Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Those Hounding Dog Days

#TGIM – Thank God It’s Monday, again; and, as such, #HappyMonday to all! I personally look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


Here, in the northern hemisphere, we’re almost to the middle of summer and the unbearable, sweltering heat of “The Dog Days” continue to hound us, with practically no relief in sight! Many Michiganders are almost wishing the “Polar Vortex” would pay us another quick visit.

“The dog days” is a term we often hear, and many of us assume that it refers to how much dogs will lethargically lie around on these extremely hot, intolerable days. But did you know that “the dog” is actually an ancient celestial reference?


According to’s “Why Are They Called ‘The Dog Days of Summer’?”, a great article by Christopher Klein (no date available), “… it’s a throwback to the time when ancient civilizations tracked the seasons by looking to the sky. The ancient Greeks noticed that summer’s most intense heat occurred during the approximate 40-day period in the summertime when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose and set with the sun…”

During this time of the year, ancient Greeks believed that Sirius (aka: “the dog star”), which is also part of the Canis Major (aka: Greater Dog) constellation, gave off heat like the sun because it was so bright. They supposed, therefore, that it’s daytime appearance, along with the sun, contributed to the extreme heat and high temperatures.

By the way, when Sirius breaks its sync with the sun and returns to shining in the night sky, it’s considered to be a sign of the end of “the dog days”.’s, “Why Are They Called ‘Dog Days Of Summer’?” (by Farmer’s Almanac Staff; updated July 11, 2022) claims that the exact dates of “the dog days” vary by latitude.

Currently, in the U.S., it’s around July 3rd through Aug. 11th; but the Almanac also reports that, in ten thousand years or so, Sirius’ coordination with the rising and setting sun “will fall back so late on the calendar that future civilizations in the northern hemisphere will experience ‘the dog days’ of winter.”


As seen in her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI)

(Published in the Port Huron Times Herald; Aug. 18, 1977)


INASMUCH AS THIS IS an election year, I wish the governor would include me in a kind of relief program to cover mothers of children who are on vacation for the summer. After two weeks of muddy blue jeans and wet towels, my Biz Bag turned in a letter of complaint and left for Yellowstone. And the refrigerator door has not closed since school did.

‘With Avon, you get personal service’, they tell me on TV. Well, since the kids have been home on vacation, my Avon lady asked me to pick up my order… in a locker at the bus terminal.

Of course, summer has not always made me feel like a wart on a hog at bay. In the days of my energy, I could spend a languid afternoon with the entire family at the beach and frolicking through the sand, could sally forth to the Good Humor truck, with brood in tow, while each one took 20 minutes to decide which flavor they would take.

I know you won’t believe this, but I could then bring myself to embrace a child with all of the tranquilized sweetness of Doris Day and plead: ‘Please, Michael, tell Mommy where you buried Daddy!’ I wouldn’t have minded so much except Daddy was carrying the money for the Good Humor man in his swim trunks pocket.

And it was completely unreasonable to expect the Good Humor man to accept one of the children as collateral – or ALL of them for that matter – until we could uncover Daddy. For these are the same children who follow you through the souvenir pavilion, commenting candidly: ‘Look, Mommy. That Lady has her wig on crooked.’ And ‘doesn’t that man have funny looking knees?’

At moments like these, I know I was never meant for motherhood. It can be very depressing. But gone are the days when I approached summer vacation with the children as if I had the unfailing cheer of Betty White and Ralph Edwards.

I wasn’t meant to spend my life serving Kool-Aid and Crispy Critters to swarms of children who embark on our porch like occupational troops in the Berlin Airlift.

I always found that, just as I was about to walk the gangplank of gloom, a cheerful neighbor (probably the mother of ONE) would enumerate for me all the blessings of having the children at home and prescribe how to enjoy them while they’re small – which is exactly like trying to tell me the only way to save money in Las Vegas is to step off the plane and walk directly into the propellers.

I mean, how can anyone live with children, who think all it takes to open a limeade stand is the garden hose and a sack of lime; who now slam the same door all summer they left open all winter; who, for the entire 87 days of summer [vacation] will ask questions like: ‘Why can’t we go see FRITZ THE CAT? It’s a cartoon – isn’t it?’ And ‘Why do you have that twitch in your neck, Mommy?’ Or ‘Can I put a band aid on this worm?’

If a summer relief program is out of the question for mothers like me, I personally feel that the least the governor could do is declare me ‘A Depressed Area!’

