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 – May For National Mothers Month!

Happy post Mother’s Day Monday and #TGIM – as I continue looking forward to Mondays and my #52Chances a year, in which I have to share my memories of Mom!

I spent the weekend commemorating and reminiscing about my mom (as well as both of my grandmas), in honor of Mother’s Day, as I went through their old photo albums and scrap books that I’ve inherited. I mused over how much they, each, have influenced me and taught me things as I was growing up and, especially, after I had children of my own. I miss them all so much.

Generally, moms (and grandmas, alike) provide our primary and most influential impressions – nurturing us, teaching us, and molding who we become as adults, ourselves. Hence, moms should be celebrated and honored for more than just a day! In essence, that is why I write these blog posts every week – to celebrate and honor my mom even more than just on Mother’s Day.

Mom & Dad with each of their moms – December 1985

This week, I wanted to write a special “Mom’s Day” tribute – for my mom, my grandmas and all of the inspiring mothers, everywhere. Yesterday was perhaps a much different Mother’s Day celebration than most of us have ever experienced previously! 2020 is undoubtedly going to see a lot of “firsts” in the way we celebrate holidays and special events.

Regardless, I hope all the moms out there had some kind of safe, marvelous, memory-making Mother’s Day observance; despite our new norms from the pandemic! Currently, some moms are being “essential workers” on the “front lines”, as described by the CDC, and some moms are being “essential workers” on the “home-front line”, as they have never been before. Some super moms are juggling both!

Over the past several months, our homes that were once our havens from the rat race have now become our shelters from the Covid storm. Home-sweet-home has become a combination personal office, school, gym, library, church, theater, eatery and much more. “Stay Home” orders are still in place here, in Michigan, and elsewhere, to continue “flattening the curve” of the pandemic’s spread that has plagued our world.

Mother’s Day – 2007

Mothers and daughters share a special and unique bond! I think that is especially so when grandchildren come into the picture, as that’s when I most realized WHY Mom did all that she did in raising me and my siblings – when I had my own children. That next generation put our relationship on a whole new level! I think the same can be said for my daughter and I, especially after she had a child of her own, too. Mom used to always say, loud and proud, “GRANDCHILDREN ARE A BLESSING!” I second that!


A 4-generