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response.


Last month, we celebrated National Hug a Newsperson Day and National Columnists’ Day! Thursday is National Cartoonists Day! Mom wore each hat proudly in her lifetime – and she really did wear a lot of hats! I miss her a lot, especially as we approach next Sunday, which is Mother’s Day! Hug your mom if you can!



Today is National Truffle Day! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for homemade Truffles, from her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 199).


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


Some of May’s national observances include… 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 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!

Additionally, as the first full week in May (1st-7th of 2022), it’s also… National Wildflower Week and National Pet Week (1st-9th of 2022)!

Today is the first Monday in May (for 2022) and as such it’s also the start of… Teacher Appreciation Week!

Tomorrow is… National Garden Meditation Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Raspberry Pop Over Day, and National Montana Day! Plus, as Tuesday of the first week in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Teacher Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, May 4th, is… National Bird Day, National Orange Juice Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Star Wars Day!


May 5th, is… National Totally Chipotle Day, National Hoagie Day, and Cinco de Mayo! Plus, as the first Thursday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Reason!

Friday, May 6th, is… National Beverage Day and National Crepe Suzette Day!

May 7th is… National Packaging Design Day, National Paste-Up Day, and National Roast Leg of Lamb Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Scrapbook Day, National Homebrew Day, Join Hands Day, and National Play Outside Day (which is on the 1st Saturday of EVERY month)!

Sunday, May 8th, is also… National Coconut Cream Pie Day and National Have A Coke Day! [NOTE: This is also the anniversary of Jeopardy referencing Mom & “The Colonel” (in 1986), as well as her second appearance on the Kelly & Company show (in 1991, on WXYZ-TV; channel 7, Detroit).]

Plus, as the start of the second full week in May (8th-14th of 2022), it’s… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!


…18 down and 34 to go!