Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Fair Food Fever

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!


There’s always something special to see and do in Michigan! Summers (and fall) are especially jam-packed with carnivals, fairs, and festivals of all kinds. For me and many others, the food is always the best part of these special events. In fact, food truck fairs and rallies have even become quite popular – especially in the past few years, it seems.

Other fun summer events include air shows and hot air balloon rides, yard sale trails, farmers’ markets, mud bogs, classic car shows and cruises, outdoor concerts, fireworks displays, and so on. But the best events are all the carnivals, fairs, and festivals found throughout this beautiful state. Michigan is rich in county fairs – as many as 86, in all.

Marshall, Michigan’s Calhoun County Fair, is the oldest, continuous running, county fair in the state – except for 2020, of course. The Calhoun County Fair was first held in 1839. Marshall is also famous for being home to the world famous [Win] Schuler’s restaurant, since 1909. featured a wonderfully informative article, along with 29 recipes, to ‘…Recreate the Best State Fair Food at Home…’ that was written by Megan Porta (August 25, 2021). She listed “10 of the most popular state fair foods…”, as follows:

    1. Deep Fried Oreos
    2. Fried Chicken in a Waffle Cone
    3. Deep Fried Snickers
    4. Pizza Cone
    5. Cannoli Dessert Nachos
    6. Deep Fried PB&J
    7. Corn in a Cup
    8. Turkey Legs
    9. Deep Fried Cheese Curds
    10. Cookie Fries

I’ve seen many of these favorite fair foods featured on Noah Cappe’s hit show, Carnival Eats. I love that show – it always makes me want to go to a carnival or fair. I call it “Fair Food Fever”. Incidentally, Megan’s article also offers 29 recipes for imitating fair foods at home!

Here’s a bonus for you… Mom’s copycat recipe for “Batter-Fried Cheese Balls” like Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH), as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 134). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].



Carnival and fair foods are often equated with junk foods. Critics of the junk food and fast food industries thought that Mom’s type of copycat cookery was a fad that wouldn’t last long. But it was only the beginning of a revolutionary movement in the food industry – one that Mom called “Taking The Junk Out Of Junk Food” and “Eating Out At Home”!

In contrast to those critics who condemned “junk food” as being bad for us, Mom’s definition for real “junk food” was simply “poorly prepared food”. People know what they want and they like the so-called “junk” food that’s purportedly so bad for them.

However, along with the “everything in moderation” theory, Mom found a way to – forgive the pun – “have her cake and eat it too”, by “taking the junk out of junk food” through making copycat versions at home, where she controlled the ingredients.


As seen in…

The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 1)


WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT JUNK FOODS? Food experts have been referring to many snack foods and fast foods as ‘junk’, in an attempt to disqualify their value when compared to foods containing high amounts of protein and vitamins.

No one has confirmed a definition of the expression ‘junk food’, yet the public has been conditioned to accept any snack food, sweets, candies, confections, baked goods, and many beverages as junk food when, in reality, these are not without nutritional value.

All by itself, a raw carrot could hardly support the human system substantially, neither could a cup of yogurt. Yet, a candy bar or a small piece of cake or a hamburger on a bun is considered by some of the food industry’s most prestigious experts as having little or no food value in our daily diets.

The junk food paradox has caused school systems and other public institutions to ban the sale of any foods we would consider snack items, making it illegal…in the state of Michigan and some others if such items are sold to children through vending machines on the premises.

This is infuriating to the good cooks and the more intelligent food chemists among us who know that junk food is actually any food which is poorly prepared. All food has nutritional value. Some just seem to have more than others but, in the final analysis, it is purely personal taste which will determine the popularity of one food over another.

The fast food industry has been the most successful of any phase in the business. Their success depending largely on the fact that their recipes are all closely guarded secrets! I say, ‘Baloney!’


In many of Mom’s self-published cookbooks and summertime newsletters, she imitated some fair food favorites, herself – “Carnival Cotton Candy”, “…Circus Elephant Ears”, “Candy Apples” like Cedar Point (OH), and “Fudge” like Disneyland (CA) just to name a few.

