Friday is the 15-year anniversary of when my brother, Mike, first designed and launched TheRecipeDetective.com’s original website for our parents’ Secret RecipesTM business. At that time, Mom was only semi-retired; doing lectures and radio show interviews, promoting her shortcut version of her copycat cookery concept.
The website was a new way to advertise and sell their Secret RecipesTM offerings. They knew nothing about the internet but needed a way to keep in touch with a new digital audience, regarding Mom’s latest developments. For a decade, Mike managed the website, from where he lived, on the west coast; including their online orders and emails.
I remember when Mom and Dad got their first (and only) computer. They tried learning to operate it, with lessons from one of their grandchildren; but after weeks and weeks of trying, they still couldn’t open their emails. Frustrated by the “new technology”, they just gave the computer to their grandchild and relied on Mike to operate the website for them.
Decades ago, Mom’s syndicated columns, although in hard copy publications, were much like the blogs we see today. In both, writers express their own opinions, while circulating information (and maybe entertaining the readers), on a regular basis.
Back then, Mom’s columns were typed and printed in hard copy form, through newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, such columns are electronically posted on the internet. Like Mom’s “food for thought” columns, I too like to write about various subjects in my blog posts, of which I hope others will also find interesting.
After 27 years, Mom and Dad retired their Secret RecipesTM newsletter with the December 2000 issue. They also let all of their self-published cookbooks go out of print, except for a 2002 re-print of Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986).
Additionally, Mom created an 8-page folder of soup and comfort food recipes (that she later reduced to 4 pages, when postage costs went up) and seven brand-specific 2-page bulletins of recipes, all of which were sold on the original website that Mike created – along with free sample recipes and information about the companies whose products she imitated.
In 2014, after more than 40 years in business, Mom had to fully retire, due to health issues, but Mike kept the website going. Orders for her 4-Ingredient Recipes book and the various recipe folders still trickled in, even though Mom was no longer doing anymore radio show interviews.
After Dad passed away, later that year, I helped Mom rewrite her favorite self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1982) for the new digital age, using my copy of her May 1983, 3rd edition.
It took me a couple of years and I truly learned why Mom felt like each of her works were like her children. After she passed away, in 2018, I started this blog about her legacy, of being the Recipe DetectiveTM. Rather than start a new website for the blog posts, I asked Mike if I could put them on his website for Secret RecipesTM.
Instead, he offered me the whole website to operate on my own. I am not very tech-savvy so Mike helped me re-set it up with Go-Daddy and WordPress. It’s been almost five years, since then, and it’s still a work-in-progress; but it’s a slow learning process for me.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 1)
A STORY TO SHARE
FROM THE MIMEOGRAPH machine that I hand cranked and inked, with every 200 copies, came the first pages of our newsletter and the first 200 recipes of favorite dishes from famous places.
Actually, I added only a few recipe cards at the time to each of the early issues of the newsletter and these grew from 25 to 50 to 100, finally being concluded with 200 selections as of our February 1977 issue.
Those we offered through the newsletter and on 4 x 6 cards have never been published in one complete edition, so we now  offer this collection to celebrate over 20 years of our continuous publication of our Secret RecipesTM.
In most of these 200 recipes I’ve not had to alter the ingredients nor the technique but in some that had no regard for what is considered wholesome, I’ve made a few changes and improvements.
It never occurred to me that the dishes we were trying to imitate would not be of interest to a deserving family of readers, who simply wanted to enjoy dining in as if they were dining out.
From that day, in August 1976, when this recipe enterprise became this family’s only source of income, it was a welcomed challenge to be able to work at it, not as a job, but always is a joy. People often question my ability to continue at it with untarnished enthusiasm and never having had to deal with what is called ‘writers block’.
I can’t imagine a day when I am not writing and enjoying every moment of it. The 200 original secret recipes were only the beginning of what I felt would eventually become a well-described collection of worthy recipes. And it happened exactly that way.
Even though Mom didn’t understand the internet, she was delighted about reaching a new generation of people with her recipes and stories! The accessibility of internet for the masses has majorly evolved the methods for creating or building a brand and running a business.
