Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Women

Thank God Its Monday again – so #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!





We’re quickly approaching March, which observes and celebrates, among other things, National Women’s History Month. It was created in 1987 to honor women and their endeavors to make the world a better place for all other women – regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, or religion.

Additionally, next Sunday (March 5th) is the start of International Women’s Week. Plus, next Wednesday, the 8th, is also International Women’s Day. Consequently, what better time is there, for me to re-tell Mom’s story, of being a pioneer in the food industry?

She started the copycat cookery concept in the early 1970s, imitating the “secret recipes” of “famous foods from famous places”, right at home! Mom always felt that we, all, could and should make the world a better place. She liked to do it through her food-for-thought articles, food-for-the-soul advice, and food-for-the-table recipes.

To promote her new recipes business, in the Detroit area, in the mid-1970s, Mom became a regular “guest” on Bob Allison’s “Ask Your Neighbor” radio program. His audience quickly dubbed her “The Recipe Detective”, as she could decipher different combinations of ingredients and techniques, to use at home, imitating our favorite restaurant dishes and fast food items, as well as packaged “junk foods” and other supermarket products.


As seen in…

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


RADIO TURNED OUT TO BE the most appropriate way by which we made people aware of what we were doing. Again, my involvement with the wonderful world of radio actually came about without any specific intention of becoming a regular part of the broadcasting field.

For one thing, I didn’t know I had what is considered a ‘radio voice’. I had never heard my own voice, at least, recorded. Heaven knows, our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their upbringing, I have been known to discover conditions that would prompt me to accelerate vocally in a pitch that only dogs in the next county could hear!

My introduction to radio began with Bob Allison and [his] nearly 30-year-running [at that time] ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. I was folding diapers at the kitchen table, waiting for my favorite, daily segment of ‘My True Story’ to come on the air, when, instead, WWJ announced that it had been replaced with a NEW show.

This new show turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. To this day [December 1989], almost every Monday morning I visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors, now [in 1989] heard weekdays at 10 AM (EST) over WEXL-radio (Royal Oak/Detroit, Michigan), 1340 on your AM dial.

When ‘My True Story’ was replaced by Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show, weekday mornings, I was, at first, very disappointed. [Recipes,] household hints and problems around the house that you cannot solve yourself, seem like just too much homemaking information to please me.

I soon, however, became ‘hooked’ on the show; as almost everybody does, to the point that, on Fridays, when Bob would sign off and say he would talk to us again on Monday, I was spending the weekends, just looking forward to the show on Monday.

I called the show about two or three times a month for the first year or two to ask questions of Bob’s ‘neighbors’ that my newspaper column readers were asking me. When I could not find the answers from consulting other sources, I knew I could rely on Bob Allison’s ‘neighbors’ to come up with the right answers for me.

In return, I would often than phone and an answer that I occasionally had in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests. Bob did not recognize my voice as a regular collar until I had initiated the newsletter, however.

He asked me where the recipe came from that I was giving in reply to one of his listeners requests, which is how his program has always worked. Nobody simply calls in a recipe because they like it. They must, first, be replying to a request made by another caller and, secondly, must have personally tried the recipe.

On rare occasions, Bob will accept a recipe that is NOT tried by the caller, providing it comes from a truly reliable source or has been asked for and not answered for a long time. They also cover services that people are looking for or products that they cannot locate.

This is what has always made Bob Allison’s format so unique, when compared to others like it on the air. In mentioning that the hamburger sauce recipe would appear in the next issue of my monthly newsletter, which I had given in response to one of his listeners previous requests, Bob reacted with great interest and curiosity.

‘You have a newsletter, do you?’ He asked. ‘Well, tell us about it and how much it is and where our neighbors can get it.’

That was all it took to get us well-acquainted with Bob’s ‘neighbors’ and, in no time at all, our subscription orders went from a few too many. Sight-unseen was hardly appropriate to ask people to buy a publication that they could not first examine.

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

In the early 1970s, Mom discovered that people were searching to replicate these things but there wasn’t a source around to tell them how – so she created one. Later, Mom trademarked the nickname, “The Recipe Detective”, and it became her signature format.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p.293) [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].