Going to Cedar Point, in Sandusky (OH), was always one of the highlights of my summers, when I was young. It was full of unforgettable family fun; going on all the rides and eating ridiculous amounts of junk food. Sometimes we’d also spend the night at The Breakers hotel, next door, right on the beach of Lake Erie. features ‘Beyond the Trivia – State Fairs’, by Dick Preston (July 29, 2021); another great informative article about state fairs, as well as county fairs. Did you know there are only two states in the U.S. that don’t sponsor a state fair? Some states have more than one. Some states also have many county fairs and others have none at all.

Michigan has two State Fairs (one in the “mitten” and one in the U.P.). Detroit’s started in 1849 and ran until 2009, when the governor, at that time, halted funding for it, due to state budgeting issues. The very first lower Michigan State Fair was originally held in Ann Arbor in 1839 but it was so poorly attended that it wasn’t continued.

However, a decade later, it was successfully revived in Detroit. The official State Fair Grounds were established in 1905, on Woodward Avenue. By 1966, attendance of the Michigan State Fair peaked at about 1.2 million attendees. Unfortunately, by 2009, the fair’s attendance had declined more than 80%, to about 217,000 visitors.

Nevertheless, in 2012, the State Fair was revived, once again, as well as relocated, again; moving from Detroit to Novi’s Suburban Collection Showplace, where it’s been ever since. The U.P. State Fair has been held in Escanaba since 1928. It’s the oldest state fair in Michigan.


As seen in…

The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes, Revised (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1978, 4th Printing; p. 1)


BEING A HOPELESSLY INCURABLE junk food addict has its drawbacks in a world that today cries out for a better balanced diet.

When famous recording star, Larry Groce, first coined the title ‘Junk Food Junkie’ in his best-selling album of the same name, those of us who had been hooked on hamburgers, Hostess Twinkies, haute cuisine of the other snack foods, could breathe a sigh of relief – somebody understood. But nobody seemed to be doing anything about it…

Of course, the cookbooks published weren’t doing anything to help us cure the chronic case of junk food addiction because they were feeling the pressures of the need for nutritional education, cancelling out the credibility of snack foods as having any value at all.

Well, my friends, only half of the story was being told and so I began the publication of recipes for fast food imitations you could prepare at home and enjoy as if you were eating out.

It seems that there’s always something to celebrate, every day of every year – even if it’s not an “official” holiday. And almost everything that is celebrated or observed, usually involves food. Many of us find happiness in food. Food is comforting. Food is rejoicing. Food is fun. Food is love!

Nothing attracts and gathers people together more than food. These days, almost every holiday, special event, and the like are, in some fashion, marketed in the food industry!

‘Any reason to celebrate, is a reason to celebrate with food! – Laura Emerich (Feb. 24, 2020)

That should be somebody’s slogan – and remember, I coined it, here, first!

I remember when my family and I first moved to St. Clair from Algonac – one of our new neighbors came over with food for our dinner that evening so Mom didn’t have to worry about doing that amidst all the unpacking. That made such a wonderful, lasting impression on us.


Every summer that I can remember, while growing up in Michigan, there was usually a couple of family trips and some special one-day-events like a festival, the beach, a park picnic, and backyard barbeque – food was always in the mix. Our summers were filled with a lot of fun memories and fun food.

This Saturday we’ll be halfway through 2023, as July begins. One of July’s fabulous month-long celebrations is National Picnic Month, about which I recently wrote in my blog post, Summer Road Trips And Picnics. Why not imitate your favorite, fun, fair foods to take on your next road trip picnic?


In honor of June, being National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, and TODAY, being National Coconut Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for a delicious dessert, called “Dayton Summer Fruit Pudding”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 53).




The month of June observes, among other things… National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Today is also… National Beautician’s Day and National Chocolate Pudding Day!

Tomorrow is… National Onion Day, National Ice Cream Cake Day, and National Orange Blossom Day!

Wednesday, June 28th, is… National Paul Bunyan Day and National Alaska Day!

June 29th, is… National Camera Day, National Waffle Iron Day, and National Almond Buttercrunch Day! Plus, as the last Thursday in June (for 2023), it’s also National Bomb Pop Day!

Friday, June 30th, is… National Meteor Watch Day and National Social Media Day!

Saturday begins the month of July, which observes, among other things… World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, and National Peach Month!

July 1st is also… National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day, National Gingersnap Day, National Postal Worker Day and National U.S. Postage Stamp Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in July (for 2023), it’s Hop-a-Park Day and National Play Outside Day (which is the 1st Saturday of EVERY month)!

Sunday, July 2nd, is… National Anisette Day!


…26 down and 26 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – My Dad, My Hero

Once again, thank God it’s 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!


Sunday was, among other things, National Go Fishing Day AND Father’s Day, as well as the beginning of Universal Father’s Week. Yep – that’s right. Sorry Mom… Not only do pickles get a whole week of celebration but so do fathers.

Dad was the king of our castle – Mom said so. He was strict but also loving and forgiving. Family was extremely important to him, as were education, honesty, and working hard. When he wasn’t working hard, Dad loved contributing to our Algonac community, through the Lion’s Club and little league coaching. He also loved bowling, fishing, and playing golf.

Dad retired early (from Willie Sign Co.) to help Mom full time, managing the business end of the family enterprise. Dad opened the mail, filled the orders, delt with the printer, did the banking, paid the bills, kept all the records and so on. He was the organizer. Mom was the “detective”, developer, writer, illustrator, and promoter.


Going through Mom’s and Dad’s old photo albums always brings up so many wonderful memories of our family and summertime vacations. Mom, almost always, was the one to photograph all of our special family moments. Although Dad would take some pictures every now and then, so Mom could be in some shots as well.

On our family vacations, whenever we were lost, Dad didn’t like to stop and ask for directions (that was decades before GPS and Google Maps). Instead, he told us, he was “taking the scenic route”. We often kidded him about his “scenic routes” because Dad loved to joke around. He was the king, knight, and court jester – all rolled into one.

In June 2002, Mom and Dad reprinted and self-published Mom’s popular “short-cut-cooking” cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes. Early in 2014, they were still self-publishing, promoting (through radio shows and lectures), and selling that book, along with seven different, 2-page, recipe “bulletins”.

Each bulletin was comprised of related recipes for imitating various popular “brands” like Sanders, Bill Knapp, Bob Evans and others. There was also a 4-page “folder”, called Soup and Other Comfort Foods. They lived and worked together, 24/7 – day-in and day-out, every day, until Dad passed away unexpectedly, in October 2014.

Father’s Day has become one of those days when I miss him most! Like any daughter might feel about her dad, my dad was and will always be my hero. Dad was the cornerstone of our family, the “super” glue that held us all together. After he was gone, the family started to crumble and fall apart.

Mom tried to hold us all together, the way her mother tried, with her and her younger sisters, after my grandpa passed away, but to no avail. Unfortunately, in both cases, what little family bonds were left, basically became severed after the family matriarchs were each gone, as well.

Since this is Universal Father’s Week, I want to share with you an old (circa 1974), satirical article that Mom wrote about Dad called ‘Father’s Day (or) the King and I’, which I found in her one of her first year newsletter issues, from June 1974.


There weren’t many things that stumped my mom more than understanding my dad’s love of football. She eventually started watching football with him – just so that, when he fell asleep in his recliner, she could grab the remote and change the channel to an episode of “Murder She Wrote” or a Hallmark movie. Most times, Dad woke up before she could do it.

I mentioned earlier that Sunday was also National Go Fishing Day, because going fishing with my dad is top among my most favorite childhood memories of me and him. Speaking of which, Mom drew a cartoon (below), in 1971, based on my love for fishing and my big brothers’ irritation of it.


When Dad passed away, he had apparently been feeling poorly, but never said anything to anyone because he just wasn’t one to complain about his own ailments. Also, at the time, he was more worried about Mom’s seizures, as she had a couple grand mal ones that required hospitalizations and many follow-up doctor visits.

Dad was always more focused on Mom’s health, because of her seizures, and she was always more focused on Dad’s health, because of his diabetes. That’s just a small example of why there are so many different national “health awareness” days, weeks, and month-long observations now – the key word is AWARENESS!

