Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Pen Pals And Handwriting

Once again, Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


Summer has unofficially started and I’m so looking forward to summertime road trips and picnics like I wrote about last week. I’m also looking forward to going camping, again! June is just a few days away and it celebrates, among other things, National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month! I’ll be writing more about that next week.


Today, I want to write about pen pals, as Thursday is not only the start of June, but also National Pen Pal Day! Handwriting and letter writing are becoming things of the past – nostalgia keeps it hanging on by a thread, though.

Have you ever been a pen pal? Many young pen pal relationships start from a brief friendship at summer camp or as strangers that never met, such as through a school writing program or magazine ad. Nowadays, you can get pen pals online.

My first time, as a pen pal, was when I was in 5th grade and “assigned” a pen pal who was also in 5th grade, in another state. That was through a national school writing program. We only corresponded for one semester.

We learned about each other’s likes and dislikes, families and friends, as well as school and community events. I loved being and having a pen pal. I wrote to several others, over the following years, most of whom I found through ads in various teen magazines.

It was wonderful, getting mail addressed to me and reading about my new friend’s life in another state. And the reciprocation was just as special. Eventually, most stopped writing, as they got older and busier, which happens often. Very seldom do people ever maintain friendships from childhood into their teen years, let alone into adulthood.

However, I’ve remained friends with one pen pal for over 46 years, now! Although, nowadays, other than some notes on our annual Christmas cards, we don’t physically write letters to each other anymore because we often keep in touch on Facebook. We’ve still never met in person, though.

Sometimes pen pal relationships last less than a year. However, most pen pals remain friends for many years – some for a lifetime. The best pen pals are usually those with common interests or who are open-minded to learning about other people, cultures, and languages. Pen pals generally want to connect with the world outside their own borders.

Pen pals can be people who already know each other but live far apart. Most often, pen pals are strangers that never meet in person. Through an exchange of letters, they share mutual interests and teach each other about their different backgrounds, religions, and lifestyles.

Mom was pen pals, for her entire adult life, with one of her classmates that had moved to New York. She also offered a monthly pen pal exchange in her newsletter, during its first year of publication, in 1974. Mom always encouraged my own pen pal friendships when I was young.


I ALWAYS TRY TO BE brief in my messages of importance to someone on whom I wish to make an impression. As often the importance of what you want to say is lost in too many words. Another writer [Robert Southey, English Poet (1774-1843)] put it best: ‘Be brief, for words are like sunbeams – the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 62)


According to, pen pals “are people who regularly write to each other, particularly via postal mail [aka: snail mail]. Pen pals are usually strangers whose relationship is based primarily, or even solely, on their exchange of letters.”

The term, “pen pals” (which began as “pen friends” in the 1920s), has steadily been around since the 1930s; thanks to the Student Letter Exchange society, formed in 1936, to help people find suitable pen pals. It also helped students from different countries connect through letters and learn about each other’s cultures, while improving reading and writing skills.’s The World’s Oldest Pen Pals Have Turned 100 Years Old [author unknown (Jan. 9, 2023)] is a really interesting and inspiring 2-minute read about a British man and American woman who’ve been pen pals since 1938, when they were both 16 years old. They both recently turned 100 years old and still correspond (with some help). Check it out!

At, How to Find a Modern-Day Pen Pal, by Alexandra Lim-Chua Wee (April 16, 2019), is a great source from which to start, if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to establish a pen pal relationship – with a peer, an active military member or a veteran, a senior citizen, a “shut-in”, or someone from another country just to name some examples.

Nowadays, we mostly use email and social media platforms, for corresponding. But some of us “older folk” still prefer the old-fashion way – handwritten, with pen and paper (maybe even fancy stationary), an envelope and stamp, a walk to the mailbox, and don’t forget to put the flag up so your postal carrier knows there’s mail waiting to go out!

It’s the simple things in life – like getting or sending a personal letter or card in the postal mail (aka: snail mail) – that still thrill some of us and make us smile, with happy memories of days gone by.

If you’ve never been a pen pal, you may be wondering: “What should I write in my first letter?” I suggest that you first write about where you found their details. Then begin your initial introduction – the basics of who you are – such as name, age, occupation (or grade, if a student), where you’re from, a little about your family/pets (if any).

Next, share your common interests and other details about yourself – hobbies and interests, likes and dislikes. You can also write about what your typical day is like. Keep it personalized but don’t overdo it. Ask your pen pal some questions about their life but, again, don’t overdo it. Save some for the next letter, too.

In From Me, With Love: The Lost Art of Letter Writing (Nov. 26, 2016), as seen on, the author, Jon McGregor, wrote:

“I asked people to send us letters; real letters, written by hand and sent through the post. I sat in the office with my student assistants and waited for the letters to arrive. There was something exciting about sorting through the pile, letters from Canada and the US, from Spain and Germany and France, from Donegal and Dublin and Brighton and Tring. We set to work with the letter knives and started to read. I was hoping that they would, while still being framed as letters, take the form of stories, essays, poems, memoir, criticism. What actually happened was that almost everyone wrote about the nostalgic and rare pleasure of sitting down to write a letter at all.”

Reading and writing have many benefits – physically, mentally, and emotionally. They’re great, simple “workouts” that stimulate brain function. Writing is a wonderful way for seniors to exercise their minds and hands. Pen pals often write about their day’s events or current affairs, which helps keep one’s mind sharp.

Therefore, writing is also known to help with memory and putting your life events in perspective with how people in other parts of the world live, too. Writing also improves communication skills, productivity, and overall happiness; while decreasing stress and anxiety.


Handwriting is becoming a thing of the past. Everything is written electronically these days – school papers, emails, texts, even notes. In the unending, human quest for making life easier, the latest contributor to the dying practice of writing, is AI – Artificial Intelligence. Personally, I think it’s a scary thing.

In general, writing anything by hand is becoming a lost practice. I’ve heard that cursive writing (penmanship) isn’t even taught in school anymore. Although “handwriting” and “penmanship” are often used interchangeably, they’re really not the same. “Handwriting” is self-described – the act of writing by hand. “Penmanship” is the ability to write legibly.

Remember when we all used to send and receive handwritten holiday, birthday, and anniversary cards, as well as “Thinking of You” and “Thank You” notes? They are all becoming dying traditions.

Thankfulness is an emotion. Gratitude is an attitude – that of appreciation under any circumstance. Gratitude involves being thankful, but it’s more than just that. Gratitude means being thankful and appreciative of life every day – even when it’s a bad day or nothing special is happening.


IN THE MEANTIME, we open letters every day from people all over the world, saying ‘thank you for writing your books’ – ‘I feel as if I know you just from reading your books’ – ‘I don’t know whether to keep up on reading or run to the kitchen and bake something’ – and then I know [nothing can] keep me from continuing with this work. – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. xv)


In honor of TODAY, still being May and National Salad Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Chicken Salad Like Hudson’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Secret Fast Food Recipes – Revised (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Oct. 1998, 20th printing, p. 28).

I also gave this recipe out a couple of years ago, on Kathy Keene’s Good Neighbor’ radio show, on WHBY (Appleton, WI). Kathy has since retired. The show was discontinued and, unfortunately, my link to the recorded audio doesn’t work anymore.


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


May is still celebrating, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!



Today is also… National Coq Au Vin Day! Plus, as the last Monday in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Memorial Day!

Tomorrow is… National Creativity Day, National Water a Flower Day, and National Mint Julep Day!

May 31st, is… National Macaroon Day, National Utah Day, and National Smile Day! Plus, as the last Wednesday in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Senior Health & Fitness Day!

Thursday begins the month of June, which observes, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, 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, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

June 1st, is also… National Olive Day, National Say Something Nice Day, and National Hazelnut Cake Day!

June 2nd, is… National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Day! This day is also National Leave The Office Early Day – unless June 2nd falls on a weekend day then it’s observed on the nearest [Friday or Monday] business day. Plus, as the first Friday in June (for 2023), it’s… National Doughnut Day, too!

June 3rd, is… National Egg Day [which should be in May, with National Egg Month], National Repeat Day, and National Chocolate Macaroons Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in June (for 2023), it is also… National Trails Day, National Bubbly Day, National Prairie Day, and National Play Outside Day [which is the first Saturday of every month]!

Additionally, starting the first Saturday in June and running through the second Saturday (June 3rd-20th for 2023), it’s… International Clothesline Week and National Fishing and Boating Week!

June 4th, is… National Cheese Day, National Cognac Day, and National Hug Your Cat Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in June (for 2023), it’s also… National Cancer Survivor’s DayAdditionally, starting the first Sunday in June (4th-10th for 2023), it’s… National Gardening Week and Community Health Improvement Week!


…22 down and 30 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Summer Road Trips and Picnics

Thank God Its Monday again! I love Mondays. They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!




You can almost feel summer in the air now. Even though it doesn’t really start until June 21st, Memorial Day has become the unofficial start of summer. And this Friday is the unofficial start of the Memorial Day weekend. Among other things, Friday is also National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! 


When my parents were empty-nesters and needed a break from their long work week, they’d often go on a road trip somewhere – for the day or the weekend. It didn’t matter if it was a planned trip or a “new scenic route” (when Dad got lost), because they were together, exploring, and enjoying Michigan’s beautiful scenery.

Did you know that Michigan has 3,288 miles of coastline that borders four of the five Great Lakes? It’s the longest freshwater coastline in the U.S. In fact, regardless of water type (sea or fresh), Michigan is only in second place, to Alaska, in total length of coastline.

Sometimes, however, “work” would manage to creep back in, because whenever they stopped for a bite to eat, Mom always managed to find someone’s [restaurant] “house special” that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got home.

Whenever possible, my husband and I LOVE to go on road trips to different areas in our scenic state of Michigan, just like my parents used to do. We really enjoy exploring the sparkling, blue water shorelines of the Great Lakes, surrounding most of our state; as well as the in-land lakes, small towns, rivers, forests, farmlands, and parks.

Additionally, Sunday is celebrating National Beef Burger Day and National Hamburger Day, all of which adds up to more great reasons for a road trip and picnic (or a backyard barbecue) this weekend to celebrate the unofficial start of summer!

May is coming to a close soon so, this weekend, celebrate that it’s still National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month, American Cheese Month, National Egg Month, and National Salsa Month!

