Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Resolution Declarations

Thank God Its Monday again and, as usual, #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!



With the hustle and bustle of Christmas in the rearview mirror and in advance of New Year’s Resolutions Week, which starts next week, now is usually the time that many of us start focusing on our New Year’s resolutions for 2023 – what we want to stop, start, attain, or change about ourselves.

Do you have goals you want to achieve in 2023? You’re not alone. Almost everyone makes at least one New Year’s resolution each year. According to Wikipedia, making a New Year’s resolution is a more common tradition in the Western world than it is in the Eastern one.

Supposedly, the New Year’s resolution tradition originated over 4,000 years ago, when ancient Babylonians made year-end promises to the gods, so as to earn their favor in the coming new year. ‘Tis the season to contemplate this past year’s accomplishments and shortcomings and declare our resolutions for 2023.

The most common New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, intended to be lifestyle changes – usually related to money or getting more healthy and fit. According to a report from, the Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions… (Dec. 30, 2021), for 2022, are as follows:

      1. Exercise more
      2. Lose weight
      3. Get organized
      4. Learn a new skill or hobby
      5. Live life to the fullest
      6. Save more money / spend less money
      7. Quit smoking
      8. Spend more time with family and friends
      9. Travel more
      10. Read more

That’s actually quite similar to every year’s most common resolutions. In fact, this kind of looks like my retirement to-do-list, except to quit smoking because I already accomplished that May 1, 2006 – thanks to a book Mom gave me, The Easy Way To Quit Smoking by Allen Carr (Sterling, Sept. 2004).

After years of failed resolutions to change this or that about myself, I finally realized when I stopped smoking cigarettes (and have not gone back to it since), that the best route to a successful lifestyle change must first happen in my mind! In other words, “mind over matter” is the first step!

I think Mom heard about Carr’s book when it was recommended by Oprah or Dr. Oz, on one of their shows. She went right out to our local “Barnes & Noble” retailer and bought a copy, read it, applied it, and stopped smoking, herself. Then, she bought 3 more copies for me and my two sisters; in hopes that we’d all join the “quit smoking band wagon”, with her.

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t stick with it and neither did my sisters if they even tried at all. In fact, when she gave me the book, I didn’t even want to quit smoking. I enjoyed it. I hadn’t even thought about quitting previously, except during each of my pregnancies, in which I only quit for those time periods. Afterwards, I always CHOSE to go back to it.

Nonetheless, I promised Mom that I’d, at least, read the book and think about it. After I finished reading the book, and while I was still thinking about it, I loaned the book to a girlfriend who was dealing with cancer and Chemo. She was struggling with the “want” of smoking over the “want” of quitting. The book’s thought process worked for her immediately and she hasn’t smoked a cigarette since. That was in March 2006!

‘Live up to the best you can see yourself to be, never compromising with excuses and examining every reason for not doing what you are capable of doing…If, every day, we find a way to contribute our best efforts in thought, in action and with no regrets, we’ll never have to fear the future.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

Stress and anxiety often accompany lifestyle changes like stopping smoking or starting a new diet or exercise regimen. Thus, it’s so important to be in the right frame of mind, first; so you don’t lose it – whether it’ is your focus or your inspiration or your emotional stability – while you’re trying to lose “it” (which could refer to weight or some other health issue)!

How many resolutions have you made and broke? It might feel comforting to know that it’s extremely rare to actually keep a New Year’s resolution all year, let alone all Winter. In fact, according to The U.S. News (Dec. 29, 2015) …80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail by mid-February.

Breaking a plan down into a manageable series of short, daily or weekly steps and goals seems to help some people, in relieving stress and anxiety; thus, making it more simple to stay focused. It also offers more continuous motivation to reach each step and goal, while persevering to move on to the next one. One day at a time, one step at a time.

‘Having a goal gives us hope and it’s hope that keeps us going, enabling us each to meet whatever the world dishes out.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.24)]

I’ve determined that every day is a defining moment, in which experience and knowledge influence our own personal evolutions. Thus, I think we need to seize those moments and do our best to make the most out of them! It really doesn’t matter when you start a resolution. The important thing is to see it through and commit yourself to its eventual success.

