Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Family Fables

Thank God it’s Monday and not just any Monday, as it’s also Cyber Monday. Thus, happy online shopping 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!



Family fables filled the day last Thursday, as we all gathered together to feast on roasted turkey and all the fixings. “Remember when…” seemed to start many conversations about past holiday gatherings; mostly regarding the food, people, and traditions.

I have a sign, hanging proudly, near my kitchen table that reads: “There’s a room in every home where the smallest events and biggest occasions become the stories of our lives.” That they do! By the way, my table is the same one (pictured below) that I grew up with in the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, a lot of memories are made and shared here.

The kitchen table seemed to be my family’s favorite gathering place to play games, eat, and talk. Conversations were usually about the current events happening in our lives, as well as making plans for our tomorrows; and creating what became, at least for me, some really great family stories.

In our household, every holiday and family festivity, even the smallest ones, were celebrated with food! Even before Mom became the Secret RecipesTM Detective, I always thought she was an amazing cook. But she was also a very good story teller (and writer).


Along with and related to Family Stories Month, November is also National Life Writing Month! According to…

“The goal of National Life Writing Month is to encourage people to write about themselves and their life as they have experienced it thus far (it’s sometimes known as Memoir Writing Month.) Now is the time for you to dedicate yourself to writing personal and family stories, memories, traditions, significant events, and anything else you feel is worth adding to your life story.”

Mom wrote about her own life (and our family’s lives) for most of her life. Her devotion to journaling was inspired by the 1946, Warner Brothers’ movie, Devotion. Mom’s self-published book, called My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989), wasn’t just her life story but also our family’s saga.

Mom used to share highlights of our family’s happenings in everything she published. She always considered it to be just a natural thing to do, sharing her family’s news with her readers, because she felt like they were her family, too; and, at least in her generation (and previous ones), that’s what families did – keeping in touch, with their own family stories.

I’m grateful to know some of my own family’s fables from Mom’s stories, written in her many self-published books and newsletters. I found even more among the pictures and memorabilia in Mom’s scrapbooks and shoe boxes of old letters and greeting cards that she and Dad (and both of their moms) had saved from our relatives, over the decades.

I wish I could go back in time and record all the old, family stories I used to hear from my grandparents and their siblings whenever we gathered together for family celebrations. Before Mom passed away, while dealing with Dementia, she often reminisced about our ancestors from her old memories.

She couldn’t understand how she could remember her childhood so clearly, like it happened yesterday, but couldn’t remember who she saw or spoke to the previous day. If only I had written her stories down or, better yet, recorded our conversations. We always tend to think there’s time for that later – but then it’s gone in the blink of an eye.

Over 30 years ago, Mom wrote in one of her newsletters (Nov./Dec. 1992, 159th Issue) of how she and Dad planed, for a Christmas present to me and my four siblings, to make a cassette recording of the two of them talking about their life together and their most dearly remembered and cherished moments over the decades.

They also intended to discuss the memories they had of their grandparents, whom we (my siblings and I) never got a chance to know. There was also going to be other stories about our current family, as well as past generations, that we could pass on to our own future generations.

I so wish they had followed through with that gift. It would’ve been a priceless gift, at least to me, and probably to my own children and my grandson, too. Family is very important to us, as it was to both Mom and Dad. If only hindsight was foresight! I wish now, that I had recorded Mom’s stories about our family’s ancestry, during her last few years.

We always tend to think there’s time for that later…but then, in the blink of an eye, that time can suddenly be gone. I need to do something like that for my own children, before it’s too late! I’m grateful to at least have Mom’s published stories about our family and ancestors.


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

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


THE EXPERIENCES we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry that has been our only source of income since August 1976, have occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio broadcasting and newspaper exposure and our own publishing efforts.

If someone can benefit from our experiences, all the better! Mostly, though, this is just a story of our family – our five children, our grandchildren – and how we made a dent in the hard shell of the publishing industry… (p. 2)

THE FAMILY IS IMPORTANT to this troubled world that seems not to know what direction to go in for comfort and relief. So, I cater, in our publications, mostly to this family, with all of the old-fashioned values I can gather and still not sound corny or even ‘preachy’!

