Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Stories Of Our Family

Thank God it’s Monday. I look forward to Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom  and stories of our family with you. Therefore, happy Monday.



Saturday’s National Tell a Story Day. Mom was a wonderful story teller. She could “spin-a-yarn”, as they say, even when she was young. As the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, she incorporated stories into all of her cookbooks and newsletters so they’d be just as “at home” on a living room coffee table as they were on a kitchen counter.

Fact or fiction, stories sell! The fame of things like the Cabbage Patch Kids and Ty Beanie Babies falls largely on the stories created for each of the characters. Every good website these days has an “About” page/tab that tells visitors their special story. We all have stories to tell.

Likewise, we’re drawn to things with stories, especially relatable ones. Mom wrote “our family story” in her book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989). She hoped that it might inspire others to tell their own stories.

Mom often associated stories with her recipe imitations. Again, stories sell! Below is a patch-work quilt of excerpts from her afore mentioned, self-published book – including her story about a bride’s dessert recipe request and the recipe she developed that shocked the bride’s mother-in-law.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 26)


THE MOVIE THAT MADE the biggest impression on me and really started my emotional batteries to move me into writing, was [‘Devotion’] the story of the Brontë sisters  – Anne, Charlotte and Emily Jane. One of them [Charlotte] wrote ‘Jane Eyre’ and [Emily] wrote the classic novel, ‘Wuthering Heights’.

They wrote without the benefit of a typewriter, which made an impression on me then. So, on the way home from the movie, I coaxed my friends into stopping with me at the dime store so I could buy a pack of notebook paper and a pair of long, heavy shoelaces.

I was going to fashion these into a manuscript like the Brontë sisters used in the movie. Ordinarily, we would’ve gone to the Royal Oak Sweet Shop on Main Street near Fourth for a soda or some Divinity or fudge to nibble on, but I was saving my quarter for writing paper.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 86)


I WALKED INTO THE OFFICE [of the Roseville Community Enterprise], kids in tow, and John [McPartlin] asked, ‘what can I do for you?’ To that I replied, ‘it’s what I can do for YOU. I’m here to apply for the job of suburban correspondent.’

He said there had to be some mistake, for they were not looking for one. I told him I realize they were not looking for one, but nonetheless, they did NEED one, and I was prepared to provide them with good articles, reports on area municipal meetings and any other features they would require.

John was reluctant, I am sure, to give me the job, but the association did prove to be a very beneficial one for both of us. I learned to key line while working for him, which enables me to now lay out all of my own work, without the assistance of a ‘publisher’.

From my work with John, I also learned about advertising production and sales and proofreading, as well as typesetting with the IBM composer, the very machine that now sets the type of this page and all of our work, making it ‘camera-ready’.

The important lesson I learned, however, from working under John McPartlin was how to recognize a good story and how to write it properly. My favorite daily newspaper in Boston has the slogan, ‘to bless all mankind and injure no man’. That is how I would want to write my own publications.

I learned, among many things, that writers do – labor for the love of their work, like a lot of people do, and they live with discipline and constant rejections, which ultimately will separate ‘the men from the boys’ in this profession.

The gift is like a slave-master, and the writer must write no matter what else is neglected or sacrificed. So writers settle for rewards of recognition rather than financial security. Security, to a serious writer, is an amplitude of ideas. Seniority means nothing. Effort and ability mean everything.


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 basement]. What do you do with them, then, once you’ve 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 [1972 through 1989] that I’ve 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 [in radio] for acquainting the public with what we’re 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 2008, my brother, Mike set Mom and Dad up with a website,, from which they could advertise their Secret RecipesTM offerings and offer free, sample, copycat recipes for potential customers to try. Each recipe included a story about its source.

It was a more up-to-date way for the public to be in touch with what Mom was doing. Mike managed and ran the website for 10 years for Mom and Dad, from his home in California, since they knew nothing about computers or websites.

The winter after Dad passed, Mom wanted to revive her favorite cookbook, The Better Cookery Cookbook (first printed in 1982), in hopes of reaching out to a new digital generation. But she couldn’t physically self-publish it the way she and Dad had always done, previously.

After decades of saying she’d never let anyone else publish her work, Mom finally consented to letting another publisher do it. It was important that we find a publisher that didn’t want to change what she developed. My brother, Mike, and I researched different publishers.

We finally chose Balboa Press, who was more than happy to republish Mom’s cookbook – almost as is. Only the title of the book had to be changed, per the publisher, because it too closely resembled the title of Betty Crocker’s cookbook.

I tried to explain that was the whole premise of the book, including the title – to “copycat”, like a parody – but they wouldn’t print it, otherwise. Thus, the title was re-configured as Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook The Best of the Recipe Detective.

Because of technology and eBooks, I had to retype Mom’s entire book into Microsoft Word for her, reformatting it to fit the size of the new edition. I also scanned all of her illustrations, choosing which ones were going to be placed in the new edition and where. We omitted some recipes and information that were outdated.

Mom was so happy when she heard her book was “going to print”, once again. She passed away before she got to see the new edition but she had told me that one of her favorite parts of her lifetime was being kind of famous for a little while. She felt blessed to have met so many wonderful people, by being the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM.

After Mom’s passing, I wanted to start writing these blog stories about her legacy as such. I asked Mike if I could post them on the website. Instead, he decided to transfer the whole domain to me that summer (2018). I had to take a crash course in “how to…” – and, 6 years later, I’m still learning.

I established the “Blog” tab for Mondays & Memories of My Mom – which is basically stories of Mom, raising our family and managing a dining-room-table operation. I added a tab about her “Media Friends” and, recently, one for her “Crafts”. I also rebuilt the free “Recipes” tab and added additional information on the “About” and “Cookbooks…” tabs.

Mom wrote many stories about our family and ancestors – but not all of their stories. I wish I could go back in time, to the days when all the relatives would gather together, telling stories about our ancestors, so I could record all of it.

We always think there’s time for that later. Then “later” comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Before we realize it, suddenly it’s too late. Pictures are worth a thousand words but the family stories that were told are worth so much more – at least to me.

Any time spent together, is time for making memories, bonding, and enjoying each other’s company, which is priceless and irreplaceable. Record your family’s stories, whenever everyone’s together to contribute their favorite memories, to tell the next generation.




There are so many great family bonding activities, such as cooking and eating together. Have a family game night or movie night. Go for a walk together. Do volunteer work as a family unit. It’s also National Volunteer Month, by the way. Speaking of which, April is similarly Keep America Beautiful Month and today is National Earth Day, as well.


In honor of April, being National Pecan Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Sweeten House Rice Confetti” (with pecans); as seen… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 278). [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…


April observes, among other things… National Month of Hope, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month.

Today is also… National Girl Scout Leader’s Day, National Jelly Bean Day,

Tomorrow is… National Cherry Cheesecake Day and National Picnic Day.

Wednesday, April 24th, is… National Pigs in a Blanket Day.

April 25th is… National DNA Day, National Telephone Day, and National Zucchini Bread Day. Plus, as the 4th Thursday in April (2024), it’s also… National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.


April 26th is… National Kids and Pets Day, National Pretzel Day, and National South Dakota Day. Plus, as the last Friday in April (for 2024), it’s also… National Arbor Day.

April 27th is… National Devil Dog Day, National Prime Rib Day, and National Teach Children To Save Day [which changes annually.]

April 28th is… National Blueberry Pie Day and National Great Poetry Reading Day. Plus, as the last Sunday in April (for 2024), it’s also… National Pet Parents Day.


…17 down, 35 more to go!


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