Mondays & Memories of My Mom – High Costs History Repeats

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



In honor of June, being National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, I’d like to continue with my…


Since grocery prices continue to rise… many people have decided to hone their homesteading skills, by growing at least some of their own food.

There are so many grocery products you can make at home – from soap to soup mix. Mom featured many of these kind of things in her self-published cookbook, The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Gloria Pitzer – Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; August 1980)] – one of my personal favorites.

In the past four years, more people than ever before have started raising chickens, going fishing, and hunting to supplement the rising costs of eggs and meat. You could say homesteading has found a rejuvenation with new generations.

Inflation and the high costs of food is not a new subject. Mom was writing about price increases and the food crisis in her syndicated column, No Laugh ‘N’ Matter, 50 years ago, in the 1970s. I’ll share some of those columns [here]…


“Food For Thought”, a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer (circa mid-1970s)


Food prices aren’t really high! If you don’t believe me – ask Howard Hughes! I have a feeling he’s about one of six people who would not agree with me when I say it would be cheaper to eat money then meat!

If every complaint made in the supermarket aisles was put into writing and addressed to Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C., perhaps the petition of public persuasion would bring relief.

We can only hope that Mrs. Ford has been doing her own food shopping over the last six months, because, until you’ve witnessed the continuously rising costs at the supermarket, you cannot appreciate the need to have somebody do something about it.

Like the weather, talk is cheap. It doesn’t cost anything to complain to a fellow food shopper. But life is hectic and, today, people don’t take the time to do what needs to be done until we all reach a point of extreme disgust and financial exhaustion that we can’t put up with any longer.

In fact, I’ll tell you how hectic life has become. They’re bringing out a new toothpaste with hidden, invisible food particles already in it – for people who don’t have time to eat between brushings. It’s as if everybody’s shouting at once: ‘They said it couldn’t be done.’ So we don’t even bother trying to clamp down with our objections.

If there are any optimists left among us, it’s probably the guy who thinks bread will cost $1 a loaf by 1975. Having the food industry continue to financially badger the American public with spiraling prices (correction: not spiraling – going straight up), is like sending somebody a postcard with the message: ‘Enclosed, please find check!’

The last time I bought a candy bar, I noticed it was 25% smaller than what they put out a month ago and costs 25% more. Nobody would mind this kind of change if we could all be like candy bars – putting out 25% less of ourselves, in the labor force, and collecting 25% more pay.

Then things would be equal. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with price controls that faith, hope, and a little clarity couldn’t cure. The same people who criticize price controls are the ones who get upset when government machines won’t take their credit cards.

But then our whole financial set up in this country is cockeyed! If we make less then X-amount of money a year, the government rewards us with a subsidy – and if we make MORE than X-amount, the government penalizes us with a tax!

When the wealthy start to complain about the price of sugar, bread, and milk and resort to fruit-flavored water for their children, then maybe they’ll be hearing voices in Washington – the right voices, that is, of complaining consumers.

The only trouble is, we all keep waiting for somebody else to initiate some action, by hoping that our own personal ‘spokesman’ will be in the right place at the right time. We’re our own best spokesman – considering that we, the consumers, are already in the right place at the right time every time we set foot down a supermarket aisle.

We can gasp at the canned goods, flinch at the price of meat, cringe at the increase in dairy costs, and go home saddened because we’re borrowing from next week’s paycheck to pay for last week’s groceries.

Well, you know how they’re always saying: ‘Tell it to your Congressman!’ I ran into him last week at the grocery store – and I DID tell him. You know what he told me? ‘Put it in writing!’ Okay, everybody, race you to the mailbox!

Mom was a freelance writer long before she became the Secret Recipes© DetectiveTM. Her natural sense of humor was enhanced by the wonderful comedians of her generation, who inspired her. Her sense of humor didn’t just show through her writings and drawings, but also in her life.

Over 50 years later, I’m still amazed by the timelessness of many of the issues, about which Mom wrote in her columns. The roads still need fixing and there’s still political corruption. Occasionally, we have another food crisis or inflation hike or flood or draught or some other disaster. History continually tends to repeat itself in new forms of old events.

“Food For Thought”, a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer (circa mid-1970s)


Back in the good old days of hearth-minding and homemaking, about all a woman had to be concerned with was disguising her leftovers. Today, we have Hamburger Helper – and what luck! It no longer has anything to help.

Look what’s happened to sugar, for instance. Somebody figured out recently that there has been an 80% increase in the price of sugar in the last 12 months.