I WAS A REGULAR PARTICIPANT on Bob Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ radio show that aired 5 days a week for 2 hours in the morning. I used Bob’s program for asking for food information that I needed for my weekly columns. Bob’s audience was very helpful in supplying me with answers. To reciprocate, I would reply to some of the requests made by his audience when they called into Bob’s show.

It was a unique format in that one could not simply call in a recipe or information simply because they wanted to share it with others. The information or the recipe had to, first, be requested by a previous caller. Many of my first ‘Secret Recipes’ were developed because of requests made by Bob’s callers for such dishes as The Colonel’s secret spices, Arthur Treacher’s fish batter, Sander’s hot fudge, Win Schuler’s bar cheese and so on.

At the suggestion of one of Bob’s callers that I should put all my column recipes into a book, I wrote my 1st edition [1973] called ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’. In less than a month, I had sold 1000 copies. I wasn’t satisfied with the book, so I didn’t reprint it – but, decided that it might work out better if I could do those recipes monthly.

So, in December 1973, I put together my 1st issue of what came to be my ‘Secret Recipe Report’; a newsletter that… brought me in contact with the many so-called secrets of the commercial food and restaurant industry.

I probably wouldn’t have done the [newsletter], except for a falling-out I had [at the time] with the editor of a small-town paper for which I was writing a food column. I had published some of my 1st attempts at duplicating famous dishes in that column…

The response was beautiful, until I offended one of the paper’s biggest advertisers with a rendition of their cheesecake… ‘The kind that nobody doesn’t like.’ The editor told me I would have to go back to standard recipes like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf or chocolate cake – or I could pick up my check. I told him to ‘MAIL it to me!’

That’s when I decided it was time to launch my own paper. That afternoon, I put out my charter issue, sending samples of it to those whose names and addresses I had on file from having written to me at the paper. That was the beginning of ‘Secret Recipes’!


Since starting this blog series, in Mom’s honor, I’ve received many emails and social media messages from people who remember the joy Mom brought them and their families through her cookbooks and newsletters. She inspired them in the kitchen. That inspires me!


In honor of TODAY, being National Strawberry Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Strawberry Nut Bread, like The Wine Country Inn” (St. Helena, CA); as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 165). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]. Followed by a re-share of her “Strawberry Freezer Jam” recipe (from page 184 of the same book)!



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


For a couple more days, February is still celebrating… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, 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!

Today is also… National Polar Bear Day! Plus, as the last Monday in February (for 2023), it’s also the beginning of… National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

Tomorrow is… National Chocolate Souffle Day and National Floral Design Day!

Wednesday is the beginning of March, which celebrates, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Flour Month, and National Sauce Month! Additionally, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks of March (1st-14th or 5th-18th (2023) or whenever it’s convenient). [NOTE: Lent began on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, and will run throughout March, until Thursday, April 6th (for 2023).]

March 1st is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, and World Compliment Day!

March 2nd is… National Banana Cream Pie Day, National Old Stuff Day, and National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) [NOTE: If it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it moves to the closest school day.]

March 3rd is… National Anthem Day, National Cold Cuts Day, National I Want You to Be Happy Day, National Mulled Wine Day, and Soup It Forward Day! Plus, as the first Friday in March (for 2023), it’s also National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day!

March 4th is… National Grammar Day, National Pound Cake Day, and National Sons Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month (for 2023), it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

March 5th is… National Cheese Doodle Day! Plus, as the start of the first full week of March, it’s also the start of… Read an E-Book Week and Words Matter Week!


…9 down and 43 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Homemade

Thank God Its Monday and #HappyMonday to everyone! I 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!




Next Monday celebrates National Retro Day! Retro describes something new that’s imitative of past, classic fashion styles or designs. Nowadays, retro has expanded to describe many other classic things from our past – such as music, movies, TV shows, and even foods.

Additionally, next Wednesday is also the beginning of March, which celebrates National Craft Month! A craft is basically an activity that involves making things skillfully, with your hands. Common retro crafts include macrame, weaving, sewing, knitting and crocheting.