It’s hard to get much work done during the dog days. It’s the kind of sweltering heat that makes me want to sell my stove in my next yard sale! In fact, the Thumb Coast’s M-25/M-29 Yard Sale Trail is coming soon! This is the time of year when I usually break out my cookbooks for microwaving, grilling, or set-and-forget crock-pot ideas!

What can I say? It’s still JULY, which equals SUMMERTIME and is practically synonymous with GRILLING! Hence, we’re continuing to celebrate National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month – and probably will continue to do so throughout August, as well!

Just about everywhere I go, these days, the smells of backyard cookouts – with sizzling burgers, chicken, hot dogs (it’s also National Hot Dog Month) bratts, or steaks – seem to drift through all the neighborhoods around me. Thus, sharing grilling ideas and creations on social media with #NationalGrillingMonth is very much encouraged.


I like to mention the social media sharing because Mom always believed that great recipes need to be shared! Whether you grill with gas or propane or lighter fluid and charcoal… Whether you have a small, tabletop hibachi or a large, deck-sized apparatus… What’s your special outdoor noshing go-to?

Whenever you light up your grill, especially this month, know that you’re part of an ongoing celebration for National Grilling Month. On a side note, be aware that July is considered the driest and hottest month of the summer, too; therefore, be mindful of the dangers of fire and be prepared – take extra precautions!


In honor of TODAY, being National Hot Fudge Sundae Day – plus, it’s still National Ice Cream Month, too – here is Mom’s secret, 4-ingredient recipe for “Hot Fudge Sundae Topping” (with a variation for “Hot Butterscotch Topping”, as well); from her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 6).



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


July’s other observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Horseradish Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, and National Peach Month!

Today is also… National Merry-Go-Round Day, National Threading the Needle Day, and National Wine and Cheese Day!

Tomorrow is… National Aunt and Uncle’s Day, National Bagelfest Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, and National All or Nothing Day!

Wednesday, July 27th is… National Love is Kind Day, National Scotch Day, National Crème Brulé Day, and National New Jersey Day!


July 28th is… National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in July (for 2022), it’s also… National Refreshment Day! Additionally, it’s also the last Thursday in July (for 2022), so it’s also… National Chili Dog Day!

Friday, July 29th is… National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Chicken Wing Day!

Saturday, July 30th is… National Father-in-Law Day and National Cheesecake Day! In honor of the latter, here’s two more new shares of Mom’s copycat recipes – “Hotel Astor’s Cheese-less Cheesecake” and “Hudson’s Chiffon Cheesecake” – both from her “Original 200” collection.


Sunday, July 31st is… National Avocado Day, National Raspberry Cake Day , and National Mutt Day!



…30 down and 22 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Color Effect

Once again, #TGIM – Thank God It’s Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!


As I wrote near the end of last week’s post, there are many marketing concepts that use certain colors to elicit certain feelings or psychological effects from potential consumers. In fact, there’s been a lot of studies done on the many different effects that colors have on us, in general.

Colorology is the scientific study of colors, while Color Psychology is the study of how colors specifically affect our perceptions and behaviors. Carl Jung is considered one of the pioneers in color psychology, for his investigations into the properties of colors and their related effects on our lives – which, by the way, can also be largely impacted by different cultures and personal preferences, too. All in all, it’s reflective of interpretation.

Decades ago, when my children were small, I sold decorative products (at in-home gatherings) from a Texas-based company called Home Interiors & Gifts. I loved my job! I loved to meet new people in small, social settings and teach them decorating techniques with Home Interiors’ beautiful and affordable products.

Unfortunately, I was a terrible salesperson (and still am). I also couldn’t recruit others to join my area’s sales team, nor could I make any solid profits… But I still loved my job! I learned a lot of social skills and how to speak in public, as well as crafty decorating skills from the HI&G sales group, to which I was recruited. I really enjoyed learning about Feng Shui techniques and color psychology.

On the color wheel, cool colors are the greens, blues, and purples; reminding us of grass, water, and sky. Cool colors tend to create calm, soothing effects. Warm colors are red, orange, and yellow, which are energizing and brilliant, even mesmerizing, reminding us of campfires or sunshine.

Brown is a hybrid that’s created from both warm and cool colors. Brown can be created by combining two opposite colors on the “color wheel”, like red and green or blue and orange. Neutral colors, such as white, grey, and black are neither warm nor cool.

