Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Fast Food & Kindness

#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 you!


This is World Kindness Week, which is always the week of November 13th. While kindness should be practiced every day, world-wide, special attention is brought to it this week – whether you’re a giver or receiver, celebrate it!

The “giving season” has begun. Some kind-hearted people are once again paying for other people’s fast food orders, while sitting in line at the drive-thru. I’ve also seen multiple church groups pay for people’s gas at stations around the Detroit area. Kindness is in the air!

‘Happy is the person who has a good supply of the milk of human kindness and knows how to keep it from souring.’ – Gloria Pitzer

Wednesday is also celebrating, among other things, National Fast Food Day! Over 50 years ago, fast foods and junk foods were always getting a bad rap from the critics, regarding how unhealthy they were. But my mom figured out how to make those taboo foods at home – where she controlled the ingredients, taking the junk out of junk food.

Mom was a trailblazer in the 1970’s, when she carved a new niche in the food industry. She called her creations “copycat cookery” for “eating out at home”. The fact is, fast food recipes weren’t found in any cookbooks, back then. So Mom found ways to imitate our favorite fast foods at home, for less!

She looked forward, every day, to investigating all the possibilities there were to offer from this new platform! If it saved her household money, Mom wanted to share it with everyone, to help them save money too!

From 1974 to 2014, Mom shared her discoveries in her self-published cookbooks and newsletters, offering a free sampling (about 10-15) of her recipes, in exchange for a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope), along with information on how to order her available cookbooks and subscribe to her newsletter.

The fast food recipes featured in her 1980 sample sheet are pictured above. You can also find them individually on the Recipes tab of this website. Mom wrote the following editorial about her humble beginnings with recipe requests and popular, fast-food, make-alike dishes.


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; January 2018, 1st Printing)

[A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].


FAST FOOD RECIPES were not published in the best-sellers – and these were the restaurants where families were apt to frequent if they wanted a meal that was affordable! [In the 1970s] Paul and I could take all 5 of the children to Capri’s, an Italian restaurant down the road from us, in Pearl Beach.

We could feed the whole family for less than $10, providing we ordered the large pizza with only pepperoni and cheese on it and one soft drink for each of us. It was not for substance that we ate out. It was for entertainment.

We could take the kids to McDonald’s, and it did the same thing for us that going to the movies did for our parents. It was an affordable pleasure. It was a diversion from meatloaf and pot roast and peas and carrots.

It was a treat. We looked forward to it. We felt good about the experience and even better after it was over. It carried us through a long week of paying the utilities, insurance, house payments and car payments and grocery expenses.

When we had to have our 10-year-old station wagon repaired, we had to skip eating out that week. If one of us had to see the dentist, it might be 2 or 3 weeks before we could afford to eat out again. We made do with what we had… (p. 295)


MY LIST OF ‘SECRET RECIPES’ had grown to 200 and we offered them, on 4×6-inch cards [that I printed on my mimeograph], at $.25 each or 5 for a dollar. It was quite a packaging process to fill the combinations of orders, so I put all those recipes into a book.

It was going to be our only book on the subject, since most of the recipes were fast foods – but, as it turned out, it was only the first in a series of five books. After ‘Book One’ took off and became a very good seller, I did a Bicentennial American Cookery book as a limited edition and was pleased when the Henry Ford Library at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan ordered copies for their Bicentennial collection. That was July 1976… (p. 296)


WE WANTED TO EAT OUT at a price we could afford; and, when we couldn’t afford to eat out, we wanted to dine-in as if we were eating out! At the time, there were few recipes for this kind of cooking.

We wanted to spend less time preparing the foods and less money on the ingredients and still serve a dish to those who shared our table…that would be equal to – if not better than – anything we could buy in a restaurant or from a supermarket.

For all of these reasons, I have pursued the investigations of the food industry with the greatest joy and the utmost care, translating into recipes, those secrets that I have been able to decipher. (p. 297)

Over the decades, Mom offered free samples of some of her most requested recipes, starting with her “Original 200” collection. As the years went on, she changed up the free sample recipes she offered, as some also came from her most popular requested recipes, during the radio interviews she did around the country.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 55)


SIGHT-UNSEEN WAS HARDLY appropriate to ask people to buy a publication that they could not first examine. I spent all of one day and most of the next, thinking about and trying out a single page description with a few sample recipes from the publication that I could send out to interested and perspective subscribers.