Most New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, abandoned at the first sign of failure. There are no rules to the resolutions game. There’s nothing preventing you from changing the start or deadline dates, making new resolutions or reiterating resolutions you’ve already attempted, but from which you fell short.

‘Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results! Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.’ – Hamilton Holt, Hard Work With Some Caveats (; May 21, 2018)

Believe in yourself! The important thing, for success, is to “get back on the horse.” According to Mom, it’s not a “will” power that leads to any resolution’s success, it’s a “won’t” power – such as, “I won’t stop”, “I won’t give in”, “I won’t give up”, and “I won’t quit!”

‘Success is not in never failing, but in never fearing to begin again.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

‘Start Now! Good thoughts and good feelings reinforce each other…When you hold on to one good thought, the better you’ll do things that make you feel good about yourself…Nothing will work for you unless you work for it.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.32)]


Positivity is believing that every day is a good day – some are just better than others. Therefore, as opposed to saying, “have a good day”, Mom would suggest saying, instead, “keep good thoughts”. She reasoned, “How can you not have a good day, if you’re keeping good thoughts?”

‘Keeping good thoughts is a healthy exercise all the way around; but, like any form of exercise, you do have to work at it. And, like any other exercise, the more you work at it, the better it works for you.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 32)


In honor of tomorrow, being National Fruitcake Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Fruitcake Nobody Doesn’t Like”; as seen on the front page of her December 2002 Christmas Card/Free Recipes sheet.


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


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Candy Cane Day, National Thank-You Note Day, and Canadian Boxing Day! Plus, it’s the start of… Kwanzaa (which is always celebrated December 26th – January 1st).

Wednesday, December 28th is… National Card Playing Day, National Pledge of Allegiance Day, and National Chocolate Candy Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s famous “Recess Peanut Butter Cups” imitation.


Thursday, December 29th is… National Pepper Pot Day!

Friday, December 30th is… National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, and National Bacon Day! Plus, being the last “work day” of the year (for 2022), it’s also… No Interruptions Day! In honor of BACON, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Bacon Chip Dip”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 282). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]!



Saturday, December 31st is… National Champagne Day, Make Up Your Mind Day, and New Year’s Eve! Plus, every year, from 11:30 p.m. on December 31st to 12:30 a.m. on January 1st, it’s the… Universal Hour of Peace! Let there be peace on Earth.

Sunday is January 1st, 2023, which is the start of a whole new month and a whole new year! Happy 2023 to everyone!


…52 down, another year to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Diversity

First of all, I want to say happy Hanukkah to all of those celebrating it this week and, as always, #HappyMonday, too! 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!


Whether you say “Shalom” or “Noel” – both words mean “Peace”. It’s the season of love, hope and understanding! We are all different, yet so alike, and that’s okay. Cheerish it! Embrace it! Own it! Celebrate diversity! ‘Let there be peace on Earth…’ and let it begin with each and every one of us!

‘Every year at this time, we put our very best wishes together with some warm & worthy thoughts, and send them off to you, wrapped in sincere affection and the dearest hopes that this coming year gives you all you expect and derive from it.’ – Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Quarterly Winter 94/95.

My grandma (Mom’s mom) was raised in the Jewish faith. She converted to Christian Science when she married my grandpa. When the holidays came around, both sides of my grandparents’ families gathered together and both holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas, were respectfully observed and celebrated in unison.

The focus was on their commonalities. Both are celebrated with love and food! Love is the universal “reason for the season” for everyone. Why can’t we all just get along and respect that we are all different? Being different, with various beliefs and traditions is okay!

Mom wrote a story about her mom’s side of the family, the Klein’s, in her self-published book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop! (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 83-84). Below is an abbreviated version of Mom’s story about her mom’s Jewish family heritage, as I wrote in my blog post, It’s All Relative (April 15, 2019).


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop!

(Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 83-84)

…MY MOTHER’S PARENTS were originally German, but they were also Jews, and living in Russia at the turn of the [20th] century. It was dangerous for any Jew in Russia at that time – so much like the story of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’; my grandparents, with two small children and my grandmother expecting their third child, took a crowded freighter to America [around 1906].

They couldn’t speak a word of English and had nothing with them but what they could carry by hand. On the way over, unfortunately, they came down with what was suspected to be TB [Tuberculosis]… years later [around 1917], following the birth of their 7th child, TB finally took my grandmother.

Having settled in Pittsburg, my grandfather moved on to Cleveland where he hoped to find relatives who would help him with a job and a place to raise the motherless children. It didn’t work out as he expected, however. The relatives were not where he had last contacted them.

The orphanage was over-crowded that he had been directed to, in order to leave the children and seek treatment for the TB that seemed to be getting worse for him. Having been turned away by the orphanage, he was about to leave all the children on a street corner, telling them that somebody would come along to help them, but that he had to get his train to the sanitorium that the government was sending him to for help.

At that point, the nuns were passing by on their usual afternoon walk…on their way back to the Catholic orphanage down the street. They stopped long enough to ask if they could be of help and, upon hearing the story from the older children, who spoke English, and [from my] Grandpa’s broken English, they concluded that the children needed to be cared for.

They took the children to the Catholic orphanage, ensuring my grandfather that they would see to it that they went to Temple every Saturday, even though they would be in the Catholic schools and living in the dormitories with the other children.

When there was room for them at the Jewish orphanage, they would then be transferred – and the promise was kept. There, they all remained until each one turned 16 years of age… The compassion of those Catholic nuns and the care they gave the children of that Jewish immigrant, when Jews were hated as much as they ever were in this country, kept me from ever harboring feelings of prejudice toward other people due to their religious or racial backgrounds…

‘The celebration of the moments worth remembering continues to have its place.’Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Quarterly (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Winter 1994/95).

Like Mom and Grandma, I was raised to appreciate everyone, without prejudice – keeping an open mind to all of us being different and yet the same AND that it’s okay. I brought my own children up in the same manner – to not discriminate and to respect others’ beliefs.

I found a wonderful statement about this in an article called How to Appreciate Diversity During the Holidays, by Simma Lieberman (updated April 4,2019). She wrote: “Celebrating diversity and inclusiveness is about using the holiday celebration time with friends and family to build understanding and awareness of the traditions and beliefs of others.”


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Christmas Card Cook Book (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1983, pp. 4-5)


BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRIERS of tradition, we find a spirited acceptance of new family values. Occasions have replaced celebrations. Getting together has been replaced by BEING together! Good food, comfortable conversation [and] warm hospitality have become more important to the family circle than reverence without reason, tolerance without tact, relatives without relationships!

The lovely part about Christmas for us, was always being together – with our friends, our good and dear neighbors and our relatives; in a series of activities that began with Thanksgiving and tapered off around the new year. It was hectic, but it was also many happy reunions, mixed well with spontaneous visitations that, had they been a part of the ordinary activities of the rest of the year, would not mean so much now!

The food was simple, but ample. The food, I feel, should never be more important than the guests for whom it is prepared…All of these preparations are a part of Christmas – but not the important part. The tokens only represent the real meaning – that of loving, of letting go of old grudges, of forgetting past hurts, of looking for something good (even though you don’t see it – until you do!)

LOVE, most philosophers conclude, is the highest level of thought. It is the logic of the heart. And no other season of the calendar year seems to reflect more of this feeling…

We reach out to others – and want them, in turn, to respond to us. Some of us do it with gifts that we buy or make and some of us do it with social gestures of food and hospitality. While all of these traditions are renewed at this particular time of the year, the critics complain and the cynics look for reasons to begrudge us the pleasure of LOVING the season, renewing the fellowship of it – with family, friends and neighbors.

But that’s not unusual and we shouldn’t be surprised by the criticisms that try to take some of the joy out of the holiday traditions we follow – or create for ourselves. There are always critics, unfortunately, for those occasions in our lives when we wish to be glad about something…

So, on with the celebration – whether we choose to keep it quietly in our own personal fashion of religious customs, or whether we choose to make it festive and pronounced with the traditions of gifts and food. The point is, we are celebrating the season of hope… It’s a time for LOVING – for expressing it [and] for offering it to others! How can something like that not be good!

