Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Recipe Detective Website

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


Friday is the 15-year anniversary of when my brother, Mike, first designed and launched’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.


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 1)


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 [1994] 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.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 54)


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.’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!

Today is also… National Raspberry Cake Day and National Mutt Day!

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!

Tomorrow, August 1st, is also… National Raspberry Cream Pie Day and National Girlfriends Day!

Wednesday, August 2nd, is… National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

August 3rd is… National Georgia Day, National Watermelon Day, and National Grab Some Nuts Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in August (for 2023), it’s also… National IPA Day!

August 4th is… National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Plus, as the first Friday in August (for 2023), it’s also… International Beer 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!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Love And Kindness

Thank God Its Monday, again; and, as such, #HappyMonday to one and all! I personally look forward to every Monday. Among other things, they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



One of the celebrations happening on Thursday is National Love is Kind Day! Kindness is one of those super celebratory things that should be practiced and praised daily. By the way, Random Acts of Kindness Week is in February, plus World Kindness Week and World Kindness Day are both in November.

Mom often wrote about love and kindness in her books and newsletters – even earlier, in her syndicated columns. Both were very important to her, to Dad, to each of their parents, and so on. Mom and Dad were raised by and lived by “The Golden Rule”, which is a basic, moral principle for an evolving society that encourages us to treat others with kindness.

Mom was always promoting love and kindness, starting in the family and home; from where it could spread out into the neighborhood, town, and throughout the land. Love and kindness are natural tendencies but they also need to be nurtured, as well as learned and practiced through time and experience.

As I wrote about, in a previous blog post, Kindness Begets Kindness (Nov. 2020), a single act of kindness can multiply exponentially into more acts of kindness, as people tend to pay acts of kindness forward, thereby touching an infinite number of people. Love and kindness are powerful deeds., says of “love is kind” – “It is polite to others, honest, and truthful. It does not like evil but stands for righteousness. It has faith in people, never considers others to be lost causes, and is ready to be patient with them and endure all hardships until they come round. It is the greatest command God gave to us, to love others.” (Aug 3, 2022)

Likewise,’s blog, Kindness – 101, says, “It’s being selfless, caring, compassionate, and unconditionally kind. Like love, it takes practice to understand and feel it. We share love with others through kind acts such as a smile, a nice word, an unexpected deed, or a planned surprise.” (Date unknown.)

From songs to movies to soap opera titles, we’ve heard how “love is a many-splendored thing”. Even The Beatles sang, “love is all you need”. In fact, love is many things, as the famously known passage from I Corinthians 13 indicates: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”’s Kindness Matters Guide says, “acts of kindness can make the world a happier place for everyone. They can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism… encourage others to repeat the good deeds they’ve experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community.”

Qualities of kindness include considerate, courteous, helpful, and understanding of others; showing care, compassion, friendship, and generosity. Kindness is treating others as you would like to be treated. A kind person shows concern for the feelings of others. Kindness also contributes to an overall feeling of goodwill and positivity.


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. 30)


HAVE YOU EVER HAD your day suddenly turn sunshiny because of a cheerful word? Have you ever wondered if this could be the same world because someone had been unexpectedly kind to you. You can make today [that way] for somebody! It’s only a question of a little imagination, a little time and trouble. Think now, ‘What can I do today, to make someone happy?’

Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?

Does the one whose hopes were fading, now with courage, look ahead?

Do you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,

‘You have earned one more tomorrow, by the work you did today.’?


‘Happy is the person who has a good supply of the milk of human kindness and knows how to keep it from souring.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17)

Kindness helps others feel valued. Showing even the smallest amount of kindness can go a long way. According to Aesop (an ancient Greek fables author), “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” Many people believe that kindness has the potential to change the whole world. Its contagiousness often sets off a pay-it-forward ripple effect.

Being kind is known to change lives – not only of the receivers, but also of the givers. Kindness is also commonly known to have physical and mental health benefits. It’s an essential part of an evolving society that bridges the divides of race, religion, gender, and other such things.