To this day [1989 – and continued through 2014], we still use the same procedure, and it has worked very well. We offer, for a self-addressed stamped envelope, 12-15 sample recipes and, on the other side of the page, all the [ordering] information on our books and newsletter.

Incidentally, Mom didn’t just investigate and develop imitations of popular restaurant dishes, fast food favorites, pantry-shelf products, etc. She was also a writer, and she filled her books and newsletters with almost as much food-for-thought editorials and food-for-the-soul inspirations as she did food-for-the-table recipes and kitchen tips.

Mom wanted her creations to be as much at home on the living room coffee table or on the bedside table as they were on the kitchen counter. Her books and newsletters were like no others, which put her writings in a unique position to be noticed – and that they were!


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 92)


WHENEVER SOMEBODY HAS MENTIONED to me that they are surprised that the newsletter or the recipe books include non-recipe material, I usually replied, ‘I’m surprised that you’re surprised!’ Food for the table and food for thought should, and often do, go hand-in-hand.

In our publications there will always be room for the kind of material that is humorous and uplifting – as the case may be. I respond easily to the unusual, if it has a beneficial influence on others and find it a joy to share such information. The response is always encouraging.

I am still hearing good comments on the little book we sent out in the fall of 1988, entitled ‘Good Thoughts And Things To Smile About’; which we did not sell, but GAVE to those people we felt we should express appreciation for their kindness and attention, either, to our work or to our family.

The little acts of overcoming the annoyance, impatience, indifference, apathy, that sometimes seem to be so much a part of our day – can make an enormous difference in the quality of our lives. This may not always seem easy, but each false tendency can be detected and rejected because it is wholly without foundation. Genuine love, caring, alertness and patience replace annoyance, indifference, apathy and impatience.

LAST THOUGHTS… is a great website that promotes doing random acts of kindness as part of our normal routine. They offer a lot of inspiring stories about such acts, as well as scientific health benefits. Check out The Science Of Kindness, which claims it fuels personal energy and self-esteem, makes you happier, and is good for your heart; all of which helps you live longer.

It’s said that “practice makes perfect”. Practice also creates habits that, in turn, become our “norm”. In addition, habits generally take about a week to form, thus, I want to re-recommend Chrystle Fiedler’s kindness challenge, from “Why Being Kind Makes You Healthier” (as seen at…; July 24, 2019). Chrystle wrote:

‘Try the seven-day kindness challenge. That means, do at least one act of kindness every day for seven days. Ground rules: Do something different each day; push yourself out of your comfort zone at least once and be sure one of your acts of kindness is anonymous — no one should ever find out who did it.’


In honor of TODAY, being National Pickle Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for Bread And Butter Pickles; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 22). [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…


November observes, among other things… National Banana Pudding Lovers Month, National Family Stories Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Life Writing Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Novel Writing Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, National Spinach and Squash Month, National Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Today is also… National Family PJ Day and National Spicy Guacamole Day! [NOTE: It’s also my birthday and the 48th anniversary (1974) of Mom’s first TV appearance – on “AM Detroit”, with host, Dennis Wholley; at WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, in Metro Detroit.]

Tomorrow is… National Bundt (Pan) Day, National Philanthropy Day, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, National Raisin Bran Cereal Day, and National America Recycles Day!

November 16th is… National Button Day and National Indiana Day! Plus, as the Wednesday (for 2022) of American Education Week (which is always the week before Thanksgiving), it’s also… National Educational Support Professionals Day!

November 17th is… National Baklava Day, National Take A Hike Day, National Homemade Bread Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of November (for 2022), it’s also… the Great American Smoke-Out!

November 18th is… National Vichyssoise Day! Plus, as the Friday before Thanksgiving, it’s also the start of… National Farm-City Week (18th-24th for 2022)!

Saturday, November 19th is… National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day!

Sunday, November 20th is… National Peanut Butter Fudge Day and National Child’s Day! Plus, as the start of the week of Thanksgiving, it’s also… National Game & Puzzle Week and Better Conversation Week!


…46 down and 6 to go!

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