What I still can’t understand, though, is how sugar can be so expensive, and be boycotted by so many homemakers, who are learning to do without; and we still have 100% attendance, plus, a membership waiting list, at my weekly Weight Watchers© meeting.

You know what’s wrong with this country? We’re putting Platformate in our gasoline to make it go further – when it’s our money that needs. It’s like adding love to dog food when it’s marriage that needs it.

The new cars are coming out soon and they say these will be going up in price, too. If things get any worse, when you ask to have a foreign economy model, about all you’ll be able to afford is a rickshaw.

I had this ridiculous dream the other night that went much like an editorial cartoon in the newspaper. I saw this large, strong hand come out of nowhere, labeled ‘Public Resistance’. It grabbed the arm of the supermarket dock clerk, who was just about to erase a price on a bag of sugar and stamp on a higher price.

Wouldn’t things be wonderful if it worked that way? If King George had done to sugar what he did to tea, 200 years ago, our forefathers would’ve had to rename Boston Harbor ‘Sugar Bay’!

Perhaps we’ve been so busy, being angry about what is going on in the stock market, we haven’t had the time nor energy to get angry enough to do something about what’s going on in our supermarket.

It isn’t sugar – or cars, or gasoline, or any other of the other commodities we object to being more expensive. Sugar is only a representation of public passive resistance to almost everything that requires individual attention and involvement.

Making money isn’t the real problem these days – it’s saving it that gives us all the trouble. The ‘whatever-the-traffic-will-bare’ theory has become the rule when it used to be the exception. Sugar isn’t the only problem.

Somebody figured out the other day why the price of bread is gone up, too. Remember when they said, ‘man cannot live by bread alone’? He can today if he can get financing!

Somebody reminded us recently that the bumper wheat crop we had not long ago should have kept the price of bread down. Do you know where we buy most of our wheat? Canada! Do you know where they get it? From Russia! And where did Russia get it? From us!

We use to call our loose change ‘pin money’. Today, when somebody mentions ‘pin money’, they’re probably talking about financing a bowling alley. And when you talk about ‘egg money’, it’s probably the down payment on a chicken farm!

Probably, the whole problem of inflation began when we believed the cliché that ‘money isn’t everything’. Today, one trip to the supermarket proves it’s now true! Perhaps it still called ‘cold cash’ because we won’t get to hold onto it long enough to keep it warm.

Politicians try to explain inflation to the laymen. It doesn’t make CENTS – ahhh, but I have a solution! We have to all move to Europe, from our own country, and then apply to the United States for food assistance grants.


Pictured below is another 1970s article by Mom, regarding inflation.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (Les Guêpes, January 1849)


In honor of TODAY, being National Black Cow Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipes for homemade “Highers Root Beer” and “Vanilla Ice Cream”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes, Revised (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; November 1978, pp. 17 & 48, respectively).

[NOTE: A “Black Cow” (aka: “Brown Cow”) is like a root beer float. It can also be made, by substituting chocolate ice cream for the vanilla and/or substituting Coke or Pepsi for the root beer, as seen in Mom’s self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Fast Food Recipes – Reprint (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1985, p. 107).]


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


June observes, among other things… National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, and National Rose Month.

As the second full week in June, it’s… National Little League Week (9th-15th for 2024) AND, through Father’s Day (which is always the 3rd Sunday in June), it’s also… Men’s Health Week (9th-15th for 2024).

Moreover, as the start of the week of National Flag Day (which is always June 14th), it’s also… National Flag Week (for 2024). Furthermore, it’s also the start of Big Boy’s Birthday Week (for 2024) as Big Boy’s birthday is June 15th.

Today is also… National Egg Roll Day, National Herbs and Spices Day, National Iced Tea Day, and…


June 11th, is… National Making Life Beautiful Day, National Corn on the Cob Day, and National German Chocolate Cake Day.

June 12th, is… National Red Rose Day, National Jerky Day, National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, and National Loving Day.

June 13th, is… National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day, National Weed Your Garden Day, and…


June 14th, is… U.S. Army Birthday, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Flag Day, National Bourbon Day, and National New Mexico Day. Plus, as the third Friday in June (for 2024), it’s also, National Take Back the Lunch Break Day. And, being the Friday before Father’s Day (for 2023), it’s also… National Wear BLUE Day.

June 15th, is… National Big Boy Day, National Smile Power Day, and Nature Photography Day.


June 16th, is… National Fudge Day. Plus, as the third Sunday in June (for 2024), it’s also Father’s Day and Turkey Lovers’ Day (and it’s National Turkey Lovers Month, too). The 16th is also Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary.


…24 down, 28 to go!

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