That for which I am most grateful, however, as I see how our family has worked together in helping us to build this dining room table enterprise into a substantial and professional operation, is the friendship that has grown over the years between [Paul, me and] the five children…my cup runneth over! (p. 12)

EVERY DAY, IN OUR OFFICE – and/or 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 really ‘quiet’ time in which to carry out a major project.

Mostly, it is a day filled with pleasant interruptions – …the grandchildren dropping by to see us… 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 the 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. (p. 94)

THE FIVE CHILDREN are now able to at least recognize good food when they see it, if not be able to prepare it themselves, thanks to all of the help I enlisted from them in the kitchen as they were growing up…so we can always look forward to their being with us for holiday dinners, which is ‘bring-a-dish-to-pass’ style with this family. To have the whole family together is a very special occasion! (p. 116)

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 112)


I applaud the straightforward impulse that says, ‘if someone needs help give it.’ – Gloria Pitzer

IT’S A SAD SITUATION but dealing with the problem and finding a way to solve it, to me, is better than ignoring it so that it can’t interfere with the harmony associated with the other experiences we encounter and even enjoy.

Part of dealing with problems in life is that we never fully understand why life is hard on us when we’re doing our best right along – to be the best we can be to do the best we can do. The shock of being hurt or rejected or deprived, drives us each to seek solace from a sympathetic listener.

Maybe, being a good listener is the best we can offer someone with a problem; and, maybe, that’s why God gave us two ears, but only one mouth, so we would listen twice as much as we talk!

The basic value system of today’s family has change so drastically since the 1940s and 1950s, when my generation was growing up… Today’s value system includes a majority of ‘part-time parents’, idealistic relationships; impersonal… attitude… in the guise of educators, news commentators, journalists and counselors.

All of what I had added to the recipes in my newsletter over the years was leaning in this very direction. I wanted to touch people with real issues about everyday concerns and simple feelings. I still do.


Every family has a story to tell – in fact, many stories. They can be pieced together from old pictures, cards, and letters. You can also find your ancestors and their stories through various online sources. It’s the perfect time to research and write about your family’s stories. It’s a great gift for the next generation to cherish, as well as to add to and pass on.


In honor of Thursday, being National Mousse Day, and Friday, being National Pie Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Lemon Cream Mousse Pie”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 240). [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…


November observes, among other things… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Gratitude Month, National Inspirational Role Models Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Novel Writing Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Today is also… National Bavarian Cream Pie Day and National Craft Jerky Day!

Tomorrow is… National French Toast Day! Plus, as the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (for 2023), it’s also… National Day of Giving!

November  29th is… Electronic Greetings Day! Plus, as the Wednesday after Thanksgiving (for 2023), it’s also… National Package Protection Day!

Thursday, November 30th is… National Personal Space Day, National Mason Jar Day, and National Mississippi Day!

Friday kicks off the month of December, which celebrates (among other things)… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

December 1st is also… National Eat a Red Apple Day, National Day With(out) Art Day, and Rosa Parks Day! Plus, as the first Friday in December [for 2023], it’s also… Faux Fur Friday and National Bartender Day!

December 2nd is… National Fritters Day, National Mutt Day, and Special Education Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month [for 2023], it’s also… National Rhubarb Vodka Day and National Play Outside Day (which is always the first Saturday of EVERY month)!

Sunday, December 3rd is… National Roof Over Your Head Day! Plus, the first week of December also celebrates… National Cookie Cutter Week!


…48 down and only 4 more to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Easy As Pie

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!


The most common denominators, among all the year’s celebrations, are people and food!

Pies are the most common choice of dessert with which to celebrate, especially during these November and December holidays. Pies can also be a savory main dish. What makes a pie a pie is that it has a (flaky) pastry crust. It is typically baked in a shallow, round pan called a “pie pan” (or “…dish” if you use Pyrex or other similar glass style).