These days, other popular crafts include making beer/wine, jam, soap, pottery, jewelry, candles, aroma oils, etc. Sugaring, which is the process of gathering maple sap and making it into a sugar and/or syrup [NOT the hair-removal process by the same name], is considered a craft, as well.

Unofficially, March Is Maple Syrup Season In Michigan; which is also the title of a timeless, informative article about the traditional (retro) method of sugaring; written by Russell Kidd (March 14, 2013), available at Michigan State University’s Extension’s website.

Making maple syrup is a really big event in Michigan! On the weekends, mid-March to late-April, in different regions around Michigan, you’ll find an array of maple syrup festivals, celebrating the age-old craft of sugaring.

The ideal conditions required for maple sap to flow well are here, as night temperatures hover around the freezing mark and daytime temps warm up, into the 40’s range. The sugaring season normally lasts about four to six weeks, depending on the weather, climate change, and location.

Unfortunately, global warming is shortening the sugaring season. The effect of climate change on the maple syrup season and its average production shows a slight closing of the normal “window of opportunity”, as the season’s start is beginning to shift from March to mid-February…

Once the weather gets too warm and the trees start to bud, the sap is no-longer good for sugaring and the season is done. Around this time of year, since four years ago, I love re-sharing a really great story/video from my local morning news show.

Backyard Maple Syrup, With Jill-of-all-Trades, by Jill Washburn (March 26, 2019), available at, is an impressive segment about how to collect maple tree sap and a simple way to cook down a small batch (about 2 gallons), for a day or so in a slow cooker, until it renders a sweet, thick syrup.

When the mini sugaring process is done, the two gallons of sap yields about a half-cup of syrup, but there’s such a great feeling of accomplishment in being able to say, “I made it, myself!” [FYI: December 17th is the OFFICIAL National Maple Syrup Day.]

I’ve learned that maples with a 25-inch (or more) diameter can handle up to three taps but no trees should ever have more than that. Those with a 10-to-20-inch diameter shouldn’t have more than one tap. At 20-25 inches (diameter), they can sustain up to two taps. In an average season, each tap can produce about 10 gallons of sap, which renders about one quart of syrup.

Here’s a re-share of Mom’s homemade, copycat version of “Syrup, Like Pancake House”, made from pantry shelf products; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1977, p. 32).


Between inflation and supply shortages, people are resorting more to making their own groceries and personal care products. Given our current trend, I think many of us are going to learn more about old-fashioned homesteading skills.

Mom was a trailblazer, with her “copycat cookery concept”. But she also wrote about how to stretch food, reinvent leftovers, and make many grocery products at home! If it saved money on her family’s grocery budget, she had to share it with others. Critics thought her craft (copycat cookery) was a passing fad that wouldn’t last. They were so wrong!

Not only did it last but it grew by leaps and bounds since its inception in the 1970s. Mom carved out a creative new niche in the food industry. People wanted to make their own fast food, junk food and grocery products at home. The concept was so catching that there were copycats copying the ORIGINAL copycat, even plagiarizing her.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 298-299). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].


WE WERE RECEIVING ABOUT 1000 letters a day from the radio shows that I took part in and the newspaper stories that I was more-or-less an acting consultant on subjects related to ‘fast food’. In the spring of 1981, our old friend, Carol Haddix, ran a story about our new book of ‘Homemade Groceries’ in the Chicago Tribune, where she had just been assigned the food department.

The Donahue Show people called once more and requested our appearance. We had just done a PM Magazine show with Detroit and had declined an invitation to appear in New York on Good Morning America, as well as declining an opportunity to have People Magazine interview us – and I still wonder why in the world I said I would do the Donahue show!

I think it was because I had just tangled with Grit, the weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania, over giving credit to the Food editor’s teenage daughter for having developed a fish batter like Arthur Treacher’s, using [my] club soda and pancake mix [recipe] – and received an apology on the back page of one of their issues, placing the item between an ad for corn and callous remover and waste cinchers.

I was also tangling with Jove Publications, who were pressing hard to sell their ‘Junk Food Cookbook’, using my recipes, word-for-word, with credit going to somebody else. I wanted to establish the fact that I was very much in business and willing to protect my copyrighted property with the same enthusiasm and sincerity as the major food companies had exhibited in protecting theirs from my imitations. (And believe me, we’ve heard from all the big ones!)

So, on July 6, Paul and I flew to Chicago, staying at the Hyatt O’Hare, and did the Donahue show live – for an entire hour – on July 7, flying back that same afternoon. The next day, 15,000 letters waited for us at the St. Clair post office.

And every day for 4 months, we picked up thousands of letters – having received by Christmas, well over 1 million letters, requesting information on how to acquire our books, which were still available only by mail from our address. We were bogged down with an unexpected response. It was an experience of mixed blessings!

I’ve often mentioned that my favorite, of Mom’s self-published cookbooks, is The Secrets Of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979). When I was a young mom, struggling to make ends meet, money was tight, and the pantry was almost bare. Mom’s ‘Homemade Groceries’ cookbook was always my go-to source – AND still is.

It teaches how to make a lot of popular grocery products at home; as well as, how to stretch or extend other products, saving a lot of money on the monthly grocery expenses! The ‘high demand’,overhead costs’ and ‘expected profits’ that are added to the prices of ‘convenience’ foods are what kill us at the grocery stores!

The lack of real nutrition that’s missing from these preservative-loaded, manufactured foods are not benefiting our health, either. They’re full of unnatural, shelf-life stabilizers, none of which are found in homemade groceries, where YOU control the ingredients!

Homemade Groceries’ includes easy principles for canning and freezing food, as well as making your own mixes, sauces and seasonings at a great financial savings compared to buying them – especially now! The retro homesteading concept has spawned new interests in “homemade”.

What happened to us, as a society? We became a too-busy-with-other-things, instant-gratification-and-convenience-overloaded culture! About half a century ago, we evolved into times when both parents, in a family unit, had to work to make ends meet, while their children were “raised” in the public schools’ Latchkey program.

The value of time changed dramatically, especially for working homemakers. Self-sufficiency and homesteading became a dying skill among many of the newer generations, who opted to spend their time differently, in exchange for conveniences – even to the extent of wanting more conveniences.

Nowadays, too many families are struggling to survive week-to-week and month-to-month, so cost-saving homesteading skills (re-termed as DIY) are making a renewed comeback. Besides, sometimes, when it comes to food, homemade is just better made, especially if you have to follow a special diet, as you control the ingredients in the product you covet.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ – Plato


Vegetable gardening time is approaching fast. Many growers are starting their seeds indoors, right now, and prepping their garden beds for when it’s time to transplant those seedlings outside – usually after about 8 weeks. I remember when I was young, helping Mom in our little garden and orchard, in Algonac; collecting tomatoes, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb for her homemade sauces and desserts.

Besides the nutritional and money-saving values of growing your own food, it’s also a healthy activity! You can burn a lot of calories, while tending a garden. There are so many aspects involved – planting, weeding, mulching, composting, watering, harvesting. I’m really looking forward to getting back into my garden soon.


In honor of TODAY, being National Muffin Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “White Mountain Muffins” (aka: Bongo Biscuits); as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).


Here’s also a re-share of Mom’s homemade “Self-Rising Flour” recipe, included on one of her “Free Recipe Samples & Ordering Information” sheets.

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


February celebrates, among other things… National Fasting February, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, and National Snack Food Month!

Today is also… National Cherry Pie Day and National Love Your Pet Day!

Tomorrow is… National Grain-Free Day and National Sticky Bun Day! Plus, as the day before Ash Wednesday (2023), it’s also… Mardi Gras (aka: Fat Tuesday), Paczki Day, Fastnacht Day, and iHop’s National Pancake Day!

February 22nd is… National California Day, National Cook a Sweet Potato Day, and National Margarita Day!

February 23rd is… National Banana Bread Day and National Dog Biscuit Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in February (for 2023), it’s also… National Chili Day! And, as the last Thursday in February (2023), it’s also… National Toast Day!

Friday, February 24th is… National Tortilla Chip Day! BONUS: In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipes for “Tortilla Shells” and “[Homemade] Masa Harina”, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 68 & 70). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].



Saturday, February  25th is… National Chocolate Covered Nut Day and National Clam Chowder Day!