What are your favorite go-to picnic or backyard barbecue foods? Among classic picnic treats, the finger foods that travel well and won’t spoil on a warm day include sandwiches/wraps, fried chicken, fresh vegetables and fruit. Remember – if anything has mayo in it, keep it chilled!

Aside from the “main dish”, popular picnic foods include appetizers like deviled eggs, pigs-in-a-blanket, and stuffed mushrooms; sides like mac-n-cheese or baked beans; coleslaw and salads like pasta, potato, veggie, and fruit; desserts like pies, brownies, bars, and cookies; plus, snacks like string cheese, meat sticks, chips, pretzels, and trail mix.

Just as in any celebration, throughout the year, a very important part of picnic activities, besides socializing, getting fresh air, and making memories, is eating the food! Therefore, I’m including, here, a list (based on a Google search consensus) for 10 popular food choices to take on a picnic.

10 Popular Picnic Food Picks:

    • Fried Chicken
    • Hot Dogs
    • Sandwiches/Wraps
    • Pasta Salad
    • Potato salad
    • Baked beans
    • Deviled Eggs
    • Watermelon
    • Brownies
    • Pie

Things to do on a picnic outing (besides eating) include playing music, singing/dancing, walking, playing table/yard games, bird watching, people watching, sun bathing; plus, if you’re at a beach, you can add in searching for skipping stones or sea shells, swimming, fishing, and building sand castles.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’ – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… “GOOD SAM – CARING AND CAMPING”, from Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)]

You don’t need to go on an expensive, fancy vacation or plan an extravagant party to reconnect with family and friends over the Memorial Day weekend. A simple picnic is a fun and relaxing way to gather and make memories. But if you want to have MORE than a “simple” picnic…

Have you ever heard of a mystery picnic? I recently discovered this fun twist on our iconic, seasonal tradition at, out of Australia. I can’t wait to create and host my own scavenger hunt style picnic for a special summer gathering with friends and family!

According to the website, “mystery picnics” combine travel, food, and fun; while solving a series of clues that take you to various places, where you collect things to add to the “picnic basket” at the final destination. It’s a fun idea to explore the area, as you collect “picnic basket items”, and then gather with the other guests to share your collection and adventures.

The difference between a treasure hunt and scavenger hunt is slight. A treasure hunt has only one thing for which to hunt (aka: the treasure) – the first one to find it wins. Once “the treasure” is found the hunt is done for everyone. A scavenger hunt offers each guest a list or variety of things to find/collect.

Both hunts use riddles and clues to send participants from one place to another. Usually, participants can work in pairs or in teams or individually. A scavenger hunt is typically played in an extensive outdoor area but it can also be scaled down to play at home, like a treasure hunt.

The host typically creates a “trail”, so that the answer to one clue reveals the next one. You can either write them on pieces of paper hidden at the chosen locations or put them in an “online” forum (like an “event” or “group” page on Facebook) that gives clues to the answers, as well.

The first riddle should be included in the initial invitation. Guests have to figure it out before they start, so they know where to go first and collect something for the picnic, along with a clue to the next destination. Repeat as often as necessary, before getting to the final destination – the “mystery picnic” spot.


A checklist comes in handy, when packing for anything. I use part of my camping checklist for my picnic “basket”, which is actually a plastic tote. It’s always on the ready so I can easily throw it in the trunk of our car, along with a food bag and cooler, whenever my husband and I want to go on a spontaneous, all-day Road Trip.

It may seem like a lot of stuff but it actually packs up fairly small and compact. As a Mom of three, I learned from my own mom, over the years, (as she used to have to pack for a family of seven) how to pack 10 pounds of stuff in a 5-pound bag. I found organization is key. As the old adage says: “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!”


In honor of May, also being National Salad Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Macaroni (or Potato) Salad, Like the Colonel’s; as seen in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 29). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

I also gave this recipe out a couple of years ago, on Kathy Keene’s Good Neighbor’ radio show, on WHBY (Appleton, WI). Kathy has since retired. The show was discontinued and, unfortunately, my link to the recorded audio doesn’t work anymore.




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


May also celebrates… National Asparagus Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Today is… National Craft Distillery Day, World Paloma Day, National Maritime Day, National Solitaire Day, and National Vanilla Pudding Day!

Tomorrow is… National Lucky Penny Day and National Taffy Day!

Wednesday, May 24th, is… National Yucatan Shrimp Day, Brother’s Day, National Escargot Day, and National Wyoming Day! 

Thursday, May 25th, is… National Brown-Bag It Day and National Wine Day!

May 26th, is… National Blueberry Cheesecake Day! Plus, as the Friday before Memorial Day (for 2023), it’s also… National Don’t Fry Day! 

Saturday, May 27th, is… National Grape Popsicle Day!

Sunday, May 28th, is… National Brisket Day!


…21 down and 31 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Etiquette and Manners

Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



As the second full week of May, this is National Etiquette Week! According to, Etiquette is a code of ethics or set of standards for acceptable social and personal behaviors, which are observed and practiced in polite societies, as well as in social classes or groups.

Etiquette refers to socially suitable and responsible behaviors. In simpler words, it’s a guideline of customs for good manners and civil conduct in a cultured society. Synonyms for “good mannered” include civil, considerate, cordial, courteous, and gracious, according to

There are a lot of great benefits that come from using good manners. Obviously, it makes you more pleasant to be around and draws others to you, like a magnet. Knowing how to behave and what is expected of you, in various social situations, produces positive reinforcements from others. Another benefit is that it helps build confidence and self-esteem.

My husband and I were recently discussing how our parents taught us these things (etiquette and manners) throughout our childhoods. We raised our children in the same manner. Somewhere along the way, parents stopped teaching these things to the next generations. I work in retail – so I witness it all the time.

Some examples of using proper etiquette include saying things like “please”, “thank you”, “I’m sorry”, and “excuse me”. Be punctual, professional, responsive, and respectful. Practice active listening and don’t interrupt others. Speak with kindness, honesty, a smile, and eye-contact. Give compliments and avoid negative remarks and criticisms.

The list goes on and on! Open doors for others. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Dress appropriately. Shake hands/fist-bump in greetings or agreements. Don’t be boastful or arrogant. Respect your elders. Be kind and compassionate. Show appreciation and gratitude.

Table manners and meal etiquette is usually different at home than it is at someone else’s house or out in public. Commonly though, chew with your mouth closed; be observant of your surroundings and other people; read the room and choose your words/topics wisely, watching your volume, as well. Avoid using your cell phone in social settings.

These are all examples of good manners that show consideration for others. Holidays, weddings, funerals, and church services are other settings/events that follow certain rules of conduct (or etiquette). Etiquette and good manners are essential in life, as they help us to behave well at home and in society.


As seen in…

No Laughing Matter, By Gloria Pitzer (Circa 1971)


SOMETHING HAS GOT TO be done about etiquette books. All of them seem to be written for grownups. This makes as much sense as sending Twiggy to a sauna bath. The grownups I know have beautiful manners. It’s a joy to be in their company.

On the other hand, how many children are invited to catered [affairs]? Give a grownup a present for his [or her] birthday and he [or she will] be as happy as a hippy with a new string of beads. He [or she] doesn’t burst into tears and declare outrageously: ‘But I already have a Hot Wheels [or Barbie] case!’

Emily Post has wasted her energies on adults. She should have directed her talents to children. We’re all aware of little children’s charms. I have noticed this whenever I take my 4-year old with me.

I have yet to have the produce manager at the ‘A & P’ pat me on the head and offer me an apple. Nor has the bank teller offered me a sucker, only to hear me rapt: ‘But I want a purple one. I hate green!’

The experts claim children learn by example rather than precept. I wish they would then explain why a child would rather sit ON the table or UNDER it, when parents sit on chairs – with all four legs of that chair on the floor, yet!

Most parents hope to instill in their offspring, during infancy, the simple precept of keeping their fingers out of the Pablum; and accelerate it through teenage adolescence, with more sophisticated postulates of good table manners.

We then hope they come to know that forks are NOT for tapping table legs or catapulting peas off of somebody’s head. Heaven knows we parents try! Yet, children, in spite of their endearing young charms are not socially in demand.

Grandmothers do not invite them to spend the entire summer with them – a weekend, maybe! And you’re not about to serve fondue to them, at dinner because, for one thing, little children would rather build something out of their mashed potatoes than eat them.

The trouble with children is they fail to realize that parents are emotionally insecure. And the reason children must be taught to conform to basic social graces is that, someday, they too will be adults. They too will become attached to certain material objects they will respect and cherish and want others to respect and cherish…

Like plants and vases and ball point pens – that bicycles are very expensive and should not be left in the drive-way, where the garbage man might run over them.

A six-year old cannot understand, even though you’ve explained it to her 37 times why she cannot take your silver gravy ladle to the sandbox or your wiglet to ‘show-and-tell’. But just wait until you try to throw out a bald-headed Barbie doll, with a string missing from her back and [only] one leg.

Reasoning and civilized behavior are what distinguishes human beings from animals. We start to learn etiquette at a very young age – from our parents and family, as well as from institutions like schools, churches, and businesses.

There are a variety of different “codes of etiquette”, depending on diverse places and events – such as in a store, place of business, or corporation; during formal/informal “meetings”, at weddings and funerals, while dining/eating out, when talking on the phone, and even bathroom usage.

Kids are sponges. Teach them early about good behavior. It takes a village – so set good examples for them to follow! Etiquette is not written rules with which everyone HAS to comply, or else. However, there are consequences to bad behaviors, while good behaviors are rewarded. When we use good manners, life is so much more pleasant!

Etiquette teaches us how to behave appropriately and treat others respectfully, in any context – such as being a good neighbor and citizen. There’s also proper etiquette for travel, in workplaces and schools, and on the internet [aka: netiquette]. By the way, National Business Etiquette Week is the first full business week [Monday to Friday] in June.

‘I believe these people agree that there is a greater need to recognize decency and honesty, but in good taste; savoring dependability, unselfishness, compassion and, yes, good manners – all of which are basic to the good life for both the individual and the community.’ – Helen Hayes (in a commencement address). [As seen in… This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17).]


As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)


EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE a few good examples to follow at some time in their life. I’m fortunate to have found several… My next door neighbor is one good example to follow.

She’s the one [who’ll] take a cake to a new neighbor, to welcome them. And she’s the one [who’ll] collect for flowers if there’s a death in the neighborhood. She always waves when she sees another neighbor and always smiles. A good example!

