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)
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…
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 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’ , as opposed to our current popular book, ‘…Better Cookery…’ .
…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.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Secret RecipesTM Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; November 2000, p. 2)
GRATEFUL FOR THE STRUGGLES
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!
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!