In fact, the branding concept, itself, isn’t new but the process for building it up has changed immensely throughout time. Most businesses begin by getting people to know who they are, where to find them, and what they offer. Regardless of prices, more often than not, great customer service significantly effects loyalty and brand recognition.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 54)
HOW TO SELL IT
YOU CAN WRITE THE BOOK. Get it published. Stack the books from floor to ceiling in your garage (or wherever). What do you do with them, then, once you have sold a few copies to the neighbors, your bowling league friends and some patronizing relatives who complement you with half-hearted assurances that you shouldn’t give up no matter what…
You plug along, in spite of the lack of interest from those you care the most about, those to whom you turn for a little pat on the back and moral support but find lukewarm receptivity to your project. You have to then know how and where and to whom you will sell your cookbook or newsletter, or you must find somebody who can do it for you better than you can do it for yourself.
So far, in these nearly 20 years that I have been sleuthing out the secrets of the food industry, I have not been able to find such a person. I have found, however, instead, a very wonderful outlet for acquainting the public with what we are doing and this, in itself, was never deliberately planned.
It was something that just happened – and like a beautiful idea usually does, it unfolded, step-by-step into one of the most extraordinary experiences [for which] I could have wished.
In the past few years, especially due to the pandemic restrictions’ effect (increasing internet usage), people are utilizing “the web” for just about everything from entertainment to shopping to working/schooling to creating their own online businesses.
It’s an endless source of advice and tips for how to do just about anything. Plus, with new social media platforms popping up, more and more people are learning to turn their hobbies into incomes, brand themselves, and launch their own home-based internet-operated businesses.
I have a lot of plans for this website. However, my limited time and skills slow the development process. Nevertheless, I have a vision and am determined. I just hope I’m making my parents proud of what I’m doing with Mom’s legacy of love, as this has become my own labor of love.
Tomorrow’s National Respect for Parents Day! It’s another one of those things that should be done (and celebrated) EVERY day. My parents raised five of us, protected us, sacrificed for us, and taught us so much. And it wasn’t just until we became adults – they did so until they died, as their parents did for them.
“Honor your father and your mother”, says Matthew 15:4 in The Bible. You don’t have to be religious to understand that simple, basic act is the right thing to do and the right thing to teach EVERY future generation. VarietyFun.com’s blog for Respect Your Parents Day is a great read that offers eight wonderful tips for showing your parents respect. Check it out!
Respect and honor are similar, as both indicate admiration and give value or importance to someone/something; but they’re not quite the same. Respect is a thoughtfulness and due regard for others. It’s like “The Golden Rule”.
When we respect others, we’ll likewise be respected, in return. Respect promotes cooperation, from which positive relationships grow, creating a sense of belonging. One of the greatest forms of respect is in really listening to others.
Honor is more than respect – stronger – giving special recognition and praise. Everyone who is honored, is also respected; but not everyone who is respected, is also honored.
Since TODAY is National Avocado Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Guacamole”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 65). [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…
Today is the last day of July, which is still observing… National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!
Tomorrow begins the month of August, which observes, among other things… National Dog Month, Family Fun Month, Get Ready For Kindergarten Month, Happiness Happens Month, International Peace Month, National Back to School Month, National Brownies at Brunch Month, National Catfish Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Panini Month, National Sandwich Month, and Romance Awareness Month!
Other celebrations happening this week include… The Dog Days of Summer, which is July 3rd to Aug. 11th! Plus, the first week of August also observes… International Clown Week and Simplify Your Life Week!
Wednesday, August 2nd, is… National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!
August 5th is… National Work Like A Dog Day and National Oyster Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month (for 2023), it’s also… National Play Outside Day (which is the first Saturday of EVERY month), National Jamaican Patty Day, National Mustard Day, and National Mead Day!
August 6th is… National Root Beer Float Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in August (for 2023), it’s also… American Family Day, National Friendship Day, and National Sisters Day! Additionally, as the start of the first full week in August (7th-13th for 2023), it’s also… National Farmers Market Week!
…31 down and 21 to go!