Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Summertime Appreciation

Thank God it’s Monday, once again. I personally look forward to each and every Monday, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you! Therefore, happy Monday to one and all.





Even though we celebrated the unofficial start of summer several weeks ago, during Memorial Day weekend, Friday is National Daylight Appreciation Day and the OFFICIAL start of summer; also known as the Summer Solstice, which has the most hours of daylight, all year.

Plus, as the day after the Summer Solstice (for 2024), Saturday is the fairly new (since 2019) celebration of National Summersgiving; which blends together all the fun things of summer, with traditional Thanksgiving foods (that have been given some summertime flair), a gathering of family and friends (with whom to share it), and, of course, gratitude.

This is the best time to deep-fry a couple of turkeys – or barbecue a bunch of chicken/turkey legs. Instead of hot vegetables or mashed potatoes and gravy, serve cold potato salad and a raw veggie tray with dip. Instead of cranberry sauce, offer a cranberry fruit punch.

Pictured below is Mom’s holiday recipe for such a punch, as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Copycat Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 112). As always, asking only for proper credit if you care to share it. says, “It’s a celebration of life, rooted in gratitude, to be shared with friends [and family] and the food that makes life fun.” Additionally, “Summersgiving was born from a love of great food, great drinks, and great friends.” I’m always grateful for my family ties and friendships… Gratitude for summer is a given, here, in Michigan.

Summertime appreciation is highly coveted among Michiganders (and other northerners) because winter’s cold seems to hang around a lot longer than just during the official winter months. Therefore, summer is a welcomed reprieve and we don’t hesitate to celebrate it, in any way possible, for as long as possible.

Any excuse to celebrate something with food is a good excuse. Other big, outdoor, summertime celebrations with food include Father’s Day, 4th of July, graduation parties, family reunions, company picnics, class reunions, weddings and receptions.

Additionally, you’ll find a variety of festivals, carnivals, and fairs sprinkled throughout our state; reveling in appreciation of our coveted summer months, celebrating summertime fun (outside) with food and entertainment – music and art and midway rides are often found nestled amid lush, natural settings or in the hearts of many downtown areas.

You’ve probably heard of Christmas in July – thus, it only follows – why not also celebrate Thanksgiving in June? What’s another foodie celebration going to hurt? It’s a great reason for a grand summer version of one of America’s most popular holidays, combining boundless summer harvests and thankfulness with a backyard gathering of family and friends.

By the way, June is also Turkey Lovers Month. Also, keep in mind, as I mentioned in my last two blog posts, June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month.

According to 7 Ways to Celebrate Summersgiving, by, “Because of the abundance of summer harvests, summertime is the easiest time to fill your plates with fresh fruits and vegetables that will help you stay healthy…”

Incidentally, Thanksgiving happens to be the number one food-celebrated holiday. Super Bowl Sunday ranks second, as being celebrated primarily with food, even though it’s not an official holiday (yet).


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair MI; Nov-Dec 1989, p. 4)


THE MAKE-AHEAD DISHES for the Thanksgiving dinner will help to relieve the cook of those last-minute chores and this leaves more time to enjoy the company. After all, the reason we gather together on this occasion is not to make the food more important than those with whom we share the feast.

A list of what you intend to serve is the first thing to take care of. From this you make up the grocery needs and the dishes that can be prepared…in advance…and then checked off the list so [you] can see what is left to take care of.

It sounds to some like ‘work’ but cooking for a big group is not as much WORK as it can be a LABOR OF LOVE and the efforts you put into the party will be well-appreciated when the day arrives. These occasions are what memories are made of and memories can be quite comforting!

Sharing a meal with loved ones is a natural way to express gratitude and appreciation for the people in our lives. It also creates special bonds and connections among the different generations, with memories that will last a lifetime. Besides which, indulging in holiday meals is also a guilty pleasure that we all secretly share. All diets are placed on vacation.

As for appreciating the summertime months, to hear Mom tell it, was pure drudgery when me and my siblings were all young and out of school and underfoot, along with the neighborhood kids who came to our house to hang out because we always had a lot of great, homemade, snack foods around.

But we also provided her with extra help, when need be, for her cottage style, family-operated, recipe business. We never dared say we were bored, during the summer months, when we were out of school. There was always something to do. If we couldn’t find it on our own, Mom always did it for us.

But, truth be told, when we all grew up and eventually moved out on our own – some of us having families of our own, too – the empty nest syndrome hit Mom and Dad hard. So family gatherings, for any reason, became even more special.