Our own traditions have not been very elaborate in our family, during the…season; but the things we have always done to make the holiday more enjoyable, brought us pleasure. So, we have continued with them. Whether you choose to follow traditions or to create some of your own, the underlying meaning is still there to express joy and LOVE – that incredible, curious logic of the heart!


I want to recommend another wonderful article about Hanukkah at Check it out!


In honor of Thursday, being National Date Nut Bread Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Date Nut Bread, Like Devon Gables; as first seen in Mom’s self-published cookbook… The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 42).


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


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Hard Candy Day and National Oatmeal Muffin Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share from earlier this year.



Tomorrow is… National Sangria Day!

Wednesday, December 21st is… National Crossword Puzzle Day, National Humbug Day, National Maine Day, National French Fried Shrimp Day, Winter Solstice (which is usually on or near the 21st) and Yule (which is always on the day of the Winter Solstice)! In honor of National French Fried Shrimp Day, here’s a 3-in-1 re-share!


December 22nd is… National Forefathers Day (which is always on the 22nd, unless it’s a Sunday, then it’s on the following Monday)! Plus, as the Thursday before Christmas, it’s also… National Re-Gifting Day! [22nd for 2022]

Friday, December 23rd is… National Pfeffernusse Day, National Roots Day, and Festivus!

Saturday, December 24th is… National Eggnog Day and Christmas Eve! [It’s also the 46th anniversary of Mom’s at-home interview with Jack McCarthy of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, Detroit.] In honor of the afore mentioned, here’s another re-share for you.


December 25th is… National Pumpkin Pie Day and Christmas Day! Plus, it’s the start of the Twelve Days of Christmas.


…51 down and only 1 more to go, for 2022!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Michigan’s Nostalgic Nosh-eries

Thank God Its 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 you!


Any list of notable, gone-but-not-forgotten, Michigan restaurants should include Stouffer’s. Long before the company became a frozen food empire, in 1946, it was first famous for its creameries and restaurants; opening its first Detroit establishment, in 1929. Mom was such a fan of their products, she imitated at least 32 of their offerings.

‘Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery.’ – Charles Caleb Colton says, “to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment…” However, not everyone takes it as such. I’ve discussed this subject in a few of my blog posts, previously. Stouffer’s company wasn’t a very big fan of Mom’s imitations and didn’t consider them flattery, as they threatened her with lawsuits to cease and desist.

Mom considered it to be a sign that her imitations of their products were spot on. However, they were just baseless threats, as Mom didn’t know what their secret recipes actually contained. Nevertheless, she could determine by examining and tasting the products what may be in them.

On the other hand, the Sanders Candy Company (now owned by Kar’s Nuts), which is still famous for its delectable sundae toppings and chocolate treats, was also a legendary company that once had an enjoyable eatery in Detroit, serving more than just ice cream sodas and other sweet treats.

Mom loved going there, when she was young, to eat at their lunch counter. She developed at least 56 imitations from them, as well as some special friendships with the Sanders family, who were actually flattered by Mom’s replications.


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 38)


FRED SANDERS WAS BORN in Biehl, Baden (Germany) in 1848 and brought to this country at the age of one… His father, a baker, settled his family in Peru, Illinois and it was there that Frederick learned his first baking lessons, after school and in the evenings. But his hopes went beyond what he viewed as the prosaic business of baking white bread and rolls.

At 17 years, he sailed for Germany to learn the secrets of confectionery and catering. With passport in hand, personally signed by William Seward, Secretary of State in the Lincoln Cabinet, he worked his way across the Atlantic as a ship’s baker.

He learned his trade rapidly in Karlsruhe. Within three years he opened his own small shop on a narrow street in Frankfurt. The shop prospered but his young wife, Rosa, wanted to return with him to America; where, after less than successful experiences in Philadelphia and Chicago, including being burned out by the great Chicago fire of 1871, Frederick finally came to Detroit.