My mother is another good example I’ve followed. Her best gift and her greatest asset is that she’s always been a patient listener and a wise advisor. She was absolutely loyal to my father, through all of his mistakes, in each of his blunders.

The world could turn their backs 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. In time though, I hope that I can say I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.

Have you noticed how much neighboring and neighborhoods have changed over the years? In the past, people used to bring their new neighbors casseroles or baked goods, just to introduce themselves and say, “Hi! Welcome to the neighborhood!” Years ago, neighbors often offered to help with the “move-in” or some other project.

Sometimes they’d stop by for a cup of coffee and some small talk, chatting about current events and asking questions about each other. According to, Neighborhood Etiquette used to include sharing things like tools and garden equipment, so everyone didn’t have to go out and buy expensive items that they didn’t often use.

Neighborhood parties and barbecues are becoming faded memories as people barely know their neighbors anymore. By the way, tomorrow is National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day. Let’s get back to being good neighbors!


All forms of good etiquette begin with “The Golden Rule” – treat others as you would like to be treated. We’ve been taught this since we were toddlers in a sandbox. Why does it seem like so many of us tend to forget about that once we age into the double digits?

According to Wikipedia’s analysis of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum (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.” Basic etiquette.


In honor of Saturday, being National Pick Strawberries Day, and May, being National Strawberry Month, PLUS Wednesday, being National Juice Slush Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipes for Strawberry Brutus and Brutus Orange Beverage, as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes Cookbook – Revised (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1978, 4th Printing; p. 17). Remember Brutus? He’s the one who “did in” Julius!



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


May celebrates, among other things… American Cheese Month, National Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, and National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!



The second full week in May [14th-20th of 2023] also celebrates… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week! Additionally, National Bike to Work Week [14th-20th of 2023] is always the week of National Bike to Work Day, which is the 3rd Friday in May [19th for 2023]!

Today is also… National Chocolate Chip Day and National Nylon Stocking Day!

Tomorrow is… National Barbecue Day, National Love a Tree Day, National Mimosa Day, and National Biographer’s Day!

Wednesday, May 17th, is… National Pack Rat Day, National Cherry Cobbler Day, National Walnut Day, and National Idaho Day!

Thursday, May 18th, is… National Visit Your Relatives Day, National No Dirty Dishes Day, and National Cheese Soufflé Day!

May 19th, is… National Devil’s Food Cake Day! Plus, as the 3rd Friday in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Pizza Party Day, National Bike to Work Day, and National NASCAR Day!

May 20th, is… National Be a Millionaire Day, National Rescue Dog Day, and National Quiche Lorraine Day! Plus, as the 3rd Saturday in May(for 2023), it’s also… National Armed Forces Day and National Learn to Swim Day! 

Sunday, May 21st, is… National Waitstaff Day, National Strawberries and Cream Day, and National Memo Day!


…20 down and 32 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Small Business, Big Service

Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!




Once again, it’s National Small Business Week! Small Business Saturday is officially the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but I think it should be observed EVERY Saturday – or any day that ends in “y”, for that matter.

First Friday is a special, monthly event that various communities celebrate. It brings small businesses together with arts and entertainment, attracting locals to explore their downtown area more.’s blog, What is First Friday, is an excellent read about what this kind of event does for small local businesses, in their communities.

The SBA describes small businesses simply as having less than 500 employees. And so called “Mom & Pop shops” (which are very small businesses) are key contributors to the American economy, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Small businesses are the backbone of every community, as well as our country as a whole. Most towns also have a Chamber of Commerce, which is another excellent source through which small businesses can network with each other and their community, to better their company.

“Mom & Pop” is a popular expression, used to describe very small, independent, generally family-owned businesses. These “shops” are typically in one location and are operated by a small number of family members, serving their local community. By the way, National Independent Retailer Month is officially observed in July.

I’ve often shared Mom’s story, of how she quit her job at a local newspaper, in the early 1970s, and went home to start her own small business, using her innovative copycat cookery concept for “eating out at home”.

It was in the early 1970s, while writing a food column for a local newspaper, that Mom broke new ground in the food industry, with her “copycat cookery”. While saving on our family budget and answering the similar needs of her readers, she discovered how to imitate America’s favorite fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products right at home!

At first, the editors, where she was working, loved it because the readers loved it. Then a food company, from which Mom imitated a dish, complained to them and threatened to pull their ads (and money) from the paper. Rather than go back to writing old boring recipes and content, Mom decided to launch her own small news and recipes business.

She never really knew what was in the closely guarded secret recipes of the food industry – unless someone shared a recipe with her, which a few did – but Mom did know how to investigate a dish or food product (by look, taste, smell, touch, etc.), figuring out how to make it herself.

For 40 years Mom wrote and, with Dad’s help, self-published more than 40 cookbooks, as well as hundreds of newsletter issues. Over the decades, her recipe catalog grew from a few dozen copycat recipe imitations to a couple hundred to tens of thousands! My sisters and I helped out whenever possible. It was definitely a FAMILY enterprise.

I don’t know a single, small business owner who doesn’t put in a LOT of hours (about 60-80 hours per week). Mom and Dad were no different. On a slow day, they’d have at least 100 letters to open, read, and answer. Besides the occasional TV appearance or media interview, throughout each week Mom also had regular radio interviews scheduled.

When Mom was on a big radio show (syndicated or large area coverage), there’d usually be, soon afterward, thousands of letters to go through and answer. They built up their business (and reputation), by giving their customers great service; being honest, dependable, and quick to respond to their requests.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 70)


LET ME ASSURE YOU, there is no formula for furthering a business like ours. Many people have asked for advice in writing and publishing a cookbook or putting out a newsletter like ours and have seemed so disappointed when I also assure them that I cannot convey to them in a brief letter [or] conversation, what it has taken me nearly 20 years to learn, mostly through experience, through trial and error – sometimes a lot of error!

But it is always a learning experience, as was the case with Thomas Edison when he was trying to invent the dry cell battery. After 200 tests and all failures, somebody else came out with the invention. Reporters asked Edison how he felt about his 200 failures, to which he replied: ‘Those weren’t 200 failures, at all. They were 200 things I found that wouldn’t work!’

Today is also the 32-year anniversary of Mom’s 1991 appearance on the Kelly & Company show (WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, in Detroit). That was her second appearance. The first time was a little more than six months before that, in October 1990. It went so well and they had such a great response from viewers, the producers were compelled to invite her back, again.

By the way, pictured below is the afore mentioned “Butter Crust, Pie Crust (like Baker’s Square)” recipe (in the picture above). It’s a re-share from October 8, 2018. Check out the Recipes tab for more of Mom’s copycat creations that I’ve shared in my blog posts.

‘THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE I know are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing are the same thing!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 19)

For 20 years, starting in 1974, Mom was on many TV and radio talk shows, locally (Detroit/Southeastern Michigan area) as well as nationally and even internationally, promoting her copycat cookery concept, which quickly took the world by storm. As the food industry grew and evolved, so did Mom’s recipe “catalog”.


As seen on page 10 of…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes© NewsletterTM

(Secret Recipes©, St. Clair, MI; Jul-Aug 1991, 151st Issue)


ONE THING I’LL SAY for being on TV, people remember you. Sometimes it’s nice. On Mother’s Day, Paul took me to The Edison Inn, in Port Huron, for dinner. A nice looking couple at the next table smiled and nodded. My first thought was [she] was a neighbor or somebody I may have bowled with.

But shortly they came over and introduced themselves and she said she had seen me on television the week before. I was amazed. She said she almost didn’t watch the show that day but the friend she walked with insisted they be back by 9 o’clock because the recipe detective was going to be on Kelly & Co.

So she watched the show, too, and sent [a request] that day for our sample recipes. She was so pleased when she received them back two days later. And this brings up another point – WHY, when we do radio or TV for that matter, Paul and I insist that the mail come to our address.

Whenever it has gone to a station, with the promise to the listeners or viewers that they would forward it on to us, it is weeks later. By that time, the folks who wrote might have forgotten what they wrote for or were holding us responsible for the poor service they received.

Paul insists on good service to our readers on all counts! And it gives us one more job to do if we have to sit down and apologize to dozens [or hundreds or thousands] of people that we received their letters weeks after the offer was made.

Since 1977, the activity of this family enterprise has been our only source of income. My husband, Paul, left his own job of 20 years to devote [his] full time and attention to managing this work; and the precision and honesty with which he carries out each and every business detail has made it the success that it is, believe me!

His official title, he claims, is ‘Chairman of the Broad’ – but I reserve the right to revise his spelling! It is a wonderful business to be in, in spite of the misconception that it’s a job, when really it’s a joy! And I continue to give thanks. My cup runneth over and over!



Additionally, Thursday is National Eat What You Want Day! Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to eat whatever they want. It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. Thus, in the late 1970s, while dieting, Mom adapted or re-invented some of her recipes to still enjoy, without all the calories. She called it “taking the junk out of junk food.”

In December 1979, Mom launched her first “Diet Secrets” issue of Gloria Pitzer’s Dieter’s Digest. And, when Dad found out he was diabetic, Mom revamped even more of her recipes to accommodate his new, essential low-carb diet.

Mom also invented another new concept with-in her copycat cookery concept. She called it “short-cut cookery”, using 5 ingredients or less to accomplish the same end result as a longer list would achieve but with less work.

For example, Mom discovered that mayonnaise made a great substitute for eggs and oil. Likewise, she found that cake and pudding mixes contained many of the long list of dry ingredients found in things like from-scratch cookies and brownies.

I miss her a lot, especially now, as we approach Mother’s Day! Hug your mom if you can!


In honor of TODAY, being National Have A Coke Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe, for what she called Close-A-Cola; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 267). [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…


May celebrates, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

As the first full week in May (for 2023), yesterday began the celebrations of… National Wildflower Week, National Screen-Free Week, National Public Service Recognition Week, and National Pet Week [which is always the 1st Sunday through 2nd Monday of May (7th-15th of 2023)]!

Today is also… National Coconut Cream Pie Day!

Tomorrow is… National Lost Sock Memorial Day, National Moscato Day, National Butterscotch Brownie Day, and National Sleepover Day!

Wednesday, May 10th, is… National Clean Up Your Room Day, National Shrimp Day, and National Washington Day!


Thursday, May 11th, is… National Foam Rolling Day!

Friday, May 12th, is… National Limerick Day and National Nutty Fudge Day!

May 13th, is… National Crouton Day, National Apple Pie Day, and National Fruit Cocktail Day! Plus, as the 2nd Saturday of May (for 2023), it’s also… National Miniature Golf Day & Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day! Additionally, as the Saturday closest to the 10th (for 2023), it’s also… National Train Day!

May 14th, is… National Decency Day and National Buttermilk Biscuit Day! Plus, as the second Sunday in May (for 2023), it’s also… Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading this!


Additionally, as the start of the second full week in May (14th-20th of 2023), it’s also… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!


…19 down and 33 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Our Life In Cartoons

Happy May Day! Thank God Its Monday, once again. Thus, I wish a #HappyMonday to everyone, as well. I always look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you.



Friday is celebrating, among other things, National Cartoonists Day! Within Mom’s many talents – as a writer, food reviewer, recipe developer, newsletter and book publisher, marketer, and so on – she was also a cartoonist.

In the 1960s and 1970s, before Mom started her copycat recipe business, she drew a series of cartoon panels, which she entitled Full House – As Kept By Gloria Pitzer. They were first published in a couple of local Michigan newspapers, The Roseville Community Enterprise (Roseville, MI) and The Richmond Review (Richmond, MI).

Along with the cartoon panels, Mom also designed her own journalistic columns, mailing out samples to over 300 newspapers. Within a year, she was writing two different columns (“No Laughing Matter” and “Minding the Hearth”), regularly, for 60 papers. Other columns she wrote were titled Pitzer’s Patter, Cookbook Corner, and Food For Thought.


According to, Food-For-Thought is “Learning new information that you never thought was important to think about. It enables you to have a greater intelligence in every aspect of life while feeding your mind.” Similarly, at, Food-for-Thought is “something that should be thought about or considered carefully.”


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 75)

THE CARTOONS (aka: Family Talents)

I DIDN’T ‘DRAW’. I doodled. The rest of my family could draw. My uncle, Earl Klein, is a celebrated artist in Southern California, who has spent most of his professional life with Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and other wonderful studios.

His own company, Animation Inc., produced the milk commercials for TV that included, ‘Daddy, there’s a cow in the bedroom!’ Another of Uncle Earl’s commercials was the Faygo commercial, ‘Which way did he go… Which way did he go… He went for FAYGO!’

He even did the Cocoa Wheats commercial with the cuckoo clock. One of my mother’s other brothers, Herb Klein, was also an artist and had his own advertising agency in Detroit for many years.

My [two] younger sisters are both accomplished artists. Paul and I are glad to see even our children are blessed with this artistic gift, as our son, Michael, has gone through the Pasadena Arts Center to become [an] art director for many fine advertising agencies over the years…

Our daughter, Laura… Is just as talented as her brother, but she has had not a smidgen of special training. Her illustrations are currently [at] the ‘Center for Creative Arts’ here in St. Clair and also at the ‘Mortonville Shoppe’ across from the old Morton Salt Company plant in Marysville.

My doodles can hardly fall into a class with either of our children, but they are fun to do and also pleased the family over the years.

Mom didn’t just doodle – she was an illustrator and cartoonist. Like the chicken-and-egg analogy – I’m not sure which came first, as some of my copies of Mom’s cartoons and columns are not dated but they match in subject matter.

Either way, they were both usually inspired by things that happened in/to our family, which Mom thought would be of interest to other working homemakers like herself. “Write what you know” is a commonly known quote from Mark Twain.

Mom’s columns, although in hard copy publications, were much like the web pages or website blogs we have today. In both, the writers express their own opinions, while circulating information (and maybe entertaining the readers), on a regular basis.

Except, obviously back then, they were only typed and printed in hard-copy, through newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, instead, they are electronically posted on the internet. In my own blog posts, I also like to write about various subject matters, just as Mom did, those of which I hope will be of interest to people like us..

There was never a dull moment in our household. As a young, working wife and mother of five kids, Mom found her hectic, yet laughable, family life to be the best subject about which to comedically write AND draw. She was so creative and funny – she could see humor in almost anything.

My mom had a way of taking our family’s everyday life events and turning them into some great “fishing stories”. Speaking of which, that reminds me of a cartoon Mom drew (below) in 1971, based on my love for fishing and my brothers’ irritation of it.


As seen in…

Teach A Child To Fish

Some of my favorite early childhood memories are of fishing with my dad and two brothers. My brothers didn’t very much care for me tagging along, but Dad was happy with my enthusiastic interest in fishing… especially, I think, because I liked to find the worms with which for him to bait our hooks.

We were living in the Algonac-Pearl Beach area (of Michigan), on the beautiful St. Clair River (part of the St. Lawrence Seaway), across from the North Channel (west of Harsens Island) that flows into Lake St. Clair. We fished off the end of our dock often, for whatever was in season – bass, perch, walleye, whitefish, trout, etc.

One day, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, [I was] fishing with my dad and brother, Mike. My line caught something that I just couldn’t pull in by myself. Dad came over to help me. I was very excited that I had caught something, and it was apparently BIG because I couldn’t reel it in by myself!

After a couple minutes of struggling, even with Dad’s help, we finally got it pulled up to the surface of the water, only to find it was an old shoe filled with mud! Dad helped me to [bait and] cast my line out again and I patiently waited for a real bite.

Then, I got a rather strong pull on my line and Dad had to help me reel it in again – this time it was an old coffee can filled with mud! My brother, Mike, got the biggest kick out of that and roared with laughter! [I was determined to not let him discourage me.]

Dad set me back up with a new worm on my hook, to try again on the other side of the dock, hoping I wouldn’t catch another shoe or can of mud. Within MINUTES I had hooked something big and heavy again! Mike teased me that it was another can of mud.

But, as Dad helped me, again, to get the object to the surface, we both saw that it was a HUGE catfish! [It] broke my line as soon as we got it up on the edge of the dock. It flopped back into the water and swam away quickly. So, I do have a [fishing] story about ‘the one that got away’ – but it was real!

Mom was artistically gifted, not just as a cartoonist and writer, but also as a publisher, marketer, illustrator, crafter, homemaker, cook… and the list goes on. She combined all of it together, with a clever and satirical wit. All of these ingredients were uniquely blended to form Mom’s own special recipe for success – as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM!

Speaking of which, it was during the course of publishing her cartoons and “food-for-thought” columns that Mom discovered a unique, undiscovered niche in the food and recipes industries for which her readers craved – she called it “copycat cookery”. At that time, there was nothing else like it!

Even though the newspapers’ editors and their food industry advertisers didn’t like it and tried to stop her, Mom felt all the more compelled to follow her own path. She faithfully trusted in the direction to which she believed Fate was leading her.


Inspired by some of Mom’s stories and cartoons, I wrote the above parody of our family, from The Brady Bunch theme song: That’s the Way we all Became the Brady Bunch, by songwriters, Frank DeVol and Sherwood Schwartz (© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC).


In honor of TODAY, being the start of May and National Egg Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Bagel Factory [Style] Challah (aka: Egg Bread); as seen in one of her first self-published cookbooks… The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 31).


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


May celebrates, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month,  National Barbecue Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!



Today is also… National Loyalty Day, National Mother Goose Day, and National Chocolate Parfait Day! Plus, as the 1st Monday in May, today begins Teacher Appreciation Week (1st-5th of 2023)!

Tomorrow is… National Truffle Day! Plus, as Tuesday of the first full business week in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Teacher Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, May 3rd, is… National Garden Meditation Day, National Paranormal Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Raspberry Pop Over Day, National Textiles Day, and National Montana Day!

May 4th is… National Star Wars Day, National Weather Observers Day, National Orange Juice Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Bird Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Day of Reason!

Friday, May 5th, is… National Totally Chipotle Day, National Hoagie Day, and Cinco de Mayo!

May 6th is… National Nurses Day, National Beverage Day, and National Crepe Suzette Day! Plus, as the 1st Saturday in May (for 2023), it’s also… Kentucky Derby Day, National Fitness Day, National Scrapbook Day, National Homebrew Day, Join Hands Day, National Start Seeing Monarchs Day, and National Play Outside Day (which is also the 1st Saturday of EVERY month)!

May 7th is… National Packaging Design Day, National Paste-Up Day, and National Roast Leg of Lamb Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in May (for 2023), it’s also… National Lemonade Day!

Additionally, as the start of the first full week in May (7th-13th of 2023), it’s also… National Small Business Week, National Wildflower Week, National Screen-Free Week, National Public Service Recognition Week, and National Pet Week [which is the 1st Sunday through 2nd Monday of May (7th-15th of 2023)]!


…18 down and 34 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tell A Family Story

Thank God Its Monday, once again; and, as such, #TGIM and #HappyMonday! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to tell a family story and share Memories of My Mom with you!






It’s all about family and stories this week! Tomorrow is National DNA Day and Wednesday is National Kids and Pets Day. Additionally, Thursday is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day [always the 4th Thursday in April] and National Tell a Story Day, the latter of which I celebrate every Monday.

So obviously today I want to tell you a story about how Mom balanced her work and home life with a husband, 5 kids, and a dog, all in tow; because, for Mom, when she was working from home, every day was Kids and Pets Day, as well as Take her Daughters and Sons to Work Day!

Mom (and Dad) faced many uncertainties during the 1970s recession. Early in the decade, Mom left her job at the local newspaper to start her own paper, giving her readers the kind of recipes they wanted, according to the many requests she received.

Mom’s business quickly evolved over the years, in name and design – starting as Happy Newspaper Features, until finally becoming known as Secret RecipesTM – with her Recipe DetectiveTM brand being recognized world-wide. The detective persona came about from her radio audience fans.

In the early years of her home-based business, Mom sold her recipes for a quarter each, printed on 4”x6” index cards, from a mimeograph she kept in our laundry room. It didn’t take long before her recipe library grew to hundreds, mostly through requests from her fans.

The food industry offered unlimited possibilities, for imitating our favorites at home. Within a few years, Mom went from recipe cards to monthly newsletters and multiple cookbooks. She self-published her first cookbook in 1973 and started her newsletter January 1974.

For the first year, at least, Mom “secretly employed” me and my siblings to help her; while simultaneously trying to hide the new “family business” from Dad, at least until it showed a decent profit.

It wasn’t long before Mom started getting calls from local TV stations (and our neighboring Canadian stations), for interviews on news and talk shows; at which point, she had to tell Dad what she was doing.