Similar to how various brands choose colors that represent their values – KFC and Coke are associated with red, Culver’s and Pepsi are associated with blue, Subway and Starbuck’s are associated with green, etc. – Mom also used color psychology when choosing the colors for the covers of each of her self-published books.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 53)


THERE ARE MANY RISKS involved with going into business for yourself, no matter what product or service you intend to offer. If I had thought more about the risks, than I did about the possibilities, I never would have moved an inch toward doing any of the things about which I now write.

My husband is not a risk-taker. I am. We complement each other well. He still becomes uneasy and anxious about every new idea I have for another book or another project, on the basis that ‘we can’t afford it.’

I have learned, over the years, to keep many of my projects to myself until they are completed; which, in the long run, saves Paul from worrying unnecessarily about something that will very likely turn out well, and keeps me from worrying that Paul is worrying.

When I have been asked about goals or destination, it is been my feeling that every corner I turn has a new goal, a new destination awaiting us. I have never thought of any one point as being the top. Life has so many wonderful opportunities for each of us to take advantage of, that it does not seem reasonable that I should give myself the limitations that would determine just how far I should be able to go.

Because this was never a hobby, never WORK, never a job, I have had no problem with the worry or concern that accompanies a position from which one expects to retire. I would not want to give up what I have been doing [writing] since I was a child. It would be unfair to have to give up doing something that has also brought so much pleasure and good information to so many people.

It was, however, only when I realized WHAT I should be writing about and what I should be sharing with the readers – what I knew best – that things really began to happen. Of course, my husband wisely reminds me, when someone asks about writing their own cookbook, that WRITING it is the easiest part. Knowing how to SELL it is the hard part!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 136). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].


EATING OUT AT HOME: Going to a restaurant is like going to a movie, a way of escaping your day-to-day environment in the office or at home or at most functional places. Restaurants should be places that make you feel separated from your daily environment.

Many restaurants are successful because their design is theatrical, suggesting another time, or a more environmental experience that makes you feel far away from your problems. McDonald’s has been successfully employing the theme of total decorating concept into their units for many years with the family as the center of their attention; whatever appeals to family groups, children, parents, grandparents.

Their concept is warm, functional, attractive and wholesome. They have set the trend in the fast food industry for this type of the core, always emphasizing their immaculacy concept.


Purple is associated with royalty, elegance, authority, and seniority. [NOTE: Gold is similar, also representing pedigree, power, confidence, and wealth.]

Blue is associated with loyalty, trust, calmness, peace, and stability. Blue is also associated with first-place ribbons and, thus, being a winner. Indigo is a dark shade of blue that adds a dramatic level to blue’s general effects.

Green is associated with success, goodwill, good taste, and money. Green is also usually associated with quality and freshness, evoking feelings of a healthy, natural environment.

Yellow is associated with sunshine and energy. It’s bright and happy, stirring up feelings of confidence and artistic creativity/ingenuity.

Orange, like its two ingredients, red and yellow, is associated with power and energy; creating a sociable, fun, cutting-edge feeling.

Red is associated with power and confidence; grabbing your attention and creating feelings of excitement, energy, and strength. Red also represents the heart, passion, and love. Pink is a light tint of red that simplifies red’s effects, adding a bit of youth and innocence.

Brown is associated with earthy, simple, trustworthy, and dependable characteristics.

Black is associated with both, modern and traditional characteristics; representing drama, sophistication, and formalness. However, depending on how it is used, it can also represent evil and death; evoking feelings of fear, sadness, and grief.

Grey is associated with being moody and stormy, but also rugged, conservative, and solid (like a rock).

White is associated with being clean and simple; eliciting feelings of innocence, honesty, and newness.


In marketing, colors are a highly influential part of the selling and buying process. How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing, by DashBurst (June 19, 2014; updated Sep. 7, 2021), as seen at, agrees that “The psychology of color is used in advertising and marketing to evoke emotional reactions.” The aforementioned article also offers a brief history of color that I found very interesting – you may, too.

Be careful not to blink, nature’s fall colors will be ablaze in just a few months and National Color Day is coming October 22nd!


In honor of July, being National Blueberry Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Blueberry Open-Face Pie – Like Polly Pie Shop’s”; as seen in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 250). [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…


Other July observances include: National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Ice Cream Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!

Additionally, July 3rd – Aug. 11th is considered The Dog Days of Summer!

Today is also… National Sour Candy Day and National Caviar Day!

Tomorrow is… National Daiquiri Day! 

July 20th is… National Fortune Cookie Day, National Lollipop Day, and National Pennsylvania Day! Plus, as the third Wednesday in July (for 2022), it’s also… National Hot Dog Day (AND, it’s… National Hot Dog Month, too)!

July 21st is… National Junk Food Day and National Be Someone Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of the third quarter (for 2022), it’s also… Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Friday, July 22nd is… National Penuche Fudge Day and National Hammock Day!

Saturday, July 23rd is… Gorgeous Grandma Day and National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

July 24th is… National Tequila Day, National Drive-Thru Day, National Cousins Day, and National Amelia Earhart Day! Plus, as the fourth Sunday in July (for 2022), it’s also… National Parent’s Day! If you can, give yours some love!

Happy heavenly #NationalParentsDay, Mom & Dad!


…29 down and 23 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Independent Culinary Retailers


Thank God Its Monday and, as such, happy Monday to everyone! I personally look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!


As I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago, the month of July observes a lot of summertime foodie celebrations, including National Baked Bean Month, National Grilling Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Blueberry Month, National Peach Month, National Picnic Month, and National Culinary Arts Month!



Additionally, it’s also National Independent Retailer’s Month and speaking of, both, Independent Retailers and Culinary Arts observances, have you noticed that there seems to be another new resurgence of food (and drink) truck/trailer vendors these days? The last revival of mobile street food was noticed around the time of the 2008 Recession.

Back then, the “fall” of the “Big 3” (in the auto industry) caused a ripple effect throughout the manufacturing industry, especially in the Motor City and its surrounding areas. That directly impacted local Independent Retailers, who survived on the patronage of those auto workers, who were let go or laid-off; causing many of them to close temporarily or go-out-of-business, all together.

I’ve seen many local news stories, over the past few years, regarding the Covid-related health restrictions placed on Independent Retailers – and the restaurant/bar industry, in particular; which seemed to have much more than a ripple effect! There was a huge barrage of waves (aka: elements) that formed a perfect storm.

It was more like a tidal wave effect that put a lot of “Ma-and-Pa”, brick-and-mortar establishments out of business because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) adapt to new, innovative ways of conducting business as others were doing AND still be able to make a profit – things like online and phone-in ordering, new air filtration systems, outdoor dining, as well as drive-thru/pick-up/delivery options.

Currently, for both born-again and first-time restauranteurs, food/drink trucks/trailers are offering the perfect opportunity to “rebuild”/re-invent a lost business or to experiment and be creative building a new one, while potentially seeing good profits, within a reasonable amount of time, and at less of an initial investment than with a brick-and-mortar business. So I wondered…


According to History of American Food Trucks, at, the “Chuck wagon” was basically the first American mobile “food truck/trailer”, invented in 1866 by Charles Goodnight “to feed cattlemen and wagon trains traversing the old West.”

Per Carly Hallman’s article, History of Food Trucks, as seen at (no date available), “Mobile food vendors began to increase in popularity around the 1950s when refrigerated ice cream trucks began selling ice cream and other frozen products aimed primarily at children.”

Likewise, Lorrie Mealey wrote a nice article (as seen at, updated April 2021), which is also titled History of Food Trucks, about the first resurgence of food trucks that came, as I mentioned above, around 2008.

‘THERE ARE MANY risks involved with going into business for yourself…’ – Gloria Pitzer

More interesting information on the history of food trucks can also be found at Prestige Food Trucks.comHistory of Food Trucks and How They’ve Shaped America (March 2020). Also check out the variety of information on food trucks/trailers at’s Michigan/Carnival Food.

Food truck menus have expanded and been overhauled from the traditional choices like hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, chili, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, tacos, or pizza. A variety of “natural (plant-based) foods” and ethnic-style menus have joined the food truck/trailer industry. As such, their popularity has grown by leaps and bounds, especially among the younger generations.

According to an article at, which referenced an IBISWorld Inc. report, the majority of street food patrons are millennials. Gen-Y’s middle-class (about 25 to 44 years old) represents 43%, with another 20% coming from the Gen-Z consumers (under 25 years old).

Despite all the challenges that food truck owners face with local government red-tape, opposition from local restaurant owners, and the strong rivalry from the area’s fast food chains, more and more Independent Retailers are taking the leap of faith to start their own business as food truck/trailer owners and operators.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 64)


IN OVERCOMING JUST the ordinary aggravations of being in business for ourselves, we also had to iron out the little conflicts over who would handle certain aspects of the work and how it would be handled. We were constantly having to compromise. That was the toughest step! Paul’s mother surely would have been proud of us and what we had accomplished together, if she had been able to witness any of this.