Sunday, February  26th is… National Pistachio Day!


…8 down and 44 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Month Of Love

Happy Valentine’s Eve! Plus, Thank God Its Monday and #HappyMonday to one and all! As usual, I always look forward to every Monday, as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



February (aka: the “Month of Love”) is also, among other things, National Weddings Month… Generally, most weddings happen on the weekends, especially May through October. Monday holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day, which create “long weekends”, create extremely appealing choices for weddings and honeymoons.

Surprisingly, or not, Valentine’s Day (which is tomorrow) is one of the most popular holidays of the year, on which people plan to have winter weddings or engagement proposals, while Christmas Day is actually one of the least popular holidays – for weddings more so than proposals.


I found an awesome article by (updated 12/15/21), called 9 Things To Know About Getting Married On Valentine’s Day, which covers some really interesting and sensible pros and cons to consider, for anyone thinking about having such a wedding, in the middle of winter.

When considering the budget… Did you know that, generally, about 66% (or two-thirds) of the cost of a traditional-style wedding is wrapped up in the reception – including, for the most part, the venue, catering, and band? There’s also a really fascinating slide show at, about ‘Who Pays For What For The Wedding?’, (Updated: April 15,2021).

This week’s blog post is dedicated to my parents, whose marriage withstood the test of time, as well as many other tests. My parents faced a lot of struggles, like any other couple – between in-laws, raising five kids and various pets, trying to make ends meet during a recession (even when they both worked), and running their own business, from home.

They were truly committed to each other, having been together for 58 years, before Dad passed away in 2014. During the first 20 years of their marriage, Dad worked in various positions at a sign company. In 1976, he retired early to help Mom with her recipes business.

The business had grown a lot in just its first couple of years. In fact, it was already taking all of Dad’s attention, when he wasn’t working at the sign company. During the last 38 of their years together, Mom and Dad lived and worked, side-by-side, 24/7/52. Here’s Mom’s own story about their marriage and compatibility…



As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 62-64)


THE MOST OFTEN ASKED question about Paul and I working together in this family enterprise is how we managed to remain so compatible after 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, since August 1976. The basis, I believe, for every successful relationship is always between two good forgivers. Sure, we get in each other’s way once in a while. But we never stay mad for long.

When we were in Ventura, California, in August [1989], we visited an old Spanish mission that was founded over 200 years ago. In the church edifice was a one-word sign on the wall near the rear of the room. It’s so greatly impressed me that I thought about it for days. The word was FORGIVE. A powerful message. The essence of The Master’s own message during his earthly ministry nearly 2000 years ago.

FORGIVE – who, why, what for? In forgiving, we free ourselves from the imprisoning thoughts of resentment, of retaliation [and] anger. In forgiving, we let go of bitterness, contempt, even hatred. We are free then to love, to heal, to be healed altogether.

One word – FORGIVE – but 1000 messages. A dictionary says of this word, ‘to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; pardon (an offense or offender).’ Forgive! It’s final, complete. There are no stipulations, no exceptions in the activity of forgiveness – no qualifications for anyone to meet.

Whatever the offense, we let go of the urge to see the offender punished when we forgive. It’s a cleansing action. It wipes clean the slate of past grievances. The more we remember past offenses, the less likely we are to exercise our freedom to pardon.

Sometimes, forgiving ourselves is even harder than forgiving someone else. Forgiving requires loving. And loving is spiritual activity. Spiritual activity is prayer. So, when we are praying, we are also forgiving and, likewise, being forgiven.

Our Heavenly Father forgives us so easily, so completely. He never withholds His forgiveness from His children, His beloved offspring, which include each one of us – you, me, everyone!

So, in examining the meaning of the word forgive, I can erase the pain of past offenses. I can put the word FORGIVE into action – put it to work in my relationship with others. It’s remembering to do so that takes a little work and a lot of practice, but before you know what, it becomes a habit!

The last thing every night and the first thing every morning, I whisper a ‘thank you’ to God for Paul. The last thing every night Paul’s arms around me as we go off to sleep, and I find his arms around me again when awakening in the morning and then, too, my first conscious thought is ‘Thank you, Father, for this good man’s love, for the beautiful partnership we have in our marriage, with our family, in our work… Thank you.’

It’s something I do automatically every night and every morning. Even the laws of physics and physiology can never reveal to us the indisputable way in which the Creator constantly participates in the life of each of us. It points out to me over and over again that the launching pad for successful change around us is actually the change within us!

To be in marvelous accord on a number of important issues in a conversation with someone you love, who loves you back, is grand. But… lasting marriages just do not ‘happen’. They have to be shaped and molded out of the good that one or both who are concerned will see and act upon opportunities to inspire improvements.

Most marriages begin with the expectation that they will last forever. In marriages that do last, forever is not only a hope, but an ongoing philosophy. The partners simply do not think seriously about divorce as a viable option. This attitude that a marriage will last, must last, tempers their approach to conflicts and imperfections.

These people are committed to the marriage, as well as to each other. They know that love needs time to take root and then expand; that in an enduring marriage, time is on your side. Time allows you the security of taking each other for granted, in the best sense of the term, without having constantly to impress or to prove yourself.

I don’t know how or when the transformation took place [for Paul and me], but it did – gradually, beautifully. I am not sure, but perhaps the Divine hand of heaven moved the family to become more harmonious. We never really talked about specific changes in attitude or behavior…

Most folks don’t like to be ‘preached’ to. To be ‘ministered’ to is different, however. When we are ‘ministered’ to, we are cared for, looked after and handled with quiet compassion – but never with pity. We can inspire someone to change but we dare not insist upon it!

When we see those we care about, somehow in conflict, and we know we can’t interfere; we can, instead, give out strong, moral support in silent prayer. Sometimes we focus so much on what is WRONG, that we failed to see how to correct it. We worry too much on WHO is right, rather than on WHAT is right!

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… 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!

Another great read, about marriage and compatibility, is What Makes a Marriage Last, by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue (HarperOne; May 5, 2020), in which they interview several of their friends, who are couples, about what factors made their marriages last. Here’s another one of Mom’s own stories, about marital bliss…

All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER! – Gloria Pitzer

Additionally, as explains in their article, ‘The Surprising Benefits To Being Married’: “Marriage has so many awesome perks.” In fact, they list 11 major advantages that cover most everything, for married couples, from better finances to more happiness to improved health. I’ve also heard of a lot of these benefits from multiple news sources. Thus, I suppose, they must have some merit.



It won’t be long now, when Michigan’s daytime temperatures hover steadily in the slightly “warm” 40s, while the nights remain in the freezing zone. That’s when Michigan’s Maple Syrup Season begins – usually in March, sometimes as early as late-February and as late as early-April, depending on the weather and location in the state.

Michigan Maple Weekend is celebrated over three different weekends – in different regions of the state. For more about the maple syrup season in Michigan, also check out Baihley Gentry’s great article (March 23, 2015) at, called It’s Maple Syrup Month in Michigan.

There’s so much to love about Michigan!


In honor of TODAY, being National Cheddar Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Company Cheese Ball”; 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)].



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


February celebrates, among other things… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, 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, and National Snack Food Month!

The second week of February (12th-18th for 2023) observes… National Kraut and Frankfurter Week, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week, National Secondhand Wardrobe Week, Great American Pizza Bake, National Jell-O Week, and National Take Your Family to School Week.

Today is also… National Tortellini Day! Plus, as the second Monday in February (2023), it’s also… National Clean Out Your Computer Day! Additionally, for 2023, it’s also… National Football Hangover Day (which is always the day after “The Big Game”).

Tomorrow is also… National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day and National Ferris Wheel Day!

Wednesday, February 15th is… National Gumdrop Day and National Wisconsin Day!

Thursday, February 16th is… National Almond Day and National Do A Grouch a Favor Day!

February 17th is… National Random Acts of Kindness Day (it’s also National Random Acts of Kindness Week) and National Cabbage Day! Plus, as the third Friday in February (for 2023), it’s also… National Caregivers Day and National No One Eats Alone Day!

Saturday, February 18th is… National Battery Day, National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, and National Drink Wine Day!