[NOTE: New Yorkers call their pizzas “pies”, however, that doesn’t make them actual pies, since they’re not made with flaky pastry dough – nor are Eskimo Pies, Cottage Pies, and Shepherd’s Pies actual pies for the same reason.]

Did you know that about 186 million pies are sold in grocery stores, yearly. Around 50 million of those are pumpkin (equaling almost 27% of the sales). Those pies are mostly consumed in November and December, for the holidays. However, America’s number one selling pie (all year) is apple, coveting MORE than 27% of the total pie sales.

Apple pie is considered to be a national American symbol – along with baseball and Chevrolet (according to the once famous commercial for the latter). Incidentally, even though Michigan doesn’t produce the most apples – as I wrote, last month, in Michigan Apples

…that honor goes to Washington, as we come in third, behind New York. However, I read somewhere that Michigan slices more apples than any other state – mostly for apple pies, which are an all-American staple.

Incidentally, Michigan’s unofficial “State Dessert Pie” is a toss-up between apple and cherry – depending on where you poll. The Traverse City area (and the northern Michigan region) is famous for its cherry crops (and wine)! However, apples are the more abundant crop throughout the state, over all.

According to, the first known dessert pie (as found in an ancient, written recipe) was invented by the Romans around 6000 BC, while the first savory (meat) pie may have originated in Egypt, before 2000 BC.

Apple and pumpkin pies (in that order) may be the top two favorites of American pie connoisseurs, but rounding out the top five preferences, according to the consensus I found in searching for Americans’ “top five pie choices”, were also cherry, pecan, and blueberry.

2018 Cherry Tree, Photo by Laura Emerich

I suppose any one is popular, depending on where you survey, as every state has their own favorite “State Pie”. Thus, I expanded my search to Americans’ top 10 favorite pies. From this, I also found key lime, rhubarb, strawberry, peach, and Mississippi mud pies were included on the favorites’ list – along with the top five I already mentioned above.

[NOTE: According to Marie Callender’s website, their most popular pie is Lemon Meringue. My youngest daughter works for a popular, south-eastern Michigan pie company. Their most popular pie (here) is their Michigan 4-Berry, which includes tart cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.]

Incidentally, here’s a little tidbit of Michigan trivia – this state is considered the “cherry capitol” of the world, as 75% of the tart cherries (commonly used in pies) are produced right here, in Michigan! Utah and Washington come in at a distant second and third place, respectively.

Speaking of pies, here’s Mom’s editorial on “Pies and Pastries” for that chapter in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1982). That’s the cookbook, using my (1983) 3rd Edition, which I helped her to rewrite for the new digital generation.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 237). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]


IN EARLY AMERICAN TAVERNS, our 1st restaurants in this country, pies were not beautiful nor fancy – but they were good. The custom of baking pies in round, shallow pans (rather than in deep square or oblong pans) originated here for reasons of economy, to stretch scarce food supplies.

Originally comprised of “left-overs”, the colonial American pie was not a dessert, but a side-dish. The colonial cook lined the pan with scraps of bread dough or Hardtack (see Index for my recipe) and filled it with scraps of meats, fruits, nuts, sauce and any other edible “left-overs”.

Fillings, meringue, toppings and garnishes make the easiest recipes look as if it took you all day. Embarrassed by a pie crust that is pale in color with the texture of a biscuit? Simple secrets for copying the restaurant recipes are no longer a mystery to even the beginning cook.

The experienced cook will probably wonder why they hadn’t thought of these tricks sooner. If fast food reminds you only of the franchise restaurants – look again, for these pie and pastry recipes will renew your interest and your enthusiasm in being creative in the kitchen by making pies you thought only a bakery could produce.

Some cooks still insist that “take-off crusts” give apple pies an even better flavor. Sliced apples are arranged in a pastry-lined pie pan, and the top crust is laid on top, but not sealed to the under crust.

When the pie is baked, the top crust is gently lifted off, sugar and spices are sprinkled over the filling and the top crust is carefully put back in place. In experimenting with this colonial technique, I discovered that my Crisco Crust recipe, in this chapter (see Index), works very well.