Science has proven that there are many health benefits to being kind and receiving kindness. Many psychiatrists agree that a healthy benefit of kindness includes empowering our personal energy and self-esteem. It makes us happier, which is good for our hearts. As such, kindness helps us live longer. See for more information.


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. 24)


WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, do better. Just because you are not doing wrong doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing right. Remember the importance of setting a good example. The things we do each day influences others.

Good intentions become stumbling blocks to real accomplishments when you constantly fail to act upon your hunches or fail to tackle things you wish to do. Don’t expect the world to think you’re wonderful just because you do something ‘good’ – for someone else!

Good people do good things all of the time – everyday, and no one pats them on the back for it. You have to do good – not for what others are going to think of you, but what you’re going to think of yourself!

If you get a kick out of doing something good for somebody… do it! But don’t expect any rewards or special recognition for having gone out of your way. Every once in a while you may be complimented for something good that you’ve done, and that’s very nice.

But most of the time, whatever you do is to make yourself feel better about what has to be done, or what should be done! It’s not a matter of conscience, but of compassion. Either you have it, or you don’t!

HAVE YOU EVER had your day suddenly turn sunshiny because of a cheerful word? Have you ever wondered if this could be the same world because someone had been unexpectedly kind to you. You can make today [that way] for somebody! It’s only a question of a little imagination, a little time and trouble. Think now, ‘What can I do today, to make someone happy?’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 30)

I can’t say it enough – love and kindness should be practiced every day! After all, we’ve been taught this since we were toddlers. It’s a shame that the unpretentious acts of love and kindness are forgotten by so many as they grow older. If a young child can understand the value of love and kindness – why can’t we all?

According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, it “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”


Giving the best of ourselves should be done without expectations of reciprocations of gratitude! It is through acts of kindness and giving from our hearts that we receive our own true gift – one that can’t be bought or even priced – the gift of love. Remember, love is kind and kindness is love!

SUNSHINE IN THE morning, moonlight at night, the fragrance of gardens, the deep silence of harvest fields, [and] the musical rattle of tea cups bring us rays of warmth, flooding through the open windows of the mind. The laughter of happy children, the familiar tread of love [from] approaching feet, a beautiful thought, a pleasant dream, a letter, a kindly greeting, a worthwhile job to do, a joke, a song, a kindness received (and remembered) – these are things which cost us nothing but enrich us beyond all telling! – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 41)


In honor of TODAY, being National Drive-Thru Day, plus it’s National Ice Cream Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Wednesday’s Frosted Drink; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 265). [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…


July’s observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!

Today is also… National Tequila Day, National Cousins Day, and National Amelia Earhart Day!

Tomorrow is… National Merry-Go-Round Day, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, National Threading the Needle Day, and National Wine and Cheese Day! Plus, it’s also… Christmas In July!

Wednesday, July 26th, is… National Aunt and Uncle’s Day, National Bagelfest Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, and National All or Nothing Day!

July 27th is… National Scotch Day, National Crème Brûlée Day, and National New Jersey Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in July (for 2023), it’s also… National Refreshment Day! Additionally, as the last Thursday in July (for 2023), it’s also… National Chili Dog Day!

Friday, July 28th, is… National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day!

Saturday, July 29th, is… National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Chicken Wing Day!

Sunday, July 30th, is… National Cheesecake Day and National Father-in-Law Day!


…30 down and 22 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Take The Junk Out Of Junk Food

Thank God Its Monday, again! 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!



Friday, July 21st, is National Junk Food Day! For decades, fast foods and junk foods were always getting a bad rap from the critics, regarding how unhealthy they were. However, over 50 years ago, my mom figured out how to make those taboo foods at home – where she controlled the ingredients, thereby taking the junk out of junk food.

Mom was a trailblazer in the 1970s, when she carved out a new niche in the food industry. She called her concept “copycat cookery” for “eating out at home”. The fact is, fast food and junk food recipes weren’t found in any cookbooks, back then. So she found ways to imitate our favorites at home and for less cost!

In the early 1970s, Mom started investigating how to imitate famous dishes, junk foods, fast foods, and grocery products, at home. She looked forward, every day, to investigating all the possibilities from this new platform! If it saved her household money, she shared it, to help others save too!

Mom took the junk out of the junk foods that the critics warned us not to eat. For 40 years she wrote and self-published more than 40 cookbooks, as well as hundreds of newsletter issues. Over those four decades, her recipe catalog grew from a couple hundred imitations to tens of thousands! I’m still working on a master index list of all of her recipes.

‘THE JUNK FOOD COOK… Is a person who can make instant decisions and not be upset by an exhilarated lifestyle. They are a bit reckless in their choices, usually preferring total freedom and personal happiness even if there is a risk to be considered. They don’t like to waste time and cannot be troubled with unimportant details or pretensions. They like short-cuts because they are usually impatient – but extremely thrifty.’ – Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipe Report (Secret Recipe Report, St. Clair, MI; Issue 85, January 1981; p. 2)


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 6). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


THE CRITICS WHO CONTEND that ‘fast foods’ are ‘junk foods’ and not good for us, have probably never prepared these foods themselves. Certainly, they have no access to the closely guarded recipes from the food companies that created these dishes…

There are only a few people in each operation that are permitted the privilege of such information! So, 99% of the critics’ speculations are based on their own opinions.

To know what these dishes contained, they’d have to be better chemists than I, as I have tested over 20,000 recipes with only the finished product as my guide to determine what each contained.

‘Fast foods’ are not ‘junk foods’ unless they’re not properly prepared. Any food that is poorly prepared (and just as badly presented) is junk! Unfortunately, ‘fast food’ has carried a reputation, by default, of containing ingredients that are ‘harmful’ to us.

Yet, they contain the same ingredients as those foods served in the ‘finer’ restaurants with wine stewards, linen tablecloths, candlelight, coat-check attendants, and parking valets; which separate the plastic palaces of “fast food” from the expensive dining establishments.

One ‘eats’ at McDonald’s, but ‘dines’ at The Four Seasons. Steak and potato or hamburger and French fries – the ingredients are practically the same. How they are prepared makes the difference!


Junk foods and fast foods are also considered “comfort foods”. Science has frequently shown that emotions and food are significantly linked together. It’s widely believed that, in times of stress, “comfort foods” often make us feel better, providing nostalgic or sentimental value but with very little nutritional value.

According to “Studies have shown that consuming junk food ONCE-IN-A-WHILE does not have a negative effect on health – it is only when one eats junk food for a majority of their meals that their diet can be considered unhealthy. Consuming large amounts of foods considered to be ‘junk’, can lead to several health problems, including a high risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart issues.”

Throughout the first two decades of being the Recipe DetectiveTM, Mom demonstrated her talents for imitating some of our favorite “junk foods” – like KFC’s fried chicken, Oreo cookies, Hostess Twinkies, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, and more – on national TV shows like the Phil Donahue Show, ABC’s Home show, and PM Magazine.

Mom’s favorite interviews were those with the hundreds of radio talk shows, nationally and internationally, which she enjoyed doing for 40 years! It’s unfortunate that many of those shows aren’t around anymore because the information they provided became so easy to find on the internet.

I’d like to add that has a music video called “Junk Food Junkie”, by Larry Groce (1976). I remember Mom liking that song when it came out. For great information and ideas with which to celebrate Junk Food Day, check out


As seen in…

The Second Helping of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 1-2)


WHAT IS THE TRUTH about junk food? The 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 fact, in the state of Michigan and some others, if such items were sold to children through vending machines on the premises.

‘There really are very few recipe secrets!’ – Gloria Pitzer

This is infuriating to the good cooks and… food chemists among us, who know that JUNK FOOD is actually any food that 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 that 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!’ As a very believing public, we have been spoon-fed a good deal of shrewd publicity by some very skilled… advertising people, who count on our susceptibility to commercial advertising campaigns to buy their products.

Whether we’re buying a hamburger in one of McDonald’s restaurants… or a Twinkie off of the grocer’s shelf, we still believe that these products can’t be equaled by any other company in the industry, nor by the average cook in a standard, home kitchen… AND this is wrong!


As seen in…

Eating Out at Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; September 1978, pp. 2-3)


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

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

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

The most remarkable part of the duplication of famous recipes is that you can accept the challenge to ‘try’ to match their [dish or product]. Sometimes, you will be successful. Sometimes you will fail in the attempt. But, at least, it can be done [‘practice makes perfect’], and it certainly takes the monotony out of mealtime when, for reasons of financial inadequacy, we cannot always eat out…

Stop cheating yourself of the pleasure of good food. Eat what you enjoy, but DON’T OVER eat…This is what really causes the problems of obesity and bad health – rather than believing the propaganda of the experts that ‘fast food’ is ‘junk food’…It is not! Poorly prepared food, whether it is from a fast-service restaurant or a [$20-plate in a] gourmet dining room, is ‘junk’, no matter how you look at it…if it is not properly prepared…

To debunk the junk…don’t think of Hostess Twinkies as junk dessert but, rather, the very same cake ingredients prepared in the Waldorf Astoria kitchens as the basis for their “Flaming Cherries Supreme”. All we did [to imitate the product] was shape the cake differently, adding a little body to the filling and putting it INSIDE the cake, rather than on top as the Waldorf did!


Mom’s original concepts for “eating out at home” and “taking the junk out of junk food” has brought so much joy to so many people who couldn’t afford eating out or indulging in junk food; either for monetary or health reasons. Since its inception in the early 1970s, Mom gained many followers with her copycat concept and influenced many other copycats.

Friday is also… National Be Someone Day!


Be a friend… Be a mentor… Be a light… Be something to someone… BE SOMEONE SPECIAL!


In honor of July, being National Hot Dog Month, and Wednesday, being National Hot Dog Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Coney Sauce, like Lafayette’s” (Detroit, MI); as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 42).



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


July’s observances include: National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Blueberry Month, National Independent Retailer Month, and National Picnic Month!

Today is, among other things… National Lottery Day, National Peach Ice Cream Day (it’s also National Ice Cream Month AND National Peach Month) and World Emoji Day! Plus, as the third Monday in July (for 2023), it’s also… National Get Out of the Dog House Day!

Tomorrow is… National Sour Candy Day and National Caviar Day!

Wednesday, July 19th is… National Daiquiri Day! 

July 20th is… National Fortune Cookie Day, National Moon Day, National Lollipop Day, and National Pennsylvania Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of the third quarter (for 2023), it’s also… Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Saturday, July 22nd is… National Penuche Fudge Day and National Hammock Day!

July 23rd is… Gorgeous Grandma Day and National Vanilla Ice Cream Day! Plus, as the fourth Sunday in July (for 2023), it’s also… National Parent’s Day!




…29 down and 23 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tourist Town Treasure

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 are some places (within a couple hours’ drive or one-day-road-trip destinations) that my husband and I enjoy so much we love to visit them frequently. One such place, which was also a favorite destination of Mom and Dad’s, is Frankenmuth, Michigan!

Michigan is rich in German heritage, especially in its own little Bavarian gem, known as Frankenmuth. This little town, just southeast of the Saginaw-Bay City area, has been world-famous throughout generations, for their German-heritage and family-style, fried chicken dinners (among other things).

Michigan-based restaurants that Mom would frequent to taste-test their dishes and develop imitations of them at home included palette pleasures from Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn restaurants in Frankenmuth, which are the two major restaurants in Frankenmuth that serve the world-famous family-style chicken dinners.

Zehnder’s was originally the Exchange Hotel (1856). The Zehnder family purchased it in 1928 and began serving their first chicken dinners in 1929. Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn’s restaurants are owned by different relatives of the same Zehnder family. In 1984, the two became separate corporations, with friendly competitions between relatives.

Tourists flock to the tourist town treasure called Frankenmuth year-round, from all over the world, and stand in line for hours for the famous chicken dinners served at one of the two major establishments in town, Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn.

All the food is served in dishes, set in the middle of the table (family style, just like at home), from which “the family” helps themselves. The wait staff refills the serving dishes as needed. [Note: Reservations get you in more quickly than waiting in line.]

Over the years, Mom came up with almost two dozen imitations of some of Frankenmuth’s famous dishes and treats from the two major restaurants mentioned above; plus, some bread and confection imitations from the local bakeries and fudge shops. Several of Mom’s imitations from Frankenmuth can be found on the Recipes tab of this website.

Mom and Dad loved to take road trips to Frankenmuth, as do me and my husband. It’s a beautiful drive through small towns (if we stay off the expressway). Once there, you’ll find unique shopping and eating experiences among all the German culture that this small, sightseer town has to offer!

The town’s German heritage exudes from its many restaurants, bakeries, fudge shops, hotels, breweries and other quaint little stores that line the mile-plus length of the main street through town – from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland (which is all Christmas, all year) to the Frankenmuth Brewery!

Frankenmuth is a unique town that has, for decades, been renowned for their sit-down, family-style chicken dinners. It’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Saginaw, where one of Mom’s favorite radio shows used to air for decades. It was called “Listen to the Mrs.”, hosted by Art Lewis on WSGW-Radio.

I came across some of the show’s cookbooks recently, in a Millington antique shop near Frankenmuth. They included recipes that Mom had shared on the show, as well as those offered by others. It’s too bad that the internet has made these kind of shows obsolete. Now, AI is going to be eliminating more people and programs from radio, as well.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, p. 66)


FAMILY RESTAURANTS and homestyle meals are returning to popularity. During the war-protesting days of Vietnam, the right to ‘be different’, the right to protest, to be individual made anything even slightly related to ‘family’ and ‘home’ forbidden or corny. People became impersonal to each other…

Now the pendulum is swinging the other way. The family and home have been reinstated…even in our restaurant industry. Today it is changing back to the personal, the warm, the family. The restaurant industry, in its urgent bid for the public’s loyal attention, is trying to make their dining experiences like your home away from home. Hospitality is becoming their badge of honor!

The kitchen… is the best place to be when we’re home! You’ll notice that current home designers are getting away from the formal dining room area… Homes are becoming more functional in design, as well. In our continuing efforts to economize, to restrict energy sources and to bring the family back to the warm, bright, openness of a country kitchen, we have rediscovered the personal advantages of the best room in the house…

The classic country kitchen is coming back, where there is one large working space close to the appliance area and also open to the informal, large, eating area… It was a warm and workable kitchen that reflected a family as a unit… Every inch of it said: ‘Welcome!’ If you were a stranger when you entered, you were a friend before you left.

L.V. Anderson’s article, The United Sweets of America (Aug. 24, 2014), claims that Michigan’s unofficial “state dessert” is fudge! Likewise,’s Top 13 Best Foods Which Made Michigan Famous, by the Thumbwind staff (Sep. 25, 2020), also alleges that Mackinac Island Fudge is the #1 favorite!

Also on Thumbwind’s list of famous Michigan-made foods, is Detroit’s Coney Island Hot Dog, at #2 (see Mom’s recipe to imitate it at the close of this blog post) and Buddy’s Detroit-Style pizza at #3. Those were followed by Traverse City’s tart cherries, the U.P.’s pasties, and Frankenmuth’s home-style chicken, to round out the top six choices.

No matter where you go across North America – from Michigan’s own Frankenmuth, to California’s See’s candy shops, to Orlando’s Walt Disney World in Florida, to Niagara Falls’ Maple Leaf Village – fudge is a tourism staple and the very making of fudge, right before our eyes, has become an art form that entertains millions of tourists every year.


Have you ever heard of the term, “Christmas in July”? Coincidentally, Frankenmuth is the perfect place to visit for “Christmas in July”, as Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is all about Christmas (and is the largest Christmas store in the world). It’s open all year, every day (except Christmas Day).’s article, The 6 Most Charming Small Towns in Michigan, by Dan Koday (May 26, 2022), lists Frankenmuth as #2, tucked between Charlevoix and Petoskey, respectively; which are much further away than a one-day-road-trip (from southeast Michigan). But they were also among Mom and Dad’s favorite Michigan vacation destinations.’s article, 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in Michigan, by Jan Meeuwesen (Jan. 26, 2020), also lists Frankenmuth as #2. However, Jan tucked it between Saugatuck (which was #5 on Dan Koday’s list) and Copper Harbor (in the U.P.).


“Willkommen”, which is German for “welcome”, adorns the arch across Gera Road as you enter Frankenmuth, right by Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, from the south. I must say, Frankenmuth really is one of the most welcoming small towns I’ve ever visited. For a 3-mile-square, small town, they have a lot to offer it’s tourists.

There are blacksmith demonstrations, as well as taffy and fudge making demonstrations. You can also learn how to hand roll pretzels, the traditional German way. The town hosts various festivals throughout the year, too.

Frankenmuth has multiple indoor water parks, an 18-hole putt-putt course, zip lines, and an aerial rope course. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is open daily, year-round. The Frankenmuth Brewery offers tours and taste testing, too.

There’s also an old, covered, wooden, traffic bridge; which crosses the Cass River, where it winds through town between the Bavarian Inn and River Place Shops – a Bavarian themed outdoor shopping mall. Aside from the shopping and food you can tour the town by horse-drawn carriage, riverboat, or a 16-person peddle trolley that also offers beer.

If you’ve never been to Frankenmuth, Michigan, it’s a tourist town treasure that’s worth adding to your bucket list!


In honor of Saturday, being National Give Something Away Day; and July, being National Ice Cream Month; and next Sunday, being National Ice Cream Day; here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Fried Ice Cream Balls” and “Best Fast Hot Fudge Sauce”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 15).




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


July’s observances include: National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!



Today is also… National Kitten Day and National Pina Colada Day!

Tomorrow is… National Cheer Up The Lonely Day, National Rainier Cherry Day, National Blueberry Muffin Day, All American Pet Photo Day, National Mojito Day, and National 7-Eleven Day!

Wednesday, July 12th is… National Pecan Pie Day and Eat Your Jell-O Day!

Thursday, July 13th is… National French Fry Day, National Beans ‘N’ Franks Day, and National Delaware Day!

Friday, July 14th is… National Grand Marnier Day and National Mac & Cheese Day! In honor of the latter, here is a re-share of Mom’s imitation of “Macaroni And Cheese Like Woolworth’s” (our family’s favorite)!


July 15th is… National Tapioca Pudding Day and National Gummi Worm Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in July (for 2023), it’s also National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day and Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day!

Sunday, July 16th is… National Corn Fritters Day and National Personal Chef’s Day!


…28 down and 24 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Workaholics

Happy Monday and happy July to everyone! I look forward to Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!





Today is Independence Day Eve! Plus, July is Independent Retailer Month. Additionally, Wednesday’s celebrations include National Workaholics Day! Most independent business owners are workaholics so naturally the two should be observed together!

Mom and Dad were classic workaholics. Their generation was brought up that way. Once their feet touched the floor, they hit the door, running. From the time they got up until they went back to bed, they made the most of every day, being as productive as possible.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 65-66)


AN ORDINARY DAY for us begins at 6:30 AM. Even though, I may have had a midnight or middle of the night radio show to do, the alarm still goes off at the crack of dawn. I realized some time ago that I could not roll out of bed and go directly to the stove to make the coffee and scramble the eggs and then, upon cleaning up after all of that, still go directly to my drawing board and my IBM composer for the rest of a long day.

