Mondays & Memories of My Mom – When You’re Doing What You Love

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!


In what seems like the blink of an eye, January is already almost gone. However, it’s not gone yet! These last two days of January are still observing, among other things… National Soup Month, National Blood Donor Month, National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, and National Slow Cooking Month.

Just because the month is ending, don’t stop your hobby or donating blood or mentoring someone. Don’t stop enjoying soup, hot tea, or oatmeal. And definitely continue having and appreciating slow cooked meals throughout the year. Any day can be celebrated on any day – look at “Christmas in July”.


‘Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ – Mark Twain

As I wrote about recently, a lot of New Year’s resolutions include starting a new hobby. Another is turning a hobby into a livelihood! Similarly to Mark Twain, says about hobbies: “…if you’re really lucky, you can find what you love to do and turn it into your career. You know what they say: ‘If you make your hobby your job, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’”

The authoring seed was planted in Mom’s soul decades before her Secret RecipesTM business really took off in the mid-1970s. Whenever Mom was asked “how did it all start”, she always found it hard to pinpoint that one single moment.

However, she was initially inspired to be a writer, after watching the 1946 Warner Brothers movie, “Devotion”, about the Bronte sisters. Mom said that was when she began to journal, seriously – on a daily basis – usually writing about her life and her faith.

Mom filled journal after journal, for well-over 70 years, with her thoughts and feelings and observations, from the time she was 10 years old until she physically couldn’t, shortly before she passed away in January 2018. Writing was so much more than “just a hobby” or a vocation, to Mom. It was a DEVOTION!

‘Succeeding against the odds…When I look back now, I realize that I was so busy trying to prove that others were wrong about me, I couldn’t see how events were already taking place that would sooner or later put me where I had always wanted to be – writing for a worthwhile living, while it made living worthwhile.’ – Gloria Pitzer My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 81)


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 25)


OVER THE YEARS, the reporters who came to interview us, somehow arrived at our doorstep anticipating a happy cross between the Walton’s and the Brady Bunch. I don’t know if they were disappointed or relieved to learn that we weren’t even close to either of the adorable, but fictional, families they expected.

There were times when the reporters asked to come out to our home, then, in Pearl Beach (near Algonac) and so small, I use to say, if we had a City Hall it would be located over a phone booth!

They would approach the story as if it were just another housewife with a happy little hobby who turned it into a profitable business. My writing was never a hobby… For lack of a better definition, the Internal Revenue Service calls our enterprise a ‘business’… [while] others call it our ‘work’. I, however, like the word ‘livelihood’ because it is a lively experience.

Mom always felt that writing was her “true calling”, claiming that she made a living with it, but it was her writing that made living worthwhile! I’ve found many articles online, regarding hobbies for making you happy, as well as making you money. Three great reads that I especially liked are:

Personally, I have a lot of hobbies that I love. I’ve even made a little money from some of them. However, I’m not a very good sales person and that is a very important element one needs, if they’re going to succeed at making money from their hobby.

You really need to be able to sell yourself, your brand, and your product/service – OR be able to pay someone else (which is usually a lot of money) to do it for you.


We can also look forward to Wednesday, as it begins the month of February; which celebrates, among other things… National Fasting February, National An Affair to Remember Month, National Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, and National Great American Pies Month.

Additionally, it will also be National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month!

Moreover, February is also home to many food-oriented, official and non-official holidays like the NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Fat Tuesday (aka: Mardi Gras), Ash Wednesday and Lent. I’d like to add that it’s also the anniversary month of Mom’s first appearance on ABC’s “Home” show, which aired in 1988 – shortly after the show first began.

Following the overwhelming fallout from her first Donahue Show appearance, in 1981 – when she received over a million letters in response – Mom insisted that she would never do another national television show. Nonetheless, when her friend and famous crafter, Carol Duvall, called, to ask her to give ABC’s “Home” show a try, Mom couldn’t say no.

Home” was a relatively new show, in which Carol, herself, had come to be involved. It turned out to be a really rewarding experience for Mom; especially when she was surprised by Wally Amos, being there, in person, to taste-test her imitation of his own famous, chocolate-chip cookies.

