Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happiness And Radio

Thank God Its Monday, thus, #HappyMonday to all! I look forward to every Monday, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!




Next Sunday is National Radio Day and, for Mom, happiness happened whenever she was on the radio, talking about her copycat recipes! I’ve written several blog posts about Mom’s harmonious relationship with radio because radio filled her life with so much joy!

“The Recipe Detective” was the name given to her, in the mid-1970s, by a local radio audience because she investigated the secrets of the food industry, coming up with workable recipes for imitating their signature dishes and grocery products.

Mom always said that – of all the TV shows she was on and all of the newspaper and magazine interviews and stories about the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, since her fast food recipes business began – she honestly preferred radio over all the others.

For the first three decades that Mom and Dad were in business, full time (1974-2004), not a day went by without a generous amount of mail or phone calls, expressing an enthusiastic interest in the recipes they developed and published, as a kitchen table enterprise. A couple years in the middle were overwhelming!

Under Dad’s talented direction and full-time management, they went from a hand-operated mimeograph machine, in our laundry room, to a full-fledged office – staff and all – then back, again, to the simplicity of a home office and a two-person (for the most part) operation.

Mom’s friend, Dick Syatt, at RKO-Radio in Boston, once told her, in regard to the tremendous response they received from her FIRST appearance on The Phil Donahue Show, in July 1981: ‘Hell is God giving you what you thought you wanted!’

They liked it better when it was simple – from the means by which they distributed and publicized their books and newsletter to the eventual exclusiveness of working with radio. They “had it all”, once – enough to know that’s not what they truly wanted.

Mom had been invited to do QVC and videos but, she learned, the filming of her recipes wasn’t as essential to their success, as production executives insisted. Mom proved that, too, when she lent her work to the Braille Institute and Books for the Blind – Talking Books. The way in which she described and presented her recipes made pictures redundant.

Radio felt like home to Mom. The audiences felt like close friends and the shows’ hosts felt like family. As a matter of fact, she had so many great things to say about her radio experiences – here are just some of those…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 57-59)


ADVERTISING WITH BOB Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ radio show, which we later came to do, brought us the kind of audience that made all of the work worthwhile. We had only developed one book at that time. The [ad] spots we bought on his show were quite expensive for our limited budget, but the results were so rewarding that we later even increased the number of spots we took.

At the same time, I was placing ads in ‘Grit’ magazine, ‘Family Weekly’ (based in Pennsylvania) and with all of the Tower Press magazines, advertising the 200 recipes on our 4 x 6 cards and the books. We began to grow and increase our subscriptions nicely, at a rate that we could comfortably handle.

The five kids were all still in school and living at home as this developed. Paul was working as a purchasing agent for the Willey Sign Company, where he had been for nearly 20 years. The time he was then giving me, to help me fill orders, was after he came home from his own job at the sign company.

He also devoted every weekend and his two-week vacation to helping me with the recipes. So I was not surprised when he decided he would have to give up the sign company job in order to devote full attention to our recipe business.

He could see that with a few hundred letters a day, six days a week, I could not handle it alone. The kids were pitching in after school, if only to stuff envelopes, lick postage stamps and assembled the newsletter; [then,] alphabetize the 4 x 6 cards after they had been mimeographed and allowed to dry on the dining room table.

It was quite a relief when we decided to take the 4 x 6 cards to our printer and let them lithograph them on the offset, instead of fooling around with the messy mimeograph, ourselves, any longer. This left me free to devote more time to developing new recipes that would imitate the franchise menu items, and there was a constant interest in such dishes from all over the country. Every day presented a new and exciting challenge!

Radio has become one of the biggest blessings in our work and my recipe visits came about as a result of my initial work with Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. Other broadcasts it became a tradition with us involved all of the stations listed here – and then some.

The contacts of most of these came as a result of the wire service carrying a story about our recipes from time to time, the biggest occurring after a write up in ‘Mother Jones Magazine’ in 1976 [when it first began]. Zodiac news service carried the story and from that we must have been contacted by 100 stations in less than a week.

Many of those have remained among our regular visits even today. Others have come to us from the publicity we have mailed out to several hundred stations that are listed in the national Radio Directory [found in many public library systems].

Putting together such publicity was a huge project and a 10% return of such contacts is gratifying. So, for that reason, many people back off from using direct-mailing publicity. The behind-the-scenes work, involved in making our contacts, entails days and days of putting one of these projects together. None of it ever just happened.

The favorite broadcasts that I have considered my home-away-from-home include KNX-Radio, in Los Angeles, where I first met Jackie Olden; and now, Mel Baldwin and Melinda Lee carry on the Food-News show [there]. You will note that I mentioned them frequently in our newsletters.