It is not easy to carry out the details of a demanding schedule and keep harmony at a priority, making every effort to keep the atmosphere healthy and still harmonious. To me, this was of utmost importance. Sometimes being in complete agreement was impossible.

But the error to be corrected was always in separating the act from the person. That, alone, made forgiving so much easier and without that forgiving we could never have worked together all these years – seven days a week and 52 weeks a year.

To be able to overlook the things that are not important has made the compatibility easier to experience, too. Being picky about something, we have said to each other, could only lead to increased discontent and sometimes snowball right into a major confrontation of shouting and fist-clenching. Thank goodness, neither of us ever let it get to that stage, since we both wanted to have the best possible relationship. We work at it!

It’s more common, now, to find food truck/trailer vendors in other locations than the usual “downtown, busy street corners” of heavily populated cities. They’ve moved out to the ‘burbs, as well! In St. Clair County, where I live, it’s not as densely populated as it is in Wayne County (where Detroit is located).

However, the growth of mobile food/drink merchants, here, is noticeably evident everywhere I go; especially now that the pleasant, summertime months are upon us. I’ve seen them operating near campgrounds, hospitals, industrial parks, construction areas, community pools and recreational parks; besides being in the usual shopping and business districts.

It’s not uncommon to see a variety of food trucks/trailers turn up at big events like festivals (4th of July weekend, there was also a “Food Truck Festival” in one of Detroit’s suburbs); as well as car shows/races, sports games, and – these days – there are also some for hire, to cater events like weddings and reunions!


According to an interesting article by Vivian Glang, How to Start a Food Truck Business (July 2017) – as seen at – when starting up a mobile food business and creating a business plan, you’ll want to budget these important expenses into your operating costs:

    • Ingredients/food [and other necessary supplies]
    • Salary and benefits for any employees [including yourself]
    • Insurance [plus, taxes, permits and licensing costs]
    • Technology to operate your truck [and software for your business records]
    • Marketing and advertising

Another cost, which she didn’t mention, as it occurs to me, is for the gas and maintenance of the truck, itself. There are many pros than cons to owning a food truck/trailer business, as there is with any small business. However, the overhead costs for a food truck/trailer are potentially far less than for a brick-and-mortar establishment.

Even though it’s a small, confined work space, it’s manageable since only a few people are needed to operate such a unit. Likewise, the menu choices are best limited to about five (no more than 12) quick and easy selections. Having mobility, to go to the masses, is another advantage – but owner/operators must know the vendor laws wherever they go.

When considering advertising costs, food truck/trailers can also serve as “mobile billboards”; decorated/painted to attract attention, highlighting who they are and what they offer. Did you know that there are many marketing theories about how colors, alone, effect potential consumers? There’s a subject for another week!


In honor of TODAY, being National Blueberry Muffin Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Blueberry Muffins”; as seen in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 151). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]. Plus a copy of Mom’s 1986 revised version, from her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).



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


Other July observances include: World Watercolor Month and National Horseradish Month!

Additionally, July 3rd – Aug. 11th is considered The Dog Days of Summer!

Today is also… National Cheer Up The Lonely Day, National Rainier Cherry Day, National All American Pet Photo Day, National Mojito Day, and National 7-Eleven Day!

Tomorrow is… National Pecan Pie Day, Paper Bag Day, and Eat Your Jell-O Day!

Wednesday, July 13th is… National French Fry Day, National Beans ‘N’ Franks Day, and National Delaware Day!

Thursday, July 14th is… National Grand Marnier Day, National Tape Measure Day, and National Mac & Cheese Day! In honor of the latter, here is a re-share of Mom’s imitation of ‘Woolworth’s Mac And Cheese’, from her “Original 200” collection.


Friday, July 15th is… National Give Something Away Day (see recipes above), National Tapioca Pudding Day, and National Gummi Worm Day!

July 16th is… National Corn Fritters Day and National Personal Chef’s Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in July (for 2022), it’s also National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day and Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day!

July 17th is… National Lottery Day and National Peach Ice Cream Day! Plus, as the third Sunday in July (for 2022), it’s also… National [any kind of] Ice Cream Day!


…28 down and 24 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Marketing Effect

Happy Independence Day and, as always, happy Monday to everyone! Thank God Its Monday – I personally look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!