I could but I would not have had a good attitude. So, Paul and I go, instead, to the restaurant in the mall downtown and let THEM make the coffee and scramble the eggs for us. Then we stop by the post office and pick up the mail and, by the time we are back home, I feel like a normal working person who leaves the house every morning to go to their office.

Depending on how swamped we are with mail and subscriber contacts, book orders and government papers to be filled out and filed, we will try to take a break around noon for either a sandwich at our desks or, better yet, will run down the street to the Burger King for an orange juice and fish sandwich; or over to The Voyageur [restaurant] for half of a ‘Captain’s Salad’ or a croissant special and a view of the St. Clair River, with freighters passing up and down stream that we can feel truly inspired and refreshed when we leave there.

A break like that will renew our creative energies and also give us a chance to ‘visit’ with each other – a practice that few married couples really seem to enjoy much anymore – if they ever did at all. These breaking off periods of getting away from the house and our office within, look to others, I suppose, as if we really aren’t that busy that we can frequent the local restaurants as much as we do.

What they don’t see, however, is the kitchen where, for three or four solid hours, I was testing and trying to develop a particular recipe – making it perhaps three or four times before either giving up on it or feeling victorious and happy to print it in the next newsletter.

We take a lot of kidding about how often I am seen pushing a cart in the local supermarket and how often I am seen ‘eating out’ that you’d ever guess I cooked at all. It is, because I try to maintain and encourage a happy balance between the recipe testing and our normal life with friends and family, that we have never found the enterprise in which we are engaged, a burden to us.

So many people we know do nothing but complain about their jobs, their work and regret. My cup runneth over and over and over! I WOULDN’T GIVE IT UP FOR THE WORLD!

By five or six o’clock in the evening, we’re ready for another break; and, in between, I have probably talked to two or three radio stations, answering questions for their listeners as they call into the station; which, by the miracle of telephone, puts us in touch with each other as if the host, the listener and I were all in the same room!

The radio visits that began with [our] good friend, Bob Allison, and his very successful show [‘Ask Your Neighbor’], with nearly 30 years, opened so many interesting and helpful doors for us. All of the other radio stations since, with whom I work, became a part of our schedule after years of providing listeners with the right information, with entertaining ideas and friendship and concern for their needs.

Sometimes I have received calls from hosts of radio shows who heard me on another station than their own and asked to set up an hour with them. Some of the programs run two hours. Many of them only use 15 minutes in which to discuss a healthy menu on the latest restaurant dish to imitate at home. No two radio shows are ever exactly alike, yet in one respect they are all incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive…

Mom and Dad loved to take a day or a weekend to just go on a scenic road trip and unwind from the workload at home. Often, however, “work” would manage to creep back in whenever they stopped somewhere for a bite to eat. Mom always managed to find something good that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got back home.

Some trips involved pre-planned Secret RecipesTM work too. Mom really did enjoy what she laughingly called her “work”. It was easy to incorporate a restaurant review and an imitation of a dish (or two) into any trip. Even an occasional, in-studio, radio show interview could be worked into a vacation or road trip, instead of through the phone lines, as Mom usually did.

One time, she and Dad went on a “working” road trip/vacation to Branson, Missouri with one of her favorite radio show hosts, Art Lewis, from ‘Listen To The Mrs.’, on WSGW-Radio (Saginaw, MI) and “the crew”.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 94)


EVERY DAY, IN OUR OFFICE and our home, because it’s hard to separate the two, is the fact that things here are quite unpredictable! The layout of the newsletter is done – as I described it before – like a patchwork quilt, [as] are the books, at best, for there is not enough ‘quiet’ time in which to carry out a major project.

Mostly, it is a day filled with pleasant interruptions – such as the grandchildren dropping by to see us for a few minutes – or a radio station calling and asking me to fill in at the last minute! There are visits from the rest of the family, a phone call from my mother once in a while, when she needs somebody to talk to… and I am always a ready listener.