Sunday, February 19th is… National Chocolate Mint Day! Plus, as the third week in February (for 2023), it’s also the start of Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week.


…7 down and 45 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Pure Michigan Love

Happy February! Plus, Thank God Its Monday and a very #HappyMonday to everyone! As always, 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 Valentine’s Day right in the heart of February, this month is generally known as the month of love. But it’s not all about romance for lovers and sweethearts. It’s also about self-love, as well as loving others, nurturing relationships with family and friends.

Obviously, love is something that should be practiced, shared, and celebrated every day, all year long, whether it’s for someone special, or even a place or thing. That being said, let me tell you about my love for my home state (and my parents’ home state) of Michigan.


January 18th, National Michigan Day, was only a few weeks ago. That week, I wrote about Hunting For Happiness. I often write about the happiness I find in the beauty of Michigan. So this may be a little late for the official National Michigan Day celebration, however, as I wrote last week: “Any day can be celebrated on any day…”!

There are a lot of things that make Michigan special – from its unique history (like being the home of “Motown” and the automobile industry) to its famous foods and restaurants (many of which Mom imitated, as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM) to its melting-pot of people and traditions to its location and beautiful terrain (nestled within 4 of the 5 Great Lakes).

Notably, Michigan holds the record for the longest fresh water shoreline in the United States, coming in at 3,288 miles. Michigan is also one of only 12 states, through which the northern hemisphere’s 45th parallel runs. The significance of this parallel is that it’ marks the half-way point between the equator and the north pole.

Here, in Michigan, there are many Americana-style, roadside attractions – aka: selfie opportunities – along the various roads that sort of (within a few miles) follow the 45th parallel, between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It’s about 135 miles across, as the crow flies; but a little longer on land, as it’s not a straight shot, due to the terrain.

Over 50 years ago, a team from Michigan State University created what came to be known as the “Polar-Equator Trail”, to follow the 45th parallel as closely as possible across the “Tip of the Mitt”. Somewhere, there exists a guide/brochure that marks the trail as it was way back then. Sadly, it doesn’t exist, as such, any more.

Years ago, inspired by’s article, A Fine and Pointless Trail (April 8, 2010), my husband and I (as we, both, love to wander around our home state) drove part of the supposed “Polar-Equator Trail”. We started near Alpena and wandered west. It was a beautiful drive through farm country and state forest area.

Along the way, in Atlanta (aka: Elk Capital of Michigan), the town’s main intersection is actually right on the 45th parallel. Near Torch Lake, north of Kewadin, on Old US-31, is a beautiful and unique structure, called a “cairn”, which is basically a monument.

This one, built in 1938, is dedicated to Hugh J Gray (aka: “The Dean of Michigan Tourist Activity”). However, it represents all of Michigan, as it’s built of rocks from every county in the state. I found a couple of other really great articles about driving along the 45th Parallel, through Michigan.

The first one, I recommend reading, is at; called In Michigan, Drive a Crooked Line to Follow the 45th Parallel (By: Pioneer Press, Published: June 27, 2009; Updated: November 13, 2015). The other is at, about the origin of the Polar-Equator Trail.

Michigan is known by many nicknames, such as the “Great Lakes State” (because wherever you are in the state, you’re within about 85 miles of a Great Lake), the “Wolverine State” (which is the state animal but it’s now extinct, here), and the “Mitten State” (because of the distinct shape of the state’s lower peninsula) – which is why Michiganders commonly use their right hands, as a map of the lower peninsula.

Michigan’s Latin motto, “si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circum spice”, means “if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you”. It’s unique shape and pure, natural beauty (from shore to shining shore) is probably for what Michigan is best known.

Furthermore, Michiganders have their own unique words and terms. For example, we say “pop” instead of “soda”. Also, residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (aka: the U.P.) are called “Yoopers” by residents of its Lower Peninsula, who are called “Trolls” by the U.P. residents because, in a matter of speaking, they live “under the bridge”; referring to south of the Mackinac Bridge (aka: the “Mighty Mac”).

Another great article, I recommend reading, is about how Michiganders talk – called Things Only Michiganders Say, by Hannah Ball (Tri-County Times, Fenton, MI; Updated: July 3, 2018). Some of what she lists, I’m guilty of saying often; and a few, I never realized, were uniquely Michigan slang.