There was also my introduction to WHIO-Radio, in Dayton [Ohio], where Lou Emm first introduced me to his listeners – before Donahue, as that is where Phil originated his TV show years ago. The monthly visits that I now enjoy participating in are with Andy Thomas of WVOC-Radio, in Columbia [SC] and with Marty Kaye, on a weekly basis, at WIBA-Radio, in Madison, Wisconsin.

I was so sorry to see Ed and Sydney Busch retire from their ‘America Over the Weekend’ broadcasts, for I began broadcasting with them at WFAA-Radio, in Dallas, in 1976 or 1977 – and it was over that station that I met Colonel Sanders.

Many of the stations with which I have worked in the past 20-plus years have made me feel so much a part of their regular staff, and their family of listeners, that I have come to think of them as my home-away-from-home.

When I work with WHO-Radio, in Des Moines, and Jan Michaelson, it is like ‘family’; for I worked with Jan at a Cincinnati station for many years prior to his move to Iowa. I was made to feel right at home. The listeners also accepted me like ‘family’.

From other radio experiences, I have come to know and love the staff and the listening audiences of each of the stations, which include KSDO-Radio, in San Diego [and] WIBC-Radio, in Indianapolis with Jeff Pigeon; who, after talking to me for only five minutes, had so inspired his listeners to want to try our recipes that we received nearly 1000 letters within two days after the radio visit!

My other radio visits cover KLIF-Radio, in Dallas, with Kevin McCarthy; KSL-Radio, in Salt Lake City, with Bob Lee; and WJR-Radio, in Detroit, with Bob Hynes on late-night and Jack Mindy and daytime.

There is also a long and friendly relationship between Toni Harblin and her listeners and me at WTNY-Radio, in Watertown, New York; as well as, WBKV-Radio, in West Bend, Wisconsin and WKRC-Radio, in Cincinnati, with JB Miller. I first met JB when he was with a West Virginia radio station, perhaps 12 or 13 years ago.

KTAR-Radio, in Phoenix, is a long-time friendship that comes along during the holidays, when I visit with Preston Westmoreland or Pat McMahon. And there are regular visits with Mike Donavon at WSTV-Radio, in the Steubenville, Ohio area.

Kathy Keene, at WHBY-Radio, in Appleton, Wisconsin, has an enthusiastic following. There are so many others that I hope I haven’t forgotten to mention these wonderful friends and the story of how we have grown.

WSUB-Radio, in the New London, Connecticut area, is [where I visit] with my pal, Margie Kreschollek – The Micro Whiz – and is a new radio visit that I thoroughly enjoy. Margie takes my conventional recipes and converts them to micro cooking in no time at all!

Another outstanding experience I had recently was with Jim Warren and Prime Time America. Beth Albright and I hit it off like old friends on her show at WISN-Radio, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; where we had two hours with which to acquaint her listeners with my recipe secrets.

Tim Regler, of KLIN-Radio, in Lincoln Nebraska, and I found his family of listeners just like neighbors on our street – friendly and receptive. Another recent visit that has become a regular event with us is with WFIR-Radio, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Dennis Elliott, of WMFR-Radio, in High Point North Carolina, was another challenging broadcast that brought wonderful letters from his listeners. When Dan Leonard left WEBR-Radio, in Buffalo, I was honored to be one of his last guests. I’ll really miss him there.

But the second Tuesday of every month, if you are in the Oklahoma City listening area, please tune into KTOK-Radio in my regular visit with Carol Arnold and her audience. We promise to give you chocolate recipes if nothing else!



Once again, in honor of August, being National Sandwich Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for a Denver Sandwich, Like Woolworth’s; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 188). [A revision 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…


The month of August observes, among other things… National Dog Month, Family Fun Month, Get Ready For Kindergarten 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!

Additionally, as the second week in August (14th-20th for 2023), it’s also… Elvis Week, which is always the week of August 16th!

Today is also… National Creamsicle Day!

Tomorrow is… National Relaxation Day and National Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Wednesday, August 16th, is… National Tell a Joke Day, National Roller Coaster Day, and National Rum Day!

Thursday, August 17th, is… National Nonprofit Day, National Massachusetts Day, and National Thrift Shop Day!

Friday, August 18th, is… National Fajita Day, National Mail Order Catalog Day, National Ice Cream Pie Day, and National Pinot Noir Day!

August 19th is… International Bow Day, National Soft Ice Cream Day, and National Potato Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in August (for 2023), it’s also… World Honey Bee Day!

Sunday, August 20th, is… National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!


…33 down and 19 to go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.