Both of my grandmas were expert pie bakers, as were their own moms, it’s no wonder Mom became one, as well. I can’t say I carried on the tradition, though. The idiom “easy as pie” certainly doesn’t refer to the ease of baking one, as that requires some time, effort, and skill (for it to be good). Thus, the consensus is that it must refer to the ease of eating one.

According to, the first recorded pie eating contest was supposedly a charity fundraising event, during 1878, in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Pie baking contests have been going on for many, many decades, as well. Countless years ago, I remember my grandma (mom’s mom), telling me about winning 1st place in a pie-baking contest for her apple pie.

Another tidbit of pie trivia is that a 9-inch pie, with a raw fruit filling, will take about an hour or more to bake; while pre-cooked fillings take less time. Also taking less time to bake are the single-serve, (6-inch) mini pies, which take about half the time of the 9-inch ones.

Mom used to say that she relied on her “kitchen angel”, to help with her pie baking – but I believe she was just as talented, at making pies, as her mom was… and, in my biased opinion, Grandma was VERY talented!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 129)

[Reprinted from Gloria Pitzer’s self-published cookbook, Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (1983).]

OUR GUARDIAN ANGEL [aka: Kitchen Witch]

THERE IS AN OLD European custom that places an ornamental Dow, dressed like a witch, in the kitchen of every cook who wishes to see her culinary talents protected. I have, in my time, seen many an ugly kitchen witch and just as many cute witches.

But what do I know about a kitchen witch? I claim not to be superstitious. What I really need in MY kitchen is not a witch – but a guardian angel. It’s not that I am unfamiliar with the kitchen witch.

My cousin, Shirley Cohen, in Van Nuys [CA], sent me my first witch several years ago and the benevolent doll dangled comfortably from the ceiling over the sink for a long time, until her strings snapped, and she fell headlong into a pan of Pine-Sol scrub water and drowned!

She was promptly replaced by another that my friend, Flo, gave me. But her string also snapped one day without any warning, and she tumbled head over heels into a sink of soaking supper dishes.

The next witch in my kitchen (and I disregard that visit from my mother-in-law) was for a very brief duration! She fell off the wooden spoon she was riding and into a blueberry pie cooling on the drain board! So my present contentment is now confined to furthering the notion that kitchen witches are out and guardian angels are in!

Mine is special. I call on my guardian angel to keep me company whenever I’m in the kitchen alone, preparing a favorite dish. I talked to her! Well, maybe to somebody else it sounds like I’m talking to myself, but it’s like ‘thinking out loud’ – except that one makes you an idiot and the other a genius!

But sometimes you have to talk to somebody! Why not to somebody who is not apt to interrupt you as a family of teenagers are prone to do! Guardian angels make very good listeners. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make your burdens lighter!




Thursday, as you gather around your turkey feast with family and/or friends, try not to let the commercialism of the other up-coming holidays interfere with your heart-felt thoughts of gratitude. As for me, I’m eternally grateful for everything that both of my parents gave me and taught me, throughout my life. They are my most inspirational role models.


In honor of November, being National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, AND today, being National Peanut Butter Fudge Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge (from her “Seize Chocolate Fudge” imitation); as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 69).



ADDITIONALLY, from page 7 of the same book, here’s Mom’s EASY-AS-PIE, no-bake, 4-ingredient, “Peanut Butter Pie” recipe!

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


November observes, among other things… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Family Stories Month, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Life Writing Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Novel Writing Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

This week also observes… National Deal Week, which starts the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (22nd-28th for 2023). Plus, it’s also… National Game & Puzzle Week and Better Conversation Week.

Today is also… National Child’s Day!

Tomorrow is… National Gingerbread Cookie Day and National Stuffing Day!

Wednesday, November 22nd is… National Cranberry Relish Day! Plus, as the day before Thanksgiving (for 2023), it’s also… Tie One On Day and National Jukebox Day!

November 23rd is… National Cashew Day, National Eat a Cranberry Day, and National Espresso Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in November (for 2023), it’s also… Thanksgiving Day!