Correspondingly, I want to mention that last month, May, was also National Stroke Awareness Month, National Mental Health Awareness Month, and National Older Americans Month but, again, these should be observed every month.

Amid everything going on mid-way into 2014, with Mom’s hospitalizations, she and Dad had to completely retire their recipe business; which relieved Dad, immensely, since he was six years older than Mom and had been wanting to fully retire for a while but wouldn’t until they could retire together. Mom just never felt ready, like Dad.

Completely retiring the whole business left Mom feeling kind of empty, like she had lost her child. No more stories to write… No more recipe investigations… No more radio shows… Even traveling had become too taxing. Then we found out that Dad was losing his sight. Neither of them could drive anymore but they still took care of each other.

For eight months, following Dad’s passing, my sister, Cheryl, and I took turns everyday, taking care of Mom – being her companion, watching her for seizures, helping her with the housework, taking her to her appointments and occasionally shopping. I always knew how much Mom did for Dad but I never fully realized, until then, all the things he did for her, too.

One morning, in the summer of 2015, we found Mom on her bedroom floor and had to call 9-1-1. The doctor at the hospital said she had suffered from another grand mal seizure AND a double-stroke, at some point during the early morning hours.

It was a very scary time for us. Mom was in the hospital for quite a while and even in the ICU for a brief time, followed by months of various therapies at a health care facility, as she had also acquired dementia from the double-stroke.

Afterward, Mom had to move into a “retirement place” that had 24-hour, on-site, nursing care and other special amenities for her, as she needed a lot more than what Cheryl and I could offer her, since we both had full-time jobs to work, as well.

Mom went through a lot of changes and losses from early 2014 until she passed away in January 2018. However, it was her undying faith that kept her going. She truly believed that she and Dad would be together again. “When the Lord sees fit to do so,” she would always say.


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St, Clair, MI; June 1997)


WHEN THE RECIPE CARDS became so popular that we were packaging them, sometimes in complete [$40] sets of the full 200 selections, I began to look at the possibilities of doing my own recipe books – less-expensive to the customer, surely, and less work for us considering all of the myriad choices one can have with 200 individual cards.

I assembled several single page books that I could mimeograph, remaining independent in the production of them, and came up with several workable ideas. It was very shortly thereafter, [from] a printer Paul was dealing with, at the company he worked for in the city, that we learned how to layout our own camera-ready copy and provide the recipes quite inexpensively. It was such a relief to be rid of the messy mimeograph machine. (p. 28)


IT WAS A BLESSING in disguise that Paul’s assignments at the company where he worked had given him the job of purchasing agent, for it certainly prepared him strongly for the responsibilities that would come our way in branching out into self-publishing our books.

Every department he worked in at Willey Sign Company gave him a basic foundation for being able to structure our business into a self-sufficient operation, from advertising to marketing and bookkeeping.

It was right after the ‘National Enquirer’ and ‘People’ magazine and ‘The Washington Post’ interviewed us and [printed] stories about our work, that he found himself spending every evening (after he got home from his job), every weekend, and his two-week vacation time, as well, working on our recipe business.

He knew he had to make a choice. He had to give up his 20-year job and the benefits and such in order to devote full-time to Secret RecipesTM. It was a decision we have never regretted.

With only $1000 in the bank and all of the bills that continued to come in day after day, we launched our ship of dreams and have never once had any regrets. Nor have we ever gone one day [as of this printing – June 1997] since that date, August 13, 1976, without an order! (p. 30)


I found out, while taking care of Mom, that Dad was just as much her hero as he was mine. Throughout her last 39 months without him, Mom never lost faith that they’d be together again, someday. She believed that it wasn’t for her to know when, why, or how – only that IT WILL BE!

‘There’s a powerful wisdom we don’t understand. It comes down to believing… To having faith.’ – Gloria Pitzer; as seen in… This Is Not A Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food For Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 60)


In honor of TODAY, being National Garfield The Cat Day, here are THREE of Mom’s copycat recipes – Chief Boy Hardley Italian Dinner Sauce Mix and Lasagna [like “Two Guys From Italy” (CA)], with [Quick] Ricotta Substitute; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 73 & 74 – respectively). [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 next Monday…


June observes, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Yesterday, as the third Sunday in June (for 2023), began… National Play Catch Week and Animal Rights Awareness Week!

Today is also… Juneteenth and National Martini Day! Plus, as the start of the third work week in June (for 2023), it’s also… National Boys & Girls Club Week! #BGCWeek

Tomorrow is… American Eagle Day, National Vanilla Milkshake Day, and National Ice Cream Soda Day!

Wednesday, June 21st, is… National Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day, National Daylight Appreciation Day, National Selfie Day, National Arizona Day, Summer [Solstice] Begins, and National Seashell Day (which is always on the first day of summer)!

June 22nd, is… National Chocolate Eclair Day and National Onion Rings Day!

June 23rd, is… National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, National Hydration Day, National Pink Day, and National Pecan Sandies Day! Plus, as the Friday after Father’s Day (for 2023), it’s also… Take Your Dog to Work Day!

June 24th, is… National Pralines Day! Plus, as the Saturday after the Summer Solstice (2023), it’s also… Summersgiving!

Sunday, June 25th, is… National Strawberry Parfait Day and National Catfish Day!


…25 down and 27 to go!



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Copycat Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 91).


2 cups Bisquick

4 packets Sweet & Low

2/3 cup skim milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sugar free strawberry preserves

20-oz sugar free frozen strawberries, slightly thawed

1.1-oz box sugar free strawberry Jell-O powder

2 envelopes D-Zerta Whipped topping, prepared per package instructions


In large mixing bowl, beat together [first five ingredients, as listed]. Spread evenly over bottom of a Pam sprayed, 9”-sq. pan. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan, on rack. Spread top with preserves. Top with prepared whipped topping. Chill before serving. Cut into 9 [3-inch] squares. Keep refrigerated. Serve within 3 days.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Marriage Made In Heaven

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Marriage Made In Heaven

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!



Today is National Loving Day! It’s another one of those celebrations that should be observed and expressed every day of the year, as if it were our last, because you never know when it will be. I miss being able to tell my parents how much I love them.

This Friday will be their 67th wedding anniversary. They first met in 1955, while working for the same company. They were together for 59 years (the last 38 years were literally 24/7), until Dad unexpectedly passed in October 2014. Even when they were mad at each other and fighting, they still practiced loving every day.

It’s said that “practice makes perfect” and “nobody is perfect”, thus (as a perfectionist-wanna-be), I think we should never stop trying to achieve it. Marriage is more than one day of ceremony and celebration. It takes strong dedication and steadfastness (from both parties) – and a lot of forgiveness – to generate a lifetime of rewards from marriage.

Marriage is truly a commitment, in which two compatible people promise each other “to be faithful… to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part”… as are the basic, standard, civil marriage vows commonly recited.

Dad retired early, in 1976, to help Mom full time, managing the business side of their family enterprise, so she could concentrate on the creative side of it. They spent almost every single day together, 24/7, for the rest of their lives! LOVE, compatibility, forgiveness and communication are probably the top four qualities found in any successful marriage.

Throughout the decades, Mom and Dad’s marriage was tested in more ways than one – money, children, family, their business, even a little fame – but it withstood all the trials and tribulations… and not until death did they part. I still miss them, both, so much; but I find peace, in the belief that their spirits are together for eternity!

Mom wrote a lot about hers and Dad’s lives together, in matrimonial bliss with five children; using a loving, satirical twist, like combining the TV shows, “The Brady Bunch” and “Married With Children”. By the way, Frank Sinatra, one of Mom and Dad’s favorite performers, sings the latter show’s theme song, “Love and Marriage”!

GOOD MARRIAGES ARE made in heaven, or so it may seem. But, if that’s the case, a lot of the details will have to be worked out, right here, on earth.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 11)


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 are around me as we go off to sleep, and I find his arms around me again when awakening in the morning…

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.

[As for me and Paul,] I don’t know how or when the transformation took place, 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.


National Loving Day is very special – in fact, so is every day we are given. Love who you love. Be who you are. These are part of our 1st amendment rights, to pursue happiness, and should never be denied to anyone. Check out, for the fascinating story of how today’s celebration came to be.


