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.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
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!
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 9th is… National Sugar Cookie Day!
…27 down and 25 to go!