November 24th is… National Sardines Day! Plus, as the day after Thanksgiving (2023), it’s also… National Day of Listening, National Native American Heritage Day, National Black Friday, National Buy Nothing Day, and National Maize Day!

November 25th is… National Play Day with Dad, National Parfait Day, and Shopping Reminder Day! Plus, as the Saturday after Thanksgiving (2023), it’s also… National Small Business Saturday!

Sunday, November 26th is… National Cake Day!


…47 down and 5 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Kindness Is Contagious

Thank God it’s Monday once again, thus, happy Monday to all! I continually look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you.




November is a fantastic time of year. It’s special in so many ways – especially in connection with my memories of Mom. Besides it being… Family Stories Month, National Gratitude Month, National Inspirational Role Models Month, National Life Writing Month, and National Novel Writing Month – it’s also… National Young Reader’s Week!

Moreover, TODAY is World Kindness Day and this whole week is also World Kindness Week! Mom often wrote about all of these things in her syndicated columns and “Food-for-Thought” articles, which she always patchworked into her cookbooks and newsletters, between all of her copycat recipes and household hints.

I think being kind is another one of those observances we should also celebrate daily. We’ve been taught, since we were little, the “Golden Rule” – being kind to each other. Kindness is contagious and it also begets more kindness.

According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, the author “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.”

It’s a shame that the simple act of being kind isn’t normal behavior for everyone. Why is being kind forgotten by so many after they leave kindergarten? Bullies seem to start blooming, like bad weeds, as early as adolescence. Like Mom, I often wonder, “Why can’t we, all, get along?”

My parents’ kindness is only a small example of how they were inspirational role models to me. I’m very grateful that my ancestry is full of infectiously kind people who inspired it in their offsprings and others. I’m proud to do the same, inspiring kindness in my own children, as well.

‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.’ – Aesop


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p.15)


COOKING IS ONE OF THOSE personal accomplishments that afford us all the opportunity to express ‘talent’. We love being approved of. In fact, we eat it up! It’s the little pat on the back that gives us the incentive to continue trying. And where else, but in the kitchen, can you try to win approval with such satisfying results!

I’m very partial to my kitchen because it is the one place in our home where I feel the most comfortable! Whether I’m there alone, working on a recipe, or sitting at my desk, looking for inspiration on a new article I’m writing, or sharing a cup of coffee with a neighbor or a friend, who’s dropped by – it’s my favorite room!

I have a desk in the kitchen right next to the [glass] door-wall that overlooks the yard. Our daughter, Debbie, and our son-in-law, Jim, gave me a flowering Crab [Apple] tree last Mother’s Day, which they planted right in the middle of the yard. I can enjoy it’s flowers each spring; also the very long bare, red branches during the autumn and it’s snow-covered limbs all winter.

It’s my sundial, by which I observe the seasons and the changes involved with this natural wonder. While the Scotch pines around this little tree never change, never go through the transition of bud to blossom to barren branches and then buds again, I can see the contrasts that are parallel to our own personal predicaments.

Some things, places – and yes, even people – never seem to change, while others go through budding and blossoming and withering away, only to come right back to life again in the sunshine of human kindness as does my tree in the sunshine of the seasons.

I’ve spent my entire life being a writer. It’s not what I do, but what I am. I love every minute of it, and by writing about what I have come to know best – cooking – it occurs to me that having a desk in my kitchen was awfully appropriate.

Mind you, I’m not all that crazy about cooking; by default rather than decision, I have learned more about it than any other skill I’ve attempted.

‘We should be caring about the food for thought that can nourish our fragile human spirit feeding our famous affections as we feed our physical bodies. The keep-your-distance, look-out-four-yourself, don’t-get-me-involved emotional menu that has fed our unfeeling society for many years, desperately needs to be sweetened with the milk of human kindness and the yeast of understanding.’ Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p.116)]


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 92)


WHENEVER SOMEBODY HAS MENTIONED to me that they are surprised that the newsletter or the recipe books include non-recipe material, I usually replied, ‘I’m surprised that you’re surprised!’ Food for the table and food for thought should, and often do, go hand-in-hand.