Within two years, Dad had to take an early retirement from his sign company job; to help Mom, full-time, with the “family business”. That’s why, in our house, every day was National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, since it was a home-based business and we all helped Mom in some way – even if it was just staying out of her way.

Mom “went to work” at home, every day, discovering how to recreate our favorite fast food & restaurant dishes from regular pantry items and without any special gadgets or appliances. She even expanded into imitating grocery products, too. If she could save money on our family’s entertainment and grocery budgets, she wanted to share it with everyone!

‘Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ – Mark Twain


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 36)


IT WAS THE WORST possible time to launch a new business. The unemployment rate was terribly high. There was a newsprint paper shortage. There was a gasoline shortage. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least try to have my own publication, however.

My confrontation with the editor at the Times Herald over the cheesecake recipe [like Sarah Lee’s], was probably the best thing that ever happened to me – us, as a family, in fact.

I was forced to finally do something that, until then, I had only talked about doing because the advice I had listened to was bent on having somebody else handle my work.

Of course, I could not tell Paul what I was going to do – that I was going to publish a newsletter and I was going to try and sell subscriptions to it all without the help of the [publishing and syndicating] agencies to which I had previously been turning.

I was determined to make this idea work because I knew it was a good idea! It was a service that was needed and one that I could provide without ever having to leave the children again.

With the help of the Almighty, I had every confidence that turning out a recipe newsletter was going to be something that would bless everyone concerned: me, the readers, the products mentioned, the reviews of restaurants – every idea was a blessing!

Mom designed her newsletter and cookbooks like warm, comfortable quilts; combining her unique copycat cookery recipe concept for “Eating Out At Home” with humoristic cartoons, household and gardening hints, cooking tips and tricks; as well as adding in her syndicated “Food for Thought” ideas and “No Laughing Matter” columns.

They were all uniquely put together, with love and devotion, creating functional works of art; as Mom wanted them to be just as comfortable on the coffee table as they were on the kitchen counter.

Mom’s favorite way to market her ground-breaking copycat recipes concept was through radio talk shows. For nearly 40 years, she was a regular weekly or monthly guest on numerous radio talk shows (geared toward working homemakers), around the country and in Canada. On occasion, she was also a guest “on-air” with radio stations in other countries.

Mom liked to describe her newsletters as being like a visit from a friend – as you sit at the kitchen table, having coffee, discussing various topics of the day and sharing household tips and recipes. I would describe it, simply, as Mom’s “happy place” and her “legacy of love”.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 53)


THERE ARE MANY RISKS involved with going into business for yourself, no matter what product or service you intend to offer. If I had thought more about the risks, than I did about the possibilities, I never would have moved an inch toward doing any of the things about which I now write.

My husband is not a risk-taker. I am. We complement each other well. He still becomes uneasy and anxious about every new idea I have for another book or another project, on the basis that ‘we can’t afford it.’

I have learned, over the years, to keep many of my projects to myself until they are completed, which in the long run, saves Paul from worrying unnecessarily about something that will very likely turn out well, and keeps me from worrying that Paul is worrying.

Some people experience a certain let-down, after reaching what they consider ‘the top’. When they finally reach the Everest of their ambitions [and] make it to the top, they start to wonder why they were in such a hurry to get there anyhow.

Like Lee Iacocca, who was only in his mid-40s when he was president of the Ford Motor Company, writes in his autobiography, [that he had] no idea what he was going to do ‘for an encore’! I have never had to worry about this, fortunately.

When I have been asked about goals or destination, it is been my feeling that every corner I turn has a new goal, a new destination awaiting us. I have never thought of any one point as being the top. Life has so many wonderful opportunities for each of us to take advantage of, that it does not seem reasonable that I should give myself the limitations that would determine just how far I should be able to go.

Because this was never a hobby, never WORK, never a job, I have had no problem with the worry or concern that accompanies a position from which one expects to retire. I would not want to give up what I have been doing since I was a child [writing].

It would be unfair to have to give up doing something that has also brought so much pleasure and good information to so many people. It was, however, only when I realized what I should be writing about and what I should be sharing with the readers – what I knew best – that things really began to happen.

Of course, my husband wisely reminds me, when someone asked about writing their own cookbook, that WRITING it is the easiest part. Knowing how to SELL it is the hard part!


Writing was always in Mom’s blood. She wrote and self-published a lot of “our family’s story”, in 1989, in her book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop. The book was basically about how she was led by a special calling to start her Secret RecipesTM legacy. Plus, being that it was a “family enterprise”, it was sub-titled ‘The True Story of a Family’.

Every family has a story to tell – in fact, many stories. They can be pieced together from old pictures, cards, and letters or by tracing your ancestors’ roots through various online sources. It’s the perfect time to research and write about your family’s story, as it’s… National Tell a Story Day and tomorrow is National DNA Day!


In honor of tomorrow, also being National Zucchini Bread Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Zucchini Bread; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 52).



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


April celebrates, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and National Stress Awareness Month!

Today is also… National Pigs in a Blanket Day!

Tomorrow is… National East Meets West Day and National Telephone Day!

Wednesday, April 26th is… National Pretzel Day and National South Dakota Day!

Thursday, April 27th is… National Babe Ruth Day, National Devil Dog Day, and National Prime Rib Day!

April 28th is… National Blueberry Pie Day, National Great Poetry Reading Day, National Superhero Day, and National Workers’ Memorial Day! Plus, it’s also… National Arbor Day [which is the last Friday in April (28th for 2023)]

April 29th is… National Peace Rose Day, National Shrimp Scampi Day, National Zipper Day, and National Poem In Your Pocket Day [which changes annually – April 29th for 2023]! PLUS, being the last Saturday in April (for 2023), it’s also… National Kiss of Hope Day, National Pool Opening Day, National Rebuilding Day, and National Sense of Smell Day!

April 30th is… National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, National Bugs Bunny Day, National Honesty Day, National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National Raisin Day, National Hairstylist Appreciation Day, and National Pet Parents Day [which is always the last Sunday in April]!


…17 down and 35 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Decorate With Meaningful Colors

Thank God Its Monday again and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



The harmonized arrivals of Spring, Easter, and April bring with them “new life” and fresh colors. Mother nature is decorating with bright pops of colors all over the place – in the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, just to name a few! Similarly, April celebrates National Decorating Month!

Decorating goes hand-in-hand with my spring cleaning ritual of moving the furniture around. I also switch out my dark, winter accent colors with my lighter, brighter, spring tones. I do this through simple changes in the curtains, throw blankets, and decorative pillows. Color is one of the most effective and in-expensive components in decorating.

In the 1980s and 1990s, I sold attractive accessories (at in-home gatherings) from a Texas-based company, called Home Interiors & Gifts. It was one of my favorite jobs. I loved meeting new people in small, home gatherings and teaching them about decorating, like the Home Interiors’ team taught me.

I learned a lot of wonderful decorating techniques from my HI&G sales team. I also learned great social skills, public speaking, and selling techniques. I especially loved learning about Feng shui and color psychology.


Carl Jung is the pioneer of color psychology [aka: colorology] – the study of how colors affect our perceptions and behaviors. He’s well-known for his investigations into color properties and their effects on emotions. Color is used to represent so many different things.

Astrology includes color association in the various zodiac signs, having main “power” colors that represent certain characteristics. According to Taylor Markarian’s interesting read (updated: 02/21/2023) at Reader’s Digest [], Aries is denoted by red.

I thought red was an appropriate choice, as Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and, from what I remember learning in a college child psychology class years ago, it’s the first primary color infants focus on, as their vision improves after birth.

Continuing on, Markarian claims Taurus is represented by green – bulls do love to eat grass. Gemini [aka: “the twins”] is represented by happy yellow. Cancer [aka: “the crab”] is represented by glamorous silver and Leo [aka: “the lion”] is represented by gold – like his golden mane.

Virgo follows, represented by natural, down-to-earth brown. Libra is “pretty in pink”. Scorpio is dramatic in black and Sagittarius is represented by ambitious purple, while Capricorn is represented by solid, dependable gray (and brown).

Aquarius is aptly represented by blue – the color of water. Likewise, Pisces [aka: “the fish”] is represented by a light shade of green – like a rainbow trout. Keep in mind that color associations and representations can vary by region and many other factors.

Interestingly, since every zodiac sign is ruled by at least one planet, every planet likewise has at least one color that represents its characteristics. According to, Mercury is represented by grey. Venus is represented by brown and grey. Earth is represented by blue, as well as brown, green, and white.

Mars is represented by red, as well as brown and tan. Jupiter is represented by brown, orange, and tan, with white cloud stripes. Saturn is represented by golden brown and bluish gray. Uranus is represented by the tertiary color blue-green. And, last but not least, Neptune is represented by blue.

Additionally, according to, even the seven days of the week are represented by at least one color. The first day – Sunday – like the first zodiac sign, is similarly represented by energizing red. I especially like that Monday is represented by HAPPY yellow.

Additionally, Tuesday is represented by ambitious purple. Wednesday [aka: “hump day”] is represented by yellow, red and/or multi-colors. Thursday is represented by the creative freshness of yellow-green (a tertiary color). Friday is represented by a trustworthy but cautious bluish gray. Finally, Saturday is represented by dramatic black.

At, I found an interesting interpretation of which colors represent each of the twelve months of the year. According to If Months Were Colors (Author unknown; Oct. 31, 2009), January is represented by white, as it’s a snowy, fresh start to the year. I agree.

February is represented by red, due to Valentine’s Day [which is the heart of the month (pun intended)]. The writer then suggests gray represent March, for [moody] “cabin fever” and the color of the snowbanks along the sides of the roads. I think March is better represented by green for St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of spring.

The page also suggests that April is best represented by pink because of the blossoming spring flowers and May is best represented by blue because of growing optimism in the warming days. I think light purple [aka: lilac] is a better color for May, as that’s when lilacs start blooming.

June is yellow for “sunshine, beaches and good cheer”; while July is orange for the “searing” summer heat. For obvious reasons, I think red, white, and blue better represents July. August is represented by gold, as summer heat peaks. I’d link August to summer harvest colors – orange, yellow, green, and red for tomatoes, peppers, corn, summer squash, and melons.

The page also suggests purple for September, acquainting it to school colors, civic pride and productivity. I think blue is a better representative of September for knowledge, intuition, imagination, inspiration (and going back to school). Go Blue!

October is obviously represented by orange for Halloween [and pumpkins] and fall leaves. November is represented by brown for the cornucopia of the fall harvest and Thanksgiving turkeys. Last but not least, December is aptly represented by green and red for Christmas. Silver and gold are also good representatives of December, for that matter.

Color is a persuasive marketing tool, about which I wrote in The Color Effect. Marketing concepts use color theory to elicit certain feelings or psychological effects from potential consumers. In fact, there’s been a lot of studies done on the various effects colors have on us, in general. The Cause & Effect of color is a fascinating subject.

How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing, by DashBurst (June 19, 2014; updated Sep. 7, 2021), as seen at, admits that “The psychology of color is used in advertising and marketing to evoke emotional reactions.” The article also includes an interesting history about colors.

Mom had a knack for decorating, herself. Maybe it’s in our “artistic/creative genes”. However, certain color schemes and styles are more popular by region and time eras. Mom also used colorology when she chose the cover colors for each of her self-published books.

Color theory is an assortment of guidelines designers use to present appealing and visually interesting color harmonies or schemes, using the color wheel (as well as color psychology). Colors are neatly organized on an illustrative tool called a color wheel, starting with the three primary colors – red, blue, and yellow – placed equally apart on the wheel.

A 50-50 combination of any two primary colors makes one of the three secondary colors – orange, purple, green – placed appropriately between each of those, on the wheel. Likewise, there are six tertiary colors, between each of the primary and secondary colors. Tertiary colors come from combining a primary color with its adjacent secondary color.

The colors of the wheel are categorized into cool and/or warm temperatures. Cool colors include green, blue, purple, and the tertiary colors between them. Cool colors often remind us of grass, water/sky, and flowers (lavender/lilacs), creating a calm and soothing effect. I’ve noticed that the Northern Lights often appear in this range of colors, as well.

Warm colors include red, orange, yellow, and the tertiary colors in between them. Warm colors are often energizing and brilliant, even mesmerizing; reminding us of things like campfires, sunrises, and sunsets. High-energy bees and hummingbirds are very attracted to warm colors.

Neutral colors, such as white, grey, and black are neither warm nor cool. Brown is a hybrid that’s created from both warm and cool colors. Different shades of brown are made by combining two opposite colors on the “wheel”, such as red and green, yellow and purple, or blue and orange.

Many companies choose colors for their brands or logos that best represent them and indicate certain values. For example, KFC and Coke are associated with red, which indicates fun and excitement.

Culver’s and Pepsi’s logos are primarily in trustworthy blue. Similarly, Subway’s and Starbuck’s logos are green, which is often associated with being organic and/or fresh. Likewise, McDonald’s uses exciting red and happy yellow in its logo and décor.

People psychologically associate colors with certain things – like green grass, blue water, yellow sun, and white clouds, to name some general examples. Yet, people are so different – children to adults, females to males, and so on – that personal associations with any one color can vary greatly. It all comes down to individual interpretation.


Having said that, however, there’s a lot of common color associations, about which I learned, while selling the Home Interiors & Gifts products. Overall, color associations are timeless. Here’s my generalized list of colors associations.

    • Purple, like its two ingredients (red and blue), is associated with power, confidence, trust, and loyalty. Purple is also associated with royalty, elegance, authority, and seniority.
    • Blue is associated with loyalty, trust, calmness, peace, and stability. Blue is also associated with first-place ribbons and being a winner. Indigo is a dark shade of blue that adds a deep, dramatic, intensity to blue’s general effects.
    • Green, like its two ingredients (yellow and blue), is usually associated with inner peace and joy; as well as with growth, good taste, freshness, and It evokes feelings of a healthy and organic environment. Green is also associated with luck, money, success, and goodwill.
    • Yellow is associated with sunshine, joy, and energy. It’s bright and happy, which stirs up feelings of confidence, ingenuity, and artistic creativity.

Mom did all the decorating in our houses when I was growing up. I remember our kitchen in Algonac having yellow and blue accents. Gold and green accents were in the living room and the bedroom I shared with my two sisters was adorned with purple accents.

    • Orange, like its two ingredients (red and yellow), is associated with power and energy. Orange generates sociability, fun, and innovation. It’s not just for Halloween anymore!
    • Red is associated with leadership and confidence. It’s very active and grabs your attention, creating feelings of excitement, power, and strength. Red is synonymous with the heart, passion, and love. Pink is a light tint of red (mixed with white), simplifying the effects by adding a bit of youth and innocence.
    • Brown is associated with characteristics of being down-to-earth, natural, trustworthy, dependable, and sturdy (like a tree). Bronze is a metallic brown, with similar associations. Metallic décor adds classic and/or modern elements.

    • Black is associated with modern and traditional characteristics; representing perfection, drama, sophistication, primness and formality.
    • Grey is moody and stormy. But it’s also considered to be rugged, conservative, and solid (like a rock).
    • White is innocent and heavenly, like clouds and angels’ wings. It’s simple, honest, new, and clean.
    • Silver is a metallic associated with wealth, prosperity, strength, stability, glamour, grace, and elegance. It is modern, innovative, influential, refined, sleek, and sophisticated. Silver is also linked to the celestial energies of the moon and stars.
    • Gold is another metallic, similar to yellow in color but its associations are more like purple’s – royalty, elegance, authority, and seniority. Gold also represents pedigree, power, confidence, and wealth.


In honor of next Sunday, being National Cherry Cheesecake Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipes for Waist Watcher Cheesecake, in 2 versions, lemon and cherry; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 286). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].





…16 down and 36 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Writers

Thank God Its Monday! Happy Monday to everyone! I love Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



Today’s National Encourage a Young Writer Day, among other things. Mom loved mentoring anyone (young and old, alike) who shared her love for writing! She was also my mentor – in writing and so many other things, from being creative to being a mom.

Mom’s love for and devotion to writing began when she was a young girl. The writing seed bloomed into a legacy, as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. Mom loved talking about how writing made her a worthwhile living, but it especially made living worthwhile. She loved to help others find that joy, too.

I try to write something every day, now, myself. Since starting these blog posts, over 4½ years ago, writing has become very therapeutic for me, just as it was for Mom. Like Mom, I’m most happy and content when I’m writing and creating something, artistically. I just wish I could make a living with my writing, as she did with hers.

I can feel her angel hugs, even now, as I’m typing this; and she’s whispering, in my ear, “be patient”. Mom believed that fate was a “meant-to-be” moment. She put her faith in fate and followed where it led. As a result, she became the ORIGINAL Recipe DetectiveTM!

For 40 years, Mom wrote articles, recipes, newsletters, and cookbooks but she never thought of it as work (even though it was). Like the old adage says, “find a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

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


SOMETIMES, WE FORCE ourselves into making hasty decisions; when, it turns out, this can be a misguided attempt to try to shape an event that just isn’t ready to be shaped yet! Encouragement to be patient and consider all of the options was always one of the supportive ways that my parents tried to see me through the rough times, when I was growing up.

No matter what the problem, the emphasis was always on being patient; on letting my listening thought be receptive to new ideas, right ideas. I was never disappointed when I waited. I might have been a little impatient, but the more experiences I had with waiting, the easier it [became]. (p. 20)


JOURNALISM IS A PECULIAR profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].

Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.

There is great joy in an exchange of ideas, specifically when you have something of value to share. When that exchange of ideas flows from a mutual appreciation of the good in human life, there is no doubt that the abundance of good continues to unfold around us from only one Unlimited Source.

We don’t think too much about that Source until we’re in real trouble. Then, we’re willing to reach out because, after all, what have we got to lose? Too bad we don’t tap that Source when everything is going well and exercise our ability to think [and be grateful], which is something very few people take the time to do. (p. 22)

Similarly, fate’s “meant-to-be” influences have taken me and my own inherited love for writing on this incredible learning journey, blogging about Mom and her wonderful, ground-breaking creations. Before the copycat recipes, Mom wrote several series of articles about a variety of topics she thought would interest other people like herself.

I try to do the same in my blog posts, mixing Mom into a variety of topics that might interest other people like us; as well as, to honor her legacy as a writer and influencer. Creative writing has always made me feel close to Mom. She was always my biggest fan, encouraging me throughout my life.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 43)


WHENEVER I AM ASKED by somebody wanting to launch a newsletter of their own, how to get started, I wish I could just send them a blueprint or a floor plan, like you would when you build a house or a garage.

With newsletter writing and marketing, it’s all based on individuality, and experience being the best teacher and then having a responsive audience. It all begins with the sale. You have to know to whom you will be directing your material and how you will be meeting their needs. Nobody can tell you HOW to do that.

You either know how or you don’t! If you don’t know how to talk to your reader, you’re like a lighthouse without a light! You have to let your light shine and part of the preparation for communicating with your reader is to know HOW to talk to them, what they need from your newsletters that will enrich them or make their lives better.

 There’s a powerful wisdom we don’t understand. It comes down to believing…to having faith. – Gloria Pitzer


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 47-48)


I HAD USED A RECIPE in one of my newspaper columns at the Port Huron paper for a sauce like McDonald’s used on their hamburgers. It was such a hit with the readers… It seemed so obvious… Repeat the recipes that were so popular at the paper for those few weeks, only this time putting them into my own newsletter.

I couldn’t wait to get home and get started putting together all of the recipes I could find that had anything at all to do with fast food restaurants or franchise eateries. Nobody, but nobody had done that yet.

There were cookbooks on how to do it the way the gourmets did and recipes from famous inns and restaurants with wine stewards and parking valets, but never from a hamburger palace or a pizza carry-out! Those were considered SECRETS. One thought led to another and soon the whole format was taking place on the paper in front of me.


The request for more and more came almost as immediately as the recipes would circulate, mostly through Bob Allison’s [radio] show, but as well through our newsletter, which was then growing to a circulation of nearly 1000.

The idea soon developed to put these famous secrets on index cards and sell them as, I explained earlier, we did prior to the first series of books. One step led to another and each step came from having absolute faith that failure was impossible.

When you unselfishly search for something to do, something to share, I have learned from first-hand experience, you never come away disappointed. I wasn’t looking for the rewards or gratification – only the service for the product. That, I believe, is why it all worked out so beautifully.

One of the first radio affiliations that I had, other than my regular visits with Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ [radio show], was with Warren Pierce at WJR in Detroit. In those early interviews we talked with Warren’s listeners, answering questions about imitating famous foods and one of the most often requested recipes on that show was for hot fudge like Sanders (Fred Sanders Confectionery Company).