They started all over again. With some misgivings, he opened the shop on the northeast corner of Woodward and State Streets – where the J. L. Hudson’s block was to rise later. With limited capital drained to outfit his shop, Frederick managed a loan from W. H. Edgar, founder of Edgar’s Sugarhouse.

Within a year, Frederick’s products were recognized as quality and he moved across Woodward, just north of Michigan Avenue, where he remained for many years and prospered. He created the first ‘soda’ as we know it today – and by accident, when some sweet cream softened. It was an instant success.

Once… a fan he used to cool his foods continually broke down. He called for someone to service the fan, which contained one of the first electric motors made. The electric shop sent over a young man to repair Mr. Sanders’ fan, and it is of interest to note that the young man’s name was Henry Ford.

He fixed the fan – and it ‘stayed fixed’ – without causing Mr. Sanders any further interruptions in business. Frederick Sanders brought his son-in-law, John Miller, into the business in 1900, taking him away from Colonel Goebel, the Detroit brewer. With this, the Sanders Company’s success was certainly charted.

Concurrently, the business became a partnership, shortly after the founder’s death in 1913, when John Miller and Frederick’s son, Edwin, and his grandson became the company’s chief officers and owners. In 1970, Sanders had more than 50 of their own stores and over 300 departments in supermarkets.

Bill Knapp’s was a restaurant and bakery chain that started in the 1940s, in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was once a popular family dining destination. Mom imitated at least seven of their dishes. Unfortunately, trying to continue making from-scratch recipes for their patrons’ ever changing tastes proved to be fatal for them; the last restaurant closed in 2002. Mom imitated over a half dozen of their signature dishes.

Schuler’s is another old Michigan restaurant chain. Most notably known as Win Schuler’s, they were family owned and operated since 1909. They still have one restaurant left in Marshall, Michigan where it all began. After Win passed away in 1982, his son, Hans, took over and shortened the company name to Schuler’s. Mom imitated about a dozen of their dishes.

The Sign of the Beefcarver (originally called The Beefeater) was once a popular chain of cafeteria-style restaurants that served comfort foods like hand-carved roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, in an early American themed atmosphere. It also has one restaurant left standing, in Royal Oak, Michigan, where Mom grew up. She imitated almost a dozen of their dishes, as well.


As seen in…

Eating Out at Home Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1978; p. 2)


YOU DON’T HAVE TO know exactly how the original dish was prepared by the commercial food chains. All you need is a basic recipe to which you will add that ‘special seasoning’ or that ‘secret method of preparation’ that sets one famous secret recipe apart from those similar to it…

When I work to duplicate a recipe so that the finished product is as good as (if not better than) a famous restaurant dish, I begin by asking myself a series of questions: I want to know what color the finished dish has…[and] was it achieved by baking, frying or refrigeration?…What specific flavors can I identify?… and about how much of each may have been used…

Similar tests are used in chemistry…[to]…break down the components of an unknown substance and try to rebuild it. So the cook must work like a chemist (and not like a gourmet, who, most of the time, never uses a recipe – but, rather, creates one.)

The most remarkable part of the duplication of famous recipes is that you can accept the challenge to ‘try’ to match their [dish or product]. Sometimes, you will be successful. Sometimes you will fail in the attempt.

But, at least, it can be done [‘practice makes perfect’], and it certainly takes the monotony out of mealtime when, for reasons of financial inadequacy, we cannot always eat out…even if we could afford to eat at all or most of our meals away from home, wouldn’t that become monotonous in time?


For a trip down Memory Lane of more nostalgic nosheries, check out These are Michigan’s 12 Most Iconic Restaurants, by Amy Sherman (updated: July 9, 2020). It’s a great article I found on Also see Nine Long-Gone Restaurants In Michigan by Sophie Boudreau (Nov. 11, 2017), on


In honor of TODAY, being National Ambrosia Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Marshmallow Ambrosia Salad; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 48). [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…


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Gingerbread House Day and National Poinsettia Day! Plus, as the second Monday, it’s also the start of… Computer Science Education Week!