There are the discussions over how to handle a particular problem with a shipping order, or how a dish should be coming out that doesn’t! Countless things occur in this office (and/or home) that contribute to the overall picture.

This is what I tried to describe… to Julie Greenwalt of People magazine, when she called and asked me to think about those typical things that happen, here, which could be photographed to accompany the story she was writing about us.

It will be interesting to see how it comes out, as this book [cited above] will be ‘going to press’ before People does with their story [which was in their May 7, 1990, issue].

I love the attitude of George Burns, who was always an inspiration to everyone, of every age! Doing what we like best, whether we succeed or not, is what keeps us going and keeps us happy. I cannot imagine doing something badly that I enjoy doing.

So, of course, we do our best at something we enjoy, because that is part of the satisfaction of doing it – seeing the good that results from our efforts.

[Paul and I,] both, take time during the week to enjoy something completely unrelated to our work and even our family. I bowl on a wonderful women’s league every Wednesday morning and Paul bowls with the men’s league on Friday nights.

For the past four or five years, I’ve driven to Algonac, about 40 miles round-trip, to participate in one of the nicest groups I’ve had the privilege of belonging to; and while I have yet to have that 200-game, whether I bowl badly or splendidly, I drive home all smiles, happy that I went!

Paul, on the other hand, bowls just down the street from us here in town. He bowled so much when we were dating, I tell people we were married by an ordained pin setter!

Friday is the 42-year anniversary of Mom’s FIRST appearance on the Phil Donahue Show (July 7th, 1981), from which a workaholic’s be-careful-what-you-wish-for nightmare arose. We received over a million letters from that episode, as it played and re-played world-wide! It was both, overwhelming and a godsend.




July 3rd – Aug. 11th is considered The Dog Days of Summer. “The dog days” is a term we often hear, and many of us assume it refers to how dogs lie around, lazily, on these extremely hot days. However, “the dog” is actually an ancient celestial reference.

According to’s “Why Are They Called ‘The Dog Days of Summer’?”, by Christopher Klein (no date), “… it’s a throwback to the time when ancient civilizations tracked the seasons by looking to the sky. The ancient Greeks noticed that summer’s most intense heat occurred during the approximate 40-day period in the summertime when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose and set with the sun…”

Ancient Greeks believed that Sirius (aka: “the dog star”), which is also part of the Canis Major (aka: Greater Dog) constellation, gave off heat like the sun because it was so bright. Thus, they supposed that it’s daytime appearance, along with the sun, contributed to the extreme daytime heat.

When Sirius breaks its sync with the sun, returning to the night sky, it’s considered to be a sign of the end of “the dog days”.’s, “Why Are They Called ‘Dog Days Of Summer’?” (by Farmer’s Almanac Staff; updated July 11, 2022) claims that the exact dates of “the dog days” vary by latitude.

Currently, in the U.S., it’s around July 3rd through Aug. 11th; but Farmer’ also reports that, in ten thousand years or so, Sirius’ coordination with the rising and setting sun “will fall back so late on the calendar that future civilizations in the northern hemisphere will experience ‘the dog days’ of winter.”


In honor of Wednesday, being National Hawaii Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Aunt Jenny’s Pineapple Bars”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 5).


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


July’s observances include: 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!

Today is also… National Fried Clam Day, National Eat Your Beans Day, and National Chocolate Wafer Day!

Tomorrow is… National Barbecued Spareribs Day and National Caesar Salad Day!

Wednesday, July 5th, is… National Apple Turnover Day and National Graham Cracker Day!

Thursday, July 6th, is… National Hand Roll Day and National Fried Chicken Day!

Friday, July 7th, is… National Strawberry Sundae Day and National Macaroni Day!

July 8th is… National Freezer Pop Day and National Chocolate with Almonds Day!

Sunday, July 9th, is… National Sugar Cookie Day!


…27 down and 25 to go!