It was right after I had given the recipe on the air and immediately after Carol Haddix had printed my recipe for that ice cream topping in the Detroit Free Press that a letter came from Jack Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Sanders and great-grandson of the company’s founder.

At once, I looked at the envelope and imagined trouble because I had come so close to the original with my recipe. But quite the contrary!

It was an invitation to Paul and me and our family to visit the Sanders’ plant and headquarters in Highland Park (Michigan) and to see, he wrote to us, ‘if it doesn’t spoil your fun’ how their products were really made.

We became good friends after that exciting tour and in our ‘Fast Food Recipe Book’ I give you some 16 pages of information and history, plus recipes that have been inspired by Sanders products.

Writing a newsletter is not as easy an endeavor as it may seem. Obviously, like blogging, it requires a regular production schedule and a long-time commitment to it. For success and longevity, it also entails devotion, duty, and dedication – call it “the 3-D effect”.

It takes so many little steps – literally and figuratively – to get where you want to be – in life, in love, and in livelihood. I’ve taken many little steps, myself; especially after helping Mom re-write her favorite, self-published cookbook – Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (as she couldn’t do it again, herself).



After the book went to print, I needed to learn the “ins & outs” of using social media and blogging, to promote it and Mom’s legacy, as the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. I’m still learning new things, as I go. It’s a slow process since I’m not tech-savvy.

Regardless, I love blogging, whether I’m doing it for a few people or for thousands of people. I don’t even know how many people read my posts but I keep writing them, nonetheless. I love getting emails and messages from those who’ve come across my writings and happily remember my mom and her Secret RecipesTM legacy.


In honor of Saturday, being National Banana Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Banana Bundt Cake”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 66).


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


April celebrates, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month

Today is also… National Cinnamon Crescent Day! Being the start of the second business week in April, it’s also the start of National Library Week! Special days within this special week include… National Library Workers Day (Tuesday) and National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday).

Tomorrow is also… National Cheese Fondue Day and National Pet Day!

Wednesday is also… National Colorado Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Licorice Day! 

Thursday, April 13th is… National Make Lunch Count Day and National Peach Cobbler Day!

Friday, April 14th is… National Gardening Day and National Pecan Day!

Saturday, April 15th is… National Glazed Spiral Ham Day!

Sunday, April 16th is… National Eggs Benedict Day! Plus, as the beginning of the third full week of April (for 2023), it’s also… National Volunteer Week! Likewise, it’s… National Volunteer Month!


…15 down and 37 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Comebacks

Thank God Its Monday, once again, and happy April!  I personally look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you;. So #HappyMonday to one and all!


This Wednesday is the 30th anniversary of Mom’s SECOND appearance on the Phil Donahue show (in 1993)! I wrote about Mom’s experiences with the Donahue Show appearances a few years ago, in my blog post, Fortunate. That episode broke records!

Let me back-track a bit. The year, following Mom’s FIRST appearance on the Donahue Show, in July 1981, was probably the most chaotic time in the 40-year history of her family-run, dining room table, cottage-style operation. We didn’t expect, nor were we set up for over a million letters in response, requesting the free recipes offered on the show.

Secret RecipesTM was just A FAMILY AFFAIR! Other than one full-time Administrative Assistant, it was just my parents, taking care of the day-to-day operations of their self-publishing, mail-order, recipes business, with a little help, now and then, from me and my sisters, after school.

For months, following Mom’s 1981 appearance, the Donahue show re-aired that episode around the country and around the world and we received over a million letters; necessitating the need to bring in some extra help, including some of my high school friends, to assist with all of the extra mailings we had to prepare and send out.

We mailed out hundreds of thousands of Mom’s “free recipes and product-ordering information” sheets, in exchange for all the self-addressed stamped envelopes that poured in, per the offer they had announced on the Donahue show. We were also mailing out thousands more newsletter issues, from all of the new subscriptions that followed.

As chaotic as it was, in the end, Mom recognized that the Donahue Show opened a lot of doors for her that might never have happened, otherwise. It brought her unique style of “copycat cookery” to the attention of MILLIONS of new eyes, fairly quickly (as it was before household internet) worldwide. She felt very fortunate and grateful.


There’s no denying that Mom pioneered a ‘movement’, carving out a new niche in the food industry – “copycat cookery”. There was nothing else like it, at that time. Critics said the “fad” wouldn’t last long. But Mom inspired a crusade of “copycats”. Unfortunately, some went as far as copying Mom’s work, to the point of plagiarism, prompting legal battles.

The pressure of everything was straining Mom and Dad and tearing our family apart. [NOTE: April is National Stress Awareness Month!] Mom swore she’d never do another national TV show. However, she was talked into doing several more, over the years, including Donahue, AGAIN!

I LOOK BACK NOW… and realize how FORTUNATE I was to have had my life touched by so many helpful people – so many famous people! It’s almost incredible that what started out to be merely the frosting on the cake, of my monthly newsletter, soon became the whole cake! – Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 86)

When the producer of the Donahue Show called Mom, after 12 years, asking her to come back, in April 1993, Mom hesitantly agreed but only on the condition that they not give out any contact information for Secret RecipesTM or our family. That stipulation inadvertently resulted in a record-breaking event for the show!

The “Recipe Detective” episode had the most requested transcript, of all time, shattering the last record into tiny bits! The Donahue Show sent Mom a congratulatory letter and plaque to commemorate the historic event. Unfortunately, the show ended it’s 29-year stretch (1967-1996) a few years later, re-running the 1993 episode of Mom that year, too.

There are “grainy” recordings of the 1993, hour-long episode on YouTube, in a series of 5 segments. I wish I knew where I could find a recording or transcript from Mom’s July 7th, 1981, appearance. If anyone reading this knows, PLEASE, send me an email at: – and thank you, in advance!


Among the many recipe demonstrations that Mom did on the Donahue Show, was her “Hopeless Twinkles©” version of James Dewar’s invention. By the way, Thursday is National Hostess Twinkie Day. See Mom’s copycat recipe for these, on the “Recipes” tab.

Did you know… Mom was the FIRST person (circa 1975) to develop a make-at-home version for imitating the cream-filled, golden-sponge-cake delight at home? Thus, I was surprised to find, when I searched for “twinkie recipes” on Google, Mom’s imitation wasn’t even listed in the first two pages of “About 1,520,000 results…”!

So MANY copycats have copied the ORIGINAL copycat – yet so FEW have given her the proper credit she deserves, for being the inventor of copycat cookery. On that note, I also searched for “Pitzer Twinkie recipe”. Mom’s recipe, from this website, which I first shared in a 2019 blog post, was the THIRD one listed, out of “About 161,000 results…”).

I was pleased to see many of the others listed in that search properly accredited Mom’s original Hopeless Twinkles© recipe. Additionally, I’d like to give a shout-out to, for printing a copy of one of Mom’s Twinkie imitations and also giving her proper credit! In my searches, I stumbled upon the following excerpt (pictured below), at


Did you know… on August 19th, 1919… William B. Ward registered the trademark name, Hostess, for his family’s company’s breads and cakes division? Additionally, it was James Dewar, while working for the Ward family at the Continental Baking Company, who invented the original Twinkie®.

Originally, when the baking company was founded in the early 1900s, it was called Ward Baking Company. Soon after, it was known as the Continental Baking Company. Then it was purchased by Interstate Bakeries Corporation and renamed Hostess Brands.

For a more in-depth history of the Ward family, their baking company, Dewar’s Twinkies® and the drama that surrounded all of them, check out a fascinating article (as written by Bloomberg News), on, about the Twinkie history, spiced with murder & scandal! I’ve included, below, the short story that Mom wrote about Dewar decades ago.

A little over 10 years ago (in November 2012), there was a big run on Twinkies®. Hostess Brands Company had announced it was going out of business and utter madness ensued, as Americans swarmed the stores and internet to buy every Twinkie® they could find!

Some were being auctioned on eBay for THOUSANDS of dollars – and people were paying it! Our Canadian neighbors still had Hostess Brands in their country. They were laughing at us and joking about the lengths to which Americans would go, to get their hands on the suddenly-hard-to-find, coveted Twinkies®.

A spokesperson for Hostess Brands sarcastically asked the media where all of those Hostess enthusiasts were BEFORE they had to file for bankruptcy.

TO DEBUNK THE JUNK…don’t think of Hostess Twinkies as ‘junk’ dessert but, rather, the very same cake ingredients prepared in the Waldorf Astoria kitchens as the basis for their ‘Flaming Cherries Supreme’. All we did [to imitate the product] was shape the cake differently, adding a little body to the filling and putting it INSIDE the cake, rather than on top, as the Waldorf did! – Gloria Pitzer, Eating Out at Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1978, p. 3)




Today’s also National Find a Rainbow Day. Likewise, it’s the National Month of Hope! A quote on, claims rainbows are considered symbols of beauty, as well as signs of hope and promise. When April showers come and the sun’s rays are opposite them, in the sky, look for the beautiful “arc of many colors”, created by Mother Nature.

Scientifically, they’re simply made from a combination of elements – like the sun being opposite the rain, in the sky, and “reflections and refractions of light” in the droplets of water. This can also be imitated in your backyard, on a sunny day, with a garden hose, spraying water. Try it!


As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 34)


IT HAS BEEN SAID that ‘when God closes a door, He opens a window’ – for those who have the wit to discover it. Among the ill, the handicapped, the disfigured… are an astonishing number of people who have found their ‘windows’. In quiet resurrections, they have risen out of their pain and despair and shattered hopes to new ambitions, new satisfactions and new happiness.

Though largely unsung, these men and women have in them the stuff of heroes! Their battles of necessity are fought alone… in endless hours and days and months. But, in these battles, they somehow develop a special kind of courage and, sooner or later, the breakthrough comes. Then, in spite of all the odds against them, they dare to say: ‘I may not have much candle left but, with what I have, I’ll shed a light.’

So, if you can’t be a lighthouse be a candle! Let your light shine so that those on whom it may fall, will be blessed; and, like a springboard, bounce right back to make you feel good about it…

This made me think – besides being a light, “BE A RAINBOW” to someone! Shine beauty on them, giving hope and a promise for betterment of whatever may need it.


In honor of TODAY, being World Party Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Prince Charles’ Skillet Strata”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 135). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].