ABC’s “Home” show began as a half-hour program in mid-January 1988. Mom was, first, a guest in February 1988. Following a 60-minute trial run in September 1988, “Home” expanded permanently to an hour-long series in January 1989. Mom returned, to appear on another episode, for the entire hour, in March 1991.

After “Home” ended, in 1994, host, Rob Weller formed a production company with someone else and, together, they developed “The Carol Duvall Show”; which aired on HGTV from 1994 until 2005, after which it moved to the DIY Network and ran for another 4 years.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 68)


THE HOME SHOW… in February 1988, were wonderful to us [Paul and me]. They flew us to Los Angeles, and we appeared with Rob Weller and Sandy Hill in a [half] hour segment that re-created some of our recipes. They were very specific that I do our ‘Famous Nameless Cookies’ and I could not see the reason they absolutely insisted on that recipe.

I had trouble finding the right ingredients an hour before airtime, but we made compromises there and came up with an even BETTER version than before. What had happened, without my knowing it, was Wally Amos, himself [was there]. They flew him in from Hawaii to taste-test my version of HIS product.

What a delightful man! What a warm and generous soul. He brought me a tin of an assortment of his favorite cookies and, after tasting my version of his product, made me promise that I would never go into the cookie business! Meeting Wally Amos was one of those cherished memories that I will always look back on warmly.


In time for February’s National Bake for Family Fun Month, here’s a re-share of two versions of Mom’s secret recipes for re-creating these cookies at home. Years ago, Mom gave these away, on her free sample recipes and ordering information sheets, in exchange for an SASE – self-addressed, stamped envelope.


In 1993, after Mom’s second appearances on both, ABC’s “Home” show and “The Donahue Show”, Guthie-Renker Corp. created an hour-long infomercial, called “Ask Mike”, for Secret RecipesTM and the Recipe DetectiveTM (it was also produced & directed by Positive Response Television).

Similar to her appearances on “Home” and “Donahue”, the infomercial included food demonstrations, in a talk show setting, with “taste tests” and a guest-appearance by Wally Amos. Our family received copies of the production, when it was finished, but it never aired on television.

A lot of turmoil and drama surrounded the making of the infomercial. After that upsetting experience, Mom decided to never do television shows, again. For 40 years, she loved doing radio talk shows so much more and, other than some local TV talk shows, radio interviews was all she did until 2014, when she had to fully retire due to health issues.

‘I had found that television appearances were merely food demonstrations that I did not enjoy experiencing. I enjoyed my radio work more, and the number of stations on which I had become a regular participant had grown to include over 100 across the country and in Canada.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 298)]


Beginning yesterday, the last Sunday in January, and through next Sunday, is National Meat Week! Plus, in honor of January, still being National Sunday Supper Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Beef In Wine Sauce”; as seen in her early-1970s syndicated column, Cookbook Corner By Gloria Pitzer.



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


Today is also… National Croissant Day! Plus, as the last Monday of January (2023), it’s also… National Bubble Wrap Day!

Tomorrow is… National Backward Day, National Hot Chocolate Day, and National Inspire Your Heart With Art Day! Plus, as the last Tuesday in January (2023), it’s also… Plan for Vacation Day!

Wednesday begins the month of February. The first week of February observes, among other things… African Heritage and Health Week (which is always February 1st-7th) and US Snow Sculpting Week (which is a five-day celebration that starts on the first Wednesday in February (1st-5th for 2023).

Wednesday, February 1st is also… National Baked Alaska Day, National Freedom Day (Freedom From Slavery), National Get Up Day, and National Texas Day!

February 2nd is… National Heavenly Hash Day, National Tater Tot Day, and National Groundhog Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in February (2023), it’s also… National Optimist Day!

February 3rd is… National Carrot Cake Day and National Day the Music Died Day! Plus, as the first Friday in February (2023), it’s also… National Wear Red Day and National Bubble Gum Day!

February 4th is… National Homemade Soup Day and National Thank a Mail Carrier Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of February (2023), it’s also… National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and National Play Outside Day (which is the first Saturday of EVERY month)!

February 5th is… National Weatherperson’s Day and World Nutella Day! Plus, as the start of the 2nd week of February, it’s also… Burn Awareness Week and National Boy Scout Anniversary Week (which is always February 5th-11th).



…5 down and 47 to go!

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