They, both, re-appreciated having little ones around, on which to dote; when their grandkids were out of school, for the summer, and visiting while my sister and I sometimes worked for them. Dad couldn’t resist taking them all out for ice cream, at the local Stroh’s Ice Cream parlor, or to a nearby summer carnival or festival.

Mom used to preach to us kids that sometimes we have to have something, lose it and then get it back again, to really appreciate the value of it.’ That can also apply to the summertime conditions, which Michiganders only get to really enjoy June through September; as well as to the things we have. However, it especially applies to the people in our lives.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 210)


THE PRESSURES OF BEING individuals has taken precedence over being part of a family, of working out the marriage details with this much celebration as we do the wedding day.

Noting the number of considerations to be examined by the public, one would wonder why these long-standing complaints have not been relieved, much less removed, from our lives since the family unit has been revised for the betterment of mankind and the emancipation of the individual!…

Sometimes we have to have something, lose it and then get it back again, to really appreciate the value of it – whether it’s a relationship or a position or a condition. We take too much for granted and expect the happiness we feel we are entitled to enjoy, to be a cosmetic composition of every ideal we ever held dear.

Family ties are among those values that we can toss aside and think we can live without, but whenever there has been the least measure of strength and merit to our relationships within our family, we eventually find we want to come back to them!

‘When we first moved to St. Clair, from… Algonac, I woke up every morning and went to bed every night with sincere feelings of gratitude for just being here! It occurred to me the other day that it has been several months since I stopped to appreciate the good in our life, to stand in of the simple pleasures we could enjoy…’ – Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipe Report (Secret Recipe Report, St. Clair, MI; Issue 84, December 1980; p. 2)


Summersgiving is another great excuse to plan a special backyard celebration – and I love any excuse to create a checklist – so below is my list of some simple suggestions, for hosting a terrific, backyard, summer celebration.


  • Obviously, set a date and time for the gathering. It doesn’t have to be this Saturday.
  • Invite your family and friends – by text or Messenger or some other chat system. If you have time, you can mail out formal invitations or you can hand them out, personally. You can also create an event on Facebook that gives details of the date, time, and what to bring (if anything).
  • Ask guests to bring a potluck dish-to-pass that would accompany the main dish (which may be, for example, deep fried turkey or barbecued chicken/turkey legs).
  • Set up a tent for the food, with a couple of long tables (using galvanized tubs or kid-size pools filled with ice) for the guests’ appetizers, side dishes, and desserts that need to be kept cold. Set up a small table with paper plates, napkins, plasticware, toothpicks, salt and pepper, etc.
  • Offer coolers filled with ice and bottles of water, for everyone. Maybe make Mom’s “Cranberry [Holiday] Punch”, as well.

  • Put a couple of garbage cans and recycling bins nearby.
  • Set up tables and chairs, where people can sit and eat and mingle.
  • Don’t forget “the kids’ table”. Isn’t there always a kids’ table? I usually place coloring and sketch books, plus crayons, on one table for them.
  • Set up a few lawn games and a small bonfire for guests to enjoy.
  • Play a variety of party music.
  • Decorate in a summer or tropical theme. The Dollar Tree stores offer a lot to choose from so you don’t have to “break the bank” on this event.


In honor of TODAY, being National Cherry Tart Day, here’s Mom’s “shortcut cooking” recipe for “Cherry Tarts”; as seen in her self-published newsletter, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; July-Aug. 1997, Issue 181, p. 7). As always, I’m asking only for proper credit if you care to reshare it.


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.

Yesterday, as the third Sunday in June (for 2024), began… National Play Catch Week, Animal Rights Awareness Week, and Universal Father’s Week.

Today is also… National Eat Your Vegetables Day (and it’s… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, too), National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, and National Apple Strudel Day.

Tuesday, June 18th, is… National Go Fishing Day and National Splurge Day.



Wednesday, June 19th, is… National Garfield the Cat Day, Juneteenth, and National Martini Day.

Thursday, June 20th, is… American Eagle Day, National Vanilla Milkshake Day, and National Ice Cream Soda Day.

June 21st is… National Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day, National Selfie Day, National Arizona Day, National Seashell Day (which is always the first Day of Summer). Plus, as the Friday after Father’s Day (for 2024), it’s also… Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Saturday, June 22nd, is… National Chocolate Eclair Day and National Onion Rings Day.

Sunday, June 23rd, is… National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, National Hydration Day, National Pink Day, and National Pecan Sandies Day.


…25 down, 27 to go!

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