December 13th is… National Cocoa Day, National Violin Day, and the U.S. National Guard Birthday!

December 14th is… National Bouillabaisse Day and National Alabama Day! Plus, it’s the start of… Christmas Bird Count Weeks, a 3-week celebration that always starts on the 14th and runs through January 5th; as well as Halcyon Days – a 2-week celebration, always 7 days before and 7 days after the Winter Solstice (which is the 14th-28th for 2022)!

December 15th is… National Cupcake Day, National Bill of Rights Day, and National Wear Your Pearls Day!

December 16th is… National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day! Plus, as the third Friday in December, it’s also… National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day and Underdog Day! Additionally, it’s the start of Las Posadas (a 9-day celebration, always on the 16th-24th).

December 17th is… National Maple Syrup Day! [NOTE: Michigan celebrates the process of making maple syrup in March.] Plus, as the third Saturday in December, it’s also… National Wreaths Across America Day! Additionally, it’s… Saturnalia Week (which is always the 17th-23rd).

December 18th is… National Twin Day and National Roast Suckling Pig Day! Today is also when Chanukah Begins – which changes annually (December 18th-26th for 2022)! Plus, it’s the start of… Gluten-free Baking Week (which is always the 18th-24th).


…50 down and 2 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Department Stores And Malls

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


After writing about the rise in virtual shopping contributing to the downfall of malls and department stores last week, I had a lot of melancholy memories about Mom and her love of going to the malls and big department stores, for shopping and dining, combined.

My local news recently reported on the holiday nostalgia sparked by the JL Hudson’s holiday exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum, including an almost complete collection of their Christmas bears, which started in 1985.

I remember Mom and Dad buying each of the grandkids a Hudson’s Christmas bear every year, when they were young. You can read the fantastic report by April Morton at

Mom often wrote about J.L. Hudson’s in her newsletters and books, too. After all, it was her favorite department store. She was so sad when they closed for good. Mom really loved their dining room (and bakery). In fact, she imitated about three dozen of Hudson’s menu offerings.

Personally, I always loved to get their French Dip whenever Mom took me there. Hudson’s dining room was probably most famous for their Maurice Salad, which was one of Mom’s favorite choices, too. Here’s a re-share of her imitation of it.

Additionally, a couple of years ago, my local news reported that the old J.L. Hudson’s site, in Detroit, was finally being re-developed. In its glory days, the Detroit Hudson’s store was the tallest department store in the world! They closed that store in 1983. The historical building was later imploded in 1998. There’s a lot of great information about the re-development project, as well as the history of J.L. Hudson’s at


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 16)


DURING THE FINANCIAL PANIC of 1873, Joseph L. Hudson was a young man, working with his father in a men’s clothing store in Michigan. Times were hard. Customers couldn’t pay their bills. After Joseph’s father died, partly from worrying, young Joseph struggled with the business for about three years and eventually went into bankruptcy, in spite of all he tried to do to bring the business up.

He paid his creditors 60 cents on the dollar and, with great determination, began over again! Through remarkable enterprise and ingenuity, in 12 years, he owned a store in Detroit. Even more remarkable, he located all the creditors whose claims had been erased by the bankruptcy proceedings and paid them in full – even though they did not ask it of him.

This so astounded the business world, in 1888, that Hudson’s reputation as an honest man, caring for his customers as much is his creditors, that word spread and the store became one of Detroit’s most important, not only in the state, but eventually in the entire country.

He established major shopping centers in metropolitan Detroit, beginning in 1953 with the magnificent Northland Center, the first of its kind in the country. At the time of this writing [1997], Hudson’s, merged with Dayton and with Marshall Fields, no longer offers the personal hometown touch that it used to have…

Their original building on Woodward and Farmer Street, in downtown Detroit, once controlled the shopper’s mecca with Kern’s and Crowley’s, as well, in that area. We have seen the passing of a great institution, but I am so glad I did not lose the precious recipes [for which] the Hudson’s dining room and bakery were known…

Department store dining rooms were just another niche in the food industry, from which Mom found inspiration for imitating “famous foods from famous places”. claims: “The three biggest department stores in the mid-1960s, both in sales volume and physical size, were Macy’s, Hudson’s, and Marshall Field, in that order.”