Marketing can manipulate the masses. In fact, Mom’s masterful marketing talents influenced a whole movement of copycat cooks! She always referred to her business as a “family enterprise”. However, almost every aspect of it was really Mom’s creation, right from the start.

The research, the recipes, the tests – everything, from the development, and perfecting, of her recipe imitations to writing, producing, and self-publishing her books and newsletters to marketing all of it – that was Mom! Dad managed the business end – going through all the mail, filling and shipping orders, ordering office supplies, keeping all the company records, etc.

My siblings and I often helped both, Mom and Dad, with many different tasks, after school and on the weekends… even into our adulthoods. I’ve openly admitted that marketing is a challenge for me, to say the least. Mom was a natural at it.

Mom really enjoyed her busy promotional schedule of radio talk shows before and after each of her cookbooks (and newsletter issues) “premiered”. To Mom, her radio “visits”, across the country and internationally, were like sitting at the kitchen table, having coffee and chatting with friends!

Like any proud mom, she loved to talk about her babies (the recipes, newsletters and cookbooks – plus, us kids, too)! Mom briefly ventured into television talk shows for some of her cookbook promotions – as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs – most renowned were the 2 times she was on the Phil Donahue Show (in 1981 and 1993). The 41st anniversary of the first appearance is on Thursday!

However, Mom always felt more at home on the radio. I guess that’s because she usually was at home, doing most of her radio roundtables by phone. Although, many times, when my parents would travel (especially with their “Good Sam” friends), Mom would find a way to fit in an “in-studio” radio visit or short-cut cooking lecture or restaurant review whenever she could.

Mom was a natural at marketing her talents and her products. I may have inherited her loves for writing, art and creativity in general; but I know I’m lacking in her self-confidence and many marketing talents! These days, I get anxiety just from the idea of selling anything. I tried selling a couple of times (for Amway and for Home Interiors & Gifts) but I was not good at all.

So many times, in interviews and “fan” mail, Mom would be asked how she did it and how can someone else do what she did? Instead of composing a “How To…” guide for writing, publishing, and marketing a newsletter (or books), Mom wrote “our family story” in her book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989); in hopes that it might inspire others. Below is a patch-work quilt of such excerpts from that book.


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer…

As seen in…

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)

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…

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…

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! (pp. 14-15)

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)

Mom had developed an innovative way to market her talents to her initial “target audience”, based on inspiration from an interview she had heard, of an award-winning car salesman in Detroit. Mom printed hundreds of business cards on her mimeograph, and I remember her taking me and my sisters to the mall and big department stores like Sears, J.C. Penny’s, and J.L. Hudson’s to disperse them.

It was an all-day event of shopping combined with marketing, as each of us girls would get a handful of her business cards to stick in the pockets of various clothes and purse displays while we browsed and shopped. After a few hours, we’d take a lunch break in one of the department stores’ dining rooms, where Mom found many great dishes to mimic at home. It was a lot of fun!

‘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.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 48)



July is celebrating National Independent Retailer Month, which offers us the unique chance to better know our local small business owners and show that we appreciate them. Like Mom and Dad, many small, local, business owners and operators usually work very long hours, dedicating extra time to marketing for the success of their business.

Independent retailers often offer goods/services generally not found in the big box stores. Additionally, they support their local communities – by keeping tax dollars at home, as well as sponsoring local events, school sports and many other organizations. Thereby, whenever we shop locally, we’re also supporting our hometowns.


In honor of TODAY, being National Caesar Salad Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Caesar Salad; as seen in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 47). [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…


July’s observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!

Additionally, July 3rd – Aug. 11th is considered The Dog Days of Summer!

Today is also… National Barbecued Spareribs Day!

Tomorrow is… National Apple Turnover Day, National Graham Cracker Day, National Hawaii Day, and National Workaholics Day!

Wednesday, July 6th is… National Hand Roll Day and National Fried Chicken Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a repeat of Mom’s KFC imitation – Oven-Fried Kentucky-Style Chicken; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 89). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].


Thursday, July 7th is… National Father Daughter Take a Walk Day, National Strawberry Sundae Day, and National Macaroni Day! [NOTE: As mentioned in the recipe pictured above, it’s also the 41st anniversary of Mom’s FIRST appearance on The Phil Donahue Show, in 1981!]

July 8th is… National Freezer Pop Day and National Chocolate with Almonds Day!

July 9th is… National Sugar Cookie Day!

July 10th is… National Kitten Day and National Pina Colada Day!


…27 down and 25 to go!