In our publications there will always be room for the kind of material that is humorous and uplifting – as the case may be. I respond easily to the unusual, if it has a beneficial influence on others and find it a joy to share such information.

The response is always encouraging. I am still hearing good comments on the little book we sent out in the fall of 1988, entitled ‘Good Thoughts And Things To Smile About’, which we did not sell, but GAVE to those people we felt we should express appreciation for their kindness and attention either to our work or to our family.

The little acts of overcoming the annoyance, impatience, indifference, apathy, that sometimes seem to be so much a part of our day – can make an enormous difference in the quality of our lives.

This may not always seem easy, but each false tendency can be detected and rejected because it is wholly without foundation. Genuine love, caring, alertness and patience replace annoyance, indifference, apathy and impatience.

Kindness helps others feel valued. Showing even the smallest amount of kindness can go a long way. Many believe that acts of kindness can potentially change lives – not only the lives of the receivers, but also those of the givers, and in more ways than one!

Being kind is renowned to have physical and mental health benefits for, both, givers and receivers. It’s an essential part of an evolving and growing society, bridging divides like race, religion, gender – even politics. It empowers personal energy and self-esteem, making us happier, which is good for our hearts; thereby, helping us to live longer.

‘Greatness is measured by kindness… real worth is measured by consideration and tolerance of others.’ – B.C. Forbes


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 245)


WE LIVE EACH DAY as if we were truly immortal. Of course it gives us the tendency to put off so many little kindnesses, so many little considerations, so many compliments to which those we care about are entitled.

So much of what we should do, but don’t, is due to our having so many tomorrows to foolishly count on, when our now’s are what really matter! We can talk about the ‘if-only’s’ until we’re blue in the face but were not going to change a thing.

It’s just daydreaming in reverse! I would rather spend my daydreams on the ‘what-can-be’ than on the ‘if-only’, for in those ‘what-can-be’s’ my fondest hopes come true. Dreams don’t always coincide with reality, nor do they always prove to be practical, but hopes do!

Hopes our wishes we sometimes call faith. It’s not the mortal ego that manufactures self-serving, self-will, but rather the faith that the heart creates in order to keep from breaking. The secret of seeing our hopes realized is not in eliminating our troubles, but in out-growing them.

Bering a burden is easier when we do it willingly – but it’s even lighter when there are two to share the load. The least we can do is promise ourselves we’ll try, considering that an ‘I’ll try’ sure beats ‘I can’t’, any day of the week.

I’m always amazed at how much inner strength I can find in my weakest moments if somebody is there to encourage me to do better, to want to BE better than I’ve been. For the first several years that we were married, Paul found it very difficult to be encouraging, as if he was supposed to be a kind of disciplinarian, in order to reinforce his position as the head of the house, the breadwinner, the stronger of the two of us.

I see now that it was the way he was brought up – not just being influenced by his family, but by the attitudes of the 1940s and 1950s, when women were not supposed to be equal to men nor, heaven forbid, superior in any way.

The only ingredient that was missing from what I thought could be an otherwise semi-perfect union between us was a sense of humor, seasoned lightly with a sense of forgiveness. If he could be satisfied with my not being perfect, then surely I could accept him for the same reasons. There was an awful lot of false pride being swallowed in those days.


No doubt – being kind changes lives, for the better. It doesn’t cost anything and it has a positive ripple effect that encourages receivers to pay it forward, becoming givers, as well. You can read about a lot of the great health benefits that kindness generates at – The Science Of Kindness.


In honor of Thursday, being National Fast Food Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Loose Hamburger, like National Coney Island”; 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…


November observes, among other things… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Family Stories Month, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Gratitude Month, National Inspirational Role Models Month, National Life Writing Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Plus, this week is also…  Dear Santa Letter Week, which is always the second week of November.

Today is also… National Indian Pudding Day!

Tomorrow is… National Family PJ Day, National Pickle Day, and National Spicy Guacamole Day!