In honor of Wednesday, being National Strawberry Shortcake Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for Sugar Free Strawberry Shortcake (one of Dad’s favorite summertime desserts), as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Copycat Cookbook, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 91).


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


June observes, among other things… National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, and National Soul Food Month!

This week celebrates the start of… Men’s Health Week [the second Sunday in June through Father’s Day, which is always the 3rd Sunday] (11th-18th for 2023)! Additionally, the second week in June, is also… National Little League Week and National Flag Week, which is always the week of [June 14th] National Flag Day (11th-17th for 2023)!

Today is also… National Red Rose Day (plus, it’s National Rose Month), National Jerky Day, and National Peanut Butter Cookie Day! Beginning the second Monday of June (for five days), it’s also… National Business Etiquette Week (12th-16th for 2023)!

Tomorrow is… National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day, National Weed Your Garden Day, and National Sewing Machine Day!

Wednesday, June 14th, is… U.S. Army Birthday, National Flag Day, National Bourbon Day, and National New Mexico Day!

Thursday, June 15th, is… National Smile Power Day and Nature Photography Day!

June 16th, is… National Fudge Day! Plus, it’s Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary. In honor of both, pictured below is a reshare of Mom’s “Somewhere in Time Chocolate Fudge” recipe, as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 235). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).] It’s one of our family’s favorites!



Additionally, as the third Friday in June (for 2023), it’s also, National Take Back the Lunch Break Day! And, being the Friday before Father’s Day (for 2023), it’s also… National Wear BLUE Day!

Saturday, June 17th, is… National Eat Your Vegetables Day (it’s also… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month), National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, National Apple Strudel Day, and National Cherry Tart Day!

June 18th, is… National Splurge Day! Plus, as the third Sunday in June (for 2023), it’s also… Turkey Lovers’ Day (plus, it’s National Turkey Lovers Month, too)! Additionally, beginning the third Sunday in June (18th-24th for 2023), it’s also… National Play Catch Week and Animal Rights Awareness Week!


…24 down and 28 to go!



[aka: Egg Bread]

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 31).


2 cups hot water or potato water

3 TB salad oil

1½ TB sugar

Pinch of saffron, if desired

2 yeast, cake or dry [pkg.]

7-8 cups flour

1½ tsp salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 egg yolk

1 TB water

Poppy seeds


Combine hot water, salad oil, and sugar; plus, a pinch of saffron, if desired. Cool to lukewarm. Add yeast to dissolve. Sift flour with salt and put half into large bowl. Add yeast mixture. [Mix well.] Slowly add more flour until dough leaves sides of bowl.

Cover and let rise for 30  minutes. Add eggs and knead for 10 minutes. Put in greased bowl and turn to coat surfaces. Let rise until doubled [in size]. Knead 5 minutes. Divide into 3 sections and pat each into a long strip. Braid strips [together].

Tuck ends under and put on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled [in size]. Brush with egg yolk and water [mixed together] and sprinkle with [poppy] seeds. Bake at 375°F until brown and crusty. Makes 1 loaf.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Our Life In Cartoons



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

Don’t ask me why I accepted the challenge – and it wasn’t even the Pepsi challenge, mind you – but, it seems, most every radio show I have done [1976 to 1983] always brings the same question: “What recipe CAN’T you crack?” [The response] was always, “Cool Whip and Coca-Cola!” Finally, one day, I decided to see just how difficult it would be. 45 days and over 100 tests later, this is as close as I could come… Thus, calling it “Close-A-Cola”.


¼ cup cold black coffee

2 teaspoons Lipton instant lemon-tea powder

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 level teaspoon sugar

a few grains of pepper

2-3 ounces club soda


For 1 drink, mix well, the coffee, tea powder, vanilla extract, sugar, and pepper. Add in equal parts with club soda. Pour over ice and enjoy!


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Small Business, Big Service

Brutus, Strawberry & Orange (After School Shakes)

Brutus, Strawberry & Orange (After School Shakes)

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes, Revised (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1978, p. 17).