Michigan is the birthplace of many iconic brands, including (but not limited to) Kellogg’s, Ford Motor Company, Carhartt, Whirlpool, Gerber Baby Food, Vlasic Pickles, Koegel Meat Company, Sanders Candy, Jiffy Mix, Tom’s Mom’s Cookies, Better Made Snack Foods, Vernor’s and Faygo Beverages.

15 Famous Michigan Foods That Are Truly Delicious, by the staff at (Sept. 25, 2020), really nailed a great list of some of my own family’s favorites, many of which Mom imitated, as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. She loved to imitate famous foods from famous Michigan places, as well as nation-wide favorites. Many are on this “list”.

One of Mom’s favorites, mentioned in their “list”, is Mackinac Island Fudge; which is also Michigan’s unofficial state dessert, according to a 2014 article at Additionally cited was [Detroit’s] famous Coney Island Hot Dog, the sauce of which Mom also imitated and is likewise listed in another great article, at, called Signature Cheap Eats From Every State, by Scott Nyerges (Aug. 23, 2022).

Things To Do In Upper Peninsula, from, offers over 800 suggestions. They also suggest over 60 Best Upper Peninsula Hidden Gem Attractions to visit. 16 Places In Michigan You Must See, by Serena Maria Daniels (March 9, 2021) at also includes Mackinac Island.

In fact, just last summer, Michigan’s Mackinac Island [Was] Named ‘Best Island In The Continental US (; 07/13/2022). Michiganders have always known that Mackinac is quite a treasure, nestled in the north end of Lake Huron. Now the whole country is in on our secret!


In honor of February, being National Snack Food Month


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 264)… [a revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


…SNACKS HAVE GIVEN an unlikely edge to a suffering food industry that was never anticipated as being possibly successful. Potato chips, pretzels, dips and appetizers have been more than well-received by a public that the industry was once certain had tried everything they could have been offered and will probably not buy another new idea! How wrong!

Whenever a new snack item or beverage has been introduced to the public, it has been received with enthusiasm, until proven unworthy of patronage, because we have become an on-the-run generation of picky eaters. Some just don’t want to get involved any longer with a big meal experience.

Some don’t want to take the time to make the foods and then serve them and, finally, clean up afterward. We look for snacks and beverages to serve our guests and to enjoy individually in our most private and leisurely moments.

From the offerings of the food industry have come some relatively good ideas, such as the baked potato chip product. Pretzels have gone from the 200-year-old tradition of hard and dry-baked to a soft, bread-like product, liberally sprinkled in salt and topped with prepared mustard and, as a fast food enterprise, has been one of the leading money-makers in the industry.


Also, in honor of February, being National Snack Food Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Cheese Crackers; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 281). [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…


February celebrates, among other things… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, 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, and National Weddings Month!

The second week of January celebrates, among other things… Burn Awareness Week (which is the 5th-11th, for 2023).

Today is also… National Frozen Yogurt Day and National Chopsticks Day! Plus, as the start of the first full WORK WEEK of February (6th-10th for 2023), today also kicks off Pride in Food Service Week.

Tomorrow is… National Fettuccine Alfredo Day and National Send a Card to a Friend Day! Plus, today begins National Marriage Week, which is always February 7th-14th.

Wednesday, February 8th is… National Boy Scouts Day [plus, it’s National Boy Scout Anniversary Week (always February 5th-11th)], National Kite Flying Day, and National Iowa Day!

February 9th is… National Cut the Cord Day, National Bagel and Lox Day, and National Pizza Day!

Friday, February 10th is… National Cream Cheese Brownie Day and National Umbrella Day!

February 11th is… National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, National Inventors’ Day, National Make a Friend Day, and National Peppermint Patty Day! Plus, as the second Saturday in February (2023), it’s also… Global Movie Day!

Sunday, February 12th is… National Plum Pudding Day! Plus, for 2023, it’s also… National Pork Rind Day, which is always the same day as Super Bowl Sunday (now the second Sunday in February)!


…6 down and 46 to go!