November 15th is… National Bundt (Pan) Day, National Philanthropy Day, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, National Raisin Bran Cereal Day, and America Recycles Day! Plus, as the Wednesday of American Education Week (for 2023), which is always the week before Thanksgiving, it’s also… National Educational Support Professionals Day!

November 16th is… National Button Day and National Indiana Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of November (for 2023), it’s also… the Great American Smoke-Out!

November 17th is… National Baklava Day, National Take A Hike Day, National Homemade Bread Day!

November 18th is… National Vichyssoise Day!

November 19th is… National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day! Plus, as the start of the week of Thanksgiving, it’s also… National Game & Puzzle Week and Better Conversation Week (19th–25th for 2023).


…46 down and 6 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Inspirations and Gratitude

Happy November and Thank God Its Monday again. Thus, happy Monday to everyone! I really look forward to Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!




November is, among other things, National Gratitude Month and National Inspirational Role Models Month. I am personally grateful that Mom was such an inspirational role model to me. Everyone should have a good example to follow. That also means that some of us need to BE good examples, too.

In previous blog posts, I’ve often written about how Mom inspired me – as a writer, artist, crafter, homemaker, cook, mother, and so on. A variety of artistic and creative skills seem to run in my family, particularly from Mom’s side. If there is such a thing as an “artistic gene”, I’m very grateful that my family and I are fortunate to have it.

MY MOTHER IS ANOTHER good example I’ve followed. Her best gift, and greatest asset, is that she’s always been a patient listener and a wise advisor. She was absolutely loyal to my father… The world could turn [its] back on her children, but she would always be there for [us] when we needed her. She’s given me an example that’s going to be tough to equal.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)





November also celebrates… Family Stories Month, National Life Writing Month, and National Novel Writing Month – among other things. Wednesday, the 1st, was also… National Authors’ Day!

These are all things Mom would celebrate, herself; just as these are all things that also celebrate her – as a mom, as well as being the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. Mom was always grateful for the opportunities she was given to inspire others in the kitchen, as well as in writing.

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

Writing was probably the biggest love of Mom’s life (other than Dad and us kids, of course). The authoring seed was planted in Mom’s soul decades before her Secret RecipesTM business began. The seed bloomed into a legacy when she became the “Secret Recipes DetectiveTM”.

By the way, it was her growing fan base from Bob Allison’s “Ask Your Neighbor” radio show (in the Detroit area), in the 1970s, who first dubbed Mom with the afore mentioned title. Mom loved it! She definitely stood out, among all the Betty Crockers of that era.

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book… (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

Mom loved talking about how writing made, for her, a worthwhile living; but, she always added, it especially made living worthwhile. She loved helping others find that joy in recipes and writing, too. Mom was often asked about how Secret RecipesTM began.

I’ve shared several times about how Mom’s love affair with writing began in 1946, at the age of 10, when she saw the Warner Brother’s movie, Devotion. That’s when she began journaling, daily (for over 70 years). Like I’ve said before, that’s real DEVOTION! She aspired to write the great American novel, as any young writer does.

But fate took her writing talents in a different direction, authoring a cookbook every year for 40 years and a monthly newsletter for 27 years. It’s not as easy an endeavor as it may seem. Like blogging, it requires a regular production schedule and a long-time commitment. For success and longevity, it also entails a lot of devotion and promotion.

In promoting her business and products, Mom was inspired by “the world’s most successful salesman”, at that time (in the 1970s), who was a Chevrolet salesman from the Detroit area…


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 43)


TO MAKE THE MIMEOGRAPH pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 [each] and a total of 200 or 300 cards.

These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul didn’t know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved. It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or benefit, would have to be my little secret.

Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too. I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [areas] in the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores.

From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response. What I had at that time was a little book entitled ‘The Better Cookers Cookbook’ [1973], as opposed to our current popular book, ‘…Better Cookery…’ [1982].

…I fondly remember going to the mall with Mom and my sisters, often, to distribute her business cards, while shopping; which was usually followed by lunch in Hudson’s dining room. Mom loved to taste-test their newest menu offerings and write reviews about them, developing her own imitations of them, at home. And I loved to help her!


The Better Cookery Cookbook (1982), mentioned above, is the one I helped Mom rewrite (using her 1983, 3rd edition) for a new digital audience. The project began in 2015 and took a couple years to complete. It was re-titled, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective, and published by Balboa Press (Jan. 2018), just before she passed away.

Aside from being one, herself, Mom had many inspirational role models. Besides her own mother and mother-in-law (and the Bronte sisters), there were also famous comedians, actresses, and authors such as Carol Burnette, Lucille Ball, Erma Bombeck, Carol Duvall, Elsie Masterton, Peg Bracken, and Irma Rombauer, who inspired her.

Mom designed her newsletters (and cookbooks) like warm, comfortable quilts; combining her original recipes, for her copycat cookery concept of “Eating Out At Home”, with her humoristic cartoons, household and gardening hints, cooking tips and tricks, “Food for Thought” ideas, and her previously syndicated, “No Laughing Matter” columns.

All of her creations were uniquely put together, with love and devotion, producing functional works of art; as Mom wanted them to be just as “at home” on the coffee table as they were on the kitchen counter. There was nothing else like it, on the market, back then.


As seen in…

Secret RecipesTM Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; November 2000, p. 2)


SOMETIMES, JUST FOR A moment – other times, for much longer. Nonetheless, we have to deal with each struggle as it arises. We don’t analyze what’s going on. We don’t blame other people for our pain. We don’t justify our fears, today, by regretting what took place in the past.

We’re dealing with our attitude right now – right where we are, in the present moment. We don’t worry about what will or won’t occur in the future. We are capable of making some good decisions when we are called on to make them. Whether we did or not in the past is in the past.

We’re not the same person, today, we were then. We’re not even the same person we were yesterday, but we are learning lessons all of the time. Melody Beattie [who wrote ‘The Language of Letting Go] says [in her book], ‘Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and of loving.’

Among other things, Mom was always grateful for her fans – her readers & radio show listeners – who kept her inspired with their endless requests to find the “secrets” to making this dish or that grocery product at home (and, preferably, at a lesser cost.)

Mom was also very grateful to all the media sources (newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and TV talk shows) that interviewed her and wrote and talked about her new twist on recipes in the food industry, especially in the “fast food” area.


Every day we have an opportunity to be an inspiration to someone else. Something else Mom inspired in me is my passion to continually learn new things. Besides being grateful for something every day, Mom would also promote learning something new every day.

From that, I’ve determined, every day is a defining moment for every one of us. Every day experience, faith and knowledge, all together, influence our personal evolutions.


In honor of November, being Banana Pudding Lovers Month, here are TWO of Mom’s secret recipes for “Pistachio Pudding Cake” and “Pistachio Pudding Frosting” that can be easily “Pitzerized” into “Banana Pudding Cake And Frosting”.

Both recipes are from her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 67). I hope they inspire you to recreate in your kitchen!


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


November’s month-long, food-related celebrations include… Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (which is also in February), and National Vegan Month!

Today is also… National Nachos Day!

Tomorrow is… National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day!

Wednesday, November 8th, is… National Cappuccino Day, National Harvey Wallbanger Day, and National Parents As Teachers Day! 

Thursday, November 9th, is… National Scrapple Day and National Louisiana Day!

Friday, November 10th, is… U.S. Marine Corps Birthday, National Forget-Me-Not Day, and National Vanilla Cupcake Day!

Saturday, November 11th, is… National Sundae Day and Veterans Day!

Sunday, November 12th, is… National French Dip Day, National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day, and National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day! As the start of the week of November 13th (12th-18th for 2023), it’s… World Kindness Week.

Plus, as the beginning of the second week in November, Sunday kicks off… Dear Santa Letter Week and National Young Reader’s Week. Additionally, as the week before the week of Thanksgiving (12th-18th for 2023), it’s also the start of… National Book Award Week.


…41 down and 7 to go!