Having an incurable curiosity, it follows that I should find the study of nutrition and the importance certain foods have in our diet, a very interesting endeavor, of which I have never tried. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW TO LEARN, some new information, interesting discoveries to make cooking a positive pursuit. – Gloria Pitzer [Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984), p. 15)]

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


April observes, among other things… Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, and National Scottish-American Heritage Month!

The first full week of April is… National Public Health Week! [April 2nd-8th (for 2023)]

[NOTE: Lent began on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22nd (2023), and runs through Thursday, April 6th; with Easter Sunday, following on April 9th (2023).]

April 3rd-7th (2023) is also… National Wildlife Week! [The national DAY observance is Sep. 3rd (for 2023).]

Today is also… National Chocolate Mousse Day!

Tomorrow is… National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, National Hug a Newsperson Day, National School Librarian Day, and National Vitamin C Day!

April 5th is… Gold Star Spouses Day, National Caramel Day, National Deep Dish Pizza Day, National Nebraska Day, National Raisin and Spice Bar Day, National Read a Road Map Day! Plus, as the first Wednesday in April (for 2023), it’s also… National Walking Day!

April 6th is… National Caramel Popcorn Day, New Beer’s Eve, and National Teflon Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in April (for 2023), it’s also… National Burrito Day!

Friday, April 7th is… National Beer Day, National Coffee Cake Day, National No Housework Day, and Good Friday (for 2023)!

Saturday, April 8th is… National All is Ours Day and National Zoo Lovers Day!

Sunday, April 9th is… National Cherish an Antique Day, National Chinese Almond Cookie Day, and Easter Sunday (for 2023)!


…14 down and 38 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Cleaning Consumes Calories

Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



Yesterday, being the fourth Sunday in March (for 2023), began the week-long celebration of… National Cleaning Week – one of my favorite times of the year!

According to, “besides a clean home, it’s a week that can produce improved moods, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity. It’s a week to put away winter essentials and tidy up our homes to usher in a fresh start with spring.”

I always look forward to this week! I admit to getting a little giddy about flipping the bedroom mattress, rotating the seasonal clothes, and moving the living room furniture around – just a few of the things I usually do during my spring cleaning ritual.

Every physical activity we do throughout our day can count as exercising. Gardening, walking, and – yes – even household chores. It all burns calories and, thereby, counts toward physical activity.

Last week, I wrote about burning calories while caring for a garden. This week, I want to discuss the calories you can burn, doing various household chores and activities.

According to’s article, 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (date unknown), an hour of various household activities or chores can burn a lot of calories. They wrote about grocery shopping:

“Pushing a cart up and down the supermarket aisles for an hour will burn 243 calories and you’ll get acquainted with all kinds of nutritious, healthful foods. Bag your own groceries, take them out to the car yourself, and return the cart to the corral, and you’ll burn even more.”

Surprisingly, just preparing dinner [with those nutritious, healthful foods you got at the supermarket] for one hour can burn 148 calories. Obviously, kneading bread dough or heavy mixing by hand will burn more calories than smaller tasks. I wonder if Rachael Ray knows that preparing one of her famous 30-minute meals can burn about 74 calories!

Additionally, in one hour, dusting burns 160 calories, mopping burns 306 calories, doing laundry and folding clothes burn 144 calories, ironing burns 153 calories, moving furniture burns 504 calories, while vacuuming and sweeping burn 168 calories.

There’s always something about cleaning, at least one particular task, that someone doesn’t like. They’ll procrastinate and avoid doing it as long as possible. According to’s 10 Top Most Hated Household Chores, cleaning the bathroom (especially the toilet) tops their list.’s Do You Hate Cleaning Your Bathroom?… (March 2022), by Nashia Baker, wholeheartedly agrees that cleaning the bathroom (especially the toilet) is American’s least favorite chore.

But I really want to give an award nomination to’s satirical article, 8 Household Chores I’ll Never Do – Because Who Has Time For This, by Elizabeth Broadbent (Originally Published: Oct. 23, 2016; Updated: June 10, 2021), which takes the subject out of the box. It’s more than just a list of “hated chores”. Check it out!

Other chores most commonly avoided by people include: dusting, mopping, cleaning the kitchen (especially the appliances), making the bed, and doing laundry. Dusting is my least liked chore, as it badly effects my allergies and I have A LOT of ‘tchotchkes’ [pronounced: choch-keys] to dust! But I love them all and am not ready to get rid of them yet.

Mom didn’t care for cleaning dishes, even when we had a dishwasher, making the bed; both of which my sisters and I did, for her, to earn our weekly allowance. We’re all different, in what we like and don’t like to do. To each, their own!

I like to clean and, especially, to organize! I think it’s an OCD thing (to me, that stands for Organize, Clean, & Display). Organizing is my favorite hobby. In fact, my kids and husband like to tease me, saying that I’m CDO, rather than OCD, because I like things in alphabetical (and numerical) order. That’s me – I own it!

In the office, Mom preferred, what she called, an “organized mess”. She kept a sign on her desk (as pictured above), which she picked up somewhere after I took it upon myself, one day, while she and Dad were gone for the day, to clean and organize her desk as a good deed. She wasn’t very happy about it, when she returned, but she was very forgiving.


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

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

WHILE SOME FOLKS claim to have been born under a sign related in some way to the stars and other heavenly bodies, I wish to establish, right here and now, the sign under which I must have been born.


From this, you can imagine how astonished I was when, one day, it occurred to me that Heaven had certainly poured me out a blessing and my cup was running over. But I couldn’t find my mop! That has more or less (actually MORE) been the story of my life… my cup runneth over and over and over. (pp. 14-15)

It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes… I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me. (p. 119)

‘If the good Lord had intended for me to have a clean house, He would have given me a maid!’ – Gloria Pitzer

In my blog post, “Spring into Cleaning” (March 25, 2019) – and others – I mentioned that cleaning was not Mom’s favorite activity, even though she called herself the “Happy Homemaker”. I’m not saying Mom didn’t clean; but she clearly disliked it. And that’s okay.

Not everyone gets a joy out of cleaning any more than they have to. In fact, that would have made a great title for another one of Mom’s self-published books. She often published household hints, in her newsletter issues, to help make the average homemaker’s life a little easier.

The American Cleaning Institute claims that, on average, Americans spend approximately six hours per week cleaning their homes. The most dreaded cleaning tasks, by percentage, are cleaning the bathroom (at 52%), cleaning the kitchen (at 23%), dusting (at 21%), mopping (at 20%) and doing the laundry (at 17%).


As seen in her column…

No Laugh’N Matter (The Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan; Feb 14, 1974)


Many of you have written, asking what shortcuts I recommend for getting through the hang ups of housework. I thought you’d never ask. And I’m happy to share with you some of the lesser known household hints that you are not apt to find in the elegant publications…

Now, my household hints are NOT necessarily recommended by GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Dr. Seuss, my mother-in-law, the neighbors, Mr. Clean…but they do work! Unless, that is, you’re expecting miracles.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS: If, while they are in the refrigerator, leftovers become as hairy as hedgehogs at bay, don’t try to throw them out. Feed them dead flies and keep them as pets!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT COBWEBS: If you have cobwebs in your corners and can’t figure out why, because you don’t have a cob in the house; ignore them if you can’t reach them. If somebody calls them to your attention, exclaim with pride, ‘Oh! I can’t touch those. They’re my son’s science project!’

WHAT TO DO ABOUT JAR LIDS THAT REFUSE TO BUDGE: Tell a 4-year-old not to touch them!

IF YOU HAVE OVER-SIZED HIPS: Wear Jodhpurs. They’ll go out where you do!

IF YOU PUT ON WEIGHT EASILY: Let out your couch!

TROUBLE FALLING A SLEEP? If you can’t count sheep… try talking to the Shepherd!

CONCERNED ABOUT SHORTAGES? Help conserve water… bathe with someone you love! Help conserve paper… stamp out bumper stickers! Get an education… drive a school bus! Eat a beaver… save a tree!

TO CONSERVE ENERGY: Don’t hold post-mortems, brooding over your mistakes. The faster you make one, the less apt anybody is to notice it.



CLEANER FLOORS: If you have tried the miracle product as advertised on TV and you still can’t get your floors to look as clean as those seen on the commercial, write to the manufacturer of that cleaner and have them send you that mop!

SHORT ON SILVERWARE AT MEALTIME? Delegate a search party of children to check out the sand box, toy chest and cold air returns. Chance are, you’ll find them!

TO REMOVE CHEWING GUM from a new, white bedspread, apply peanut butter by rubbing with vigorous motions. If it still doesn’t come out, get a new bedspread!

TO AVOID HAVING YOUR HUSBAND USE THE GUEST TOWELS to clean the carburetor…hang only cleaning rags on the bathroom towel racks!


If you live in a state like Michigan, where it snows at least half of the year, even in spring, you may be interested to know that an hour of shoveling snow burns 405 calories. Also, now that the weather is starting to improve, an hour spent on hand-washing the car will burn 306 calories.

And don’t forget that spending at least one hour of hard work, picking up garbage and debris, while CLEANING up the neighborhood, can also burn a whopping 450 calories AND improve your community! What a great idea and it’s beneficial for all!


In honor of Saturday, being the start of April, which is National Pecan Month, among other things, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Sanders’ 3-Layer (Pecan) Bar Cookies; as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 48).


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


March celebrates, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Sauce Month, and National Women’s History Month!



[NOTE: Lent began on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, and runs, throughout March, until Thursday, April 6th (for 2023).]

Today is also… National Joe Day, National Scribble Day, and National Spanish Paella Day!

Tomorrow is… National Black Forest Cake Day and National Something on a Stick Day!

Wednesday, March 29th is… National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, National Nevada Day, and National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!


Thursday, March 30th is… National Take a Walk in the Park Day, National Doctors Day, National I Am in Control Day, National Pencil Day, National Turkey Neck Soup Day, and National Virtual Vacation Day!

Friday, March 31st is… National Bunsen Burner Day, National Clams on the Half Shell Day, National Crayon Day, and National Tater Day!

Saturday is the start of April, which observes, among other things… Keep America Beautiful Month, 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, and Scottish-American Heritage Month!

April 1st is also… April Fool’s Day and National Sourdough Bread Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in April (for 2023), it’s…  National Love Our Children Day, National Play Outside Day, and National Handmade Day, too!

Sunday, April 2nd is… National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! Plus (for 2023), it’s also… National Education and Sharing Day! Additionally, the first full week of April is… National Public Health Week!


…13 down and 39 to go!