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
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
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)]
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 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
EVEN MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 245)
GIVE ME A REASON…
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 RandomActsOfKindness.org – 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!
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 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!