At, I found a great article about the best department store restaurants, by Alex Witchell (Feb. 25, 2019). I related to a lot of it, as she reminisced about by-gone days of shopping and lunching with her own mom and sisters. Another great read is at, called Stores With Amazing Restaurants, by Katherine Martinelli (July 20, 2018) – about 15 different retailers, offering the dining and shopping experience, together.

Department stores were often the “anchors” of malls across America. Victor Gruen was an Austrian architect, who designed the first fully enclosed mall in American; which was the Southdale Center, in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, Minnesota, opening to the public in 1956.

Most of the smaller storefronts faced inward, while these large, “anchor”, department stores (such as JC Penny’s, JL Hudson’s, Macy’s, and Sears) were placed at each end to attract shoppers and create foot traffic to the smaller stores in between.

Inside the mall, Gruen created a European-style central court area with an aviary, sculptures, and an open-air-style café. The mall was like an island, surrounded by a sea of parking lots designed to accommodate the masses. It was also designed to provide local employment and economic growth to the surrounding communities.

By 1960, there were 4,500 malls nationwide, built to house dozens (even hundreds) of retail stores and restaurants in one collection. Malls were envisioned for middle-class consumers’ socializing, eating, and shopping conveniences. Even in ancient Greece, societies congregated in central marketplaces.

By the 1980s, American malls were thriving, out-shining “Main Street” Mom-and-Pop shops and taking over pop culture. But, like other rising sensations, this one wasn’t going to last either. Between the rise of online shopping and the setback of the recession in 2008, there was a significant drop in sales and foot traffic at big-brand retailers and malls, alike.

Around 2010, consumers began turning in larger numbers to Amazon and other online retailers. The steep, nationwide drop in sales for brick-and-mortar stores has accelerated, in recent years, then the Covid-19 pandemic put their decline into overdrive.

According to The Week’s staff article, The ‘Retail Apocalypse’, (Aug. 7, 2021), “Roughly 40 percent of the nation’s department stores have closed since 2016, including every Lord & Taylor store and nearly all Sears and Kmart stores. Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney have filed for bankruptcy; Macy’s has shuttered dozens of stores and will close 125 more by 2023.”


The concept of eating where you shop can be traced back to 18th century Europe. However, many argue about who started the idea of “eating where you shop” in America. The great debate runs between the retailers,  Macy’s and Wanamaker’s.

Macy’s claims to have opened the first restaurant within a department store in May 1878 (originally Marshall Field’s Walnut Room), according to an article I read at

Others, like, claim that in-store restaurants were already established (in America), earlier in the 1870s, when Wanamaker’s in New York and Philadelphia offered customers the first in-store eateries. The idea was to create a reason for customers to pause in the middle of their bargain-hunting excursions and rest, while getting some sustenance for more energy to continue shopping.

It was based on the theory that the longer consumers were in the store, the more likely they were to look at more things and, thus, buy more, as well. It was a groundbreaking marketing tactic to attract and keep shoppers longer – and it worked, until it didn’t! The times are certainly changing – so are the ways people interact with each other, these days.


In honor of Sunday, as it was National Cookie Day, and the first week of December, being National Cookie Cutter Week, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Paintbrush Cookies, Like Hudson’s; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 221). [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…


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Sacher Torte Day!

Tomorrow is… National Microwave Oven Day, National Gazpacho Day, and St. Nicholas Day!

Wednesday, December 7th is… National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, National Illinois Day, and National Cotton Candy Day!

Thursday, December 8th is… National Brownie Day!

December 9th is… National Pastry Day and Christmas Card Day!

Saturday, December 10th is… Dewey Decimal System Day, National Lager Day, National Human Rights Day, and Nobel Prize Day!

Sunday, December 11th is… National App Day and National Noodle Ring Day!


…49 down and 3 to go!