Julius Caesar was a great warrior. He conquered all the part of Europe that is now France. He even marched his armies into [Great] Britain. He also took them to the east and conquered part of Asia. Brutus, Marcus Junius, 85-42 B.C., [was a] Roman political leader and one of the men that assassinated Caesar.

One of the worst experiences and also the most frightening since I have been trying to duplicate famous dishes, was with a law firm whose client produces a beverage product, containing a ‘mysterious white powder’ and orange juice. A Chicago newspaper quoted me incorrectly and denied the error that claimed I had a recipe for the famous drink.

The lawyers insisted (no… ‘demanded’ …and I have it in writing from them) that I send them a copy of my book. Many months later, when I asked them, for the third or fourth time, to please pay for the book, they wrote me a letter, calling me ‘impertinent’ for asking for payment and threatened legal action against me that would have destroyed our entire family – not to mention that the threat alone put me under a doctor’s care for months, just worrying about it.

Funny thing was… the recipe was one that my mother had been making since I was in diapers. With a few updated revisions, I found it was, ‘in my opinion’, identical to the famous product. I guess I came close that time.

ORANGE BRUTUS [After School Shake]…

My mother was always creating something in the kitchen that was angelically good and her best effort was an after-school shake that consisted of blending together a quart of orange juice, an egg white, a dash of lemon juice, a few drops of vanilla, and a [small (4-serving size) box of ‘Cook & Serve’ style] vanilla pudding…

I later altered it by [combining] an envelope of Dream Whip powder and a quart of orange juice in my blender for a minute or two.

STRAWBERRY BRUTUS [After School Shake]…


10-oz pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed

3¾-oz pkg. instant vanilla pudding powder

1 egg white

2 cups milk


Place all ingredients [as listed] in blender. Using on/off [agitating] speed, blend 1 or 2 minutes, until smooth. Pour over crushed ice. Makes 4 servings.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Etiquette and Manners



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 29). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

There was a time when the best deli-style macaroni salad was from The Colonel’s KFC, but over the years that recipe changed. This is my own favorite version from the one they used in the 60’s.


Dressing mixture [base]:

½ cup sour cream

½ cup Miracle Whip

1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon onion salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Vegetable mixture:

2 tablespoons dry, chopped onion

2/3 cup celery, chopped

2/3 cup sweet midget pickles, chopped (don’t substitute with relish – it’s too juicy)

2 tablespoons pimiento, chopped (or half of a small tomato, seeded & chopped)


8 cups (cooked, drained and chilled) elbow noodles (3 cups, uncooked) – or cubed potatoes


Combine dressing mixture [base – the first 7 ingredients] in an accommodating bowl, as listed (above), and set aside. In a larger bowl. Combine the [chopped vegetables]. Add the dressing mixture to this. Mix well and use to coat… elbow noodles… or cubed potatoes. Cover tightly and refrigerate for an hour before serving. Serves 8 adequately (or 14 weight-watchers)!


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Summer Road Trips and Picnics



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Secret Fast Food Recipes, Special Edition (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Dec. 1999, p. 28).


1-lb can mandarin orange sections, drained

1-lb can pineapple chunks, drained

4 cups cooked [and cooled] chicken, cubed

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup diced celery (*optional)

½ cup sliced grapes (*optional)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup sweet orange marmalade

1/8 tsp ground poultry seasoning


Combine [first 4 to 6 ingredients, as listed]. Set aside. Mix [last 4 ingredients as listed]. Pour over chicken mixture [and stir well to incorporate everything]. Cover and chill 24 hours before serving.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Pen Pals And Handwriting



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986)


3-oz pkg. cream cheese

2 tsp grated orange peel

1 TB chopped walnuts

¼ cup flaked coconut


Beat cream cheese with mixer on medium speed, using small mixing bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is creamy and smooth. Beat in peel and nuts. Use ½ teaspoon to measure and shape each spoonful into a ball. Roll balls in coconut. Chill in covered container. Makes 20 tiny candies.

[NOTE: Recipe may be doubled and you can use a teaspoon (instead of ½ tsp) to measure out mixture to shape into balls. You can also spread coconut on ungreased jelly roll pan and toast it about 6” from broiler heat, about 2 minutes – or until golden brown.]


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Camping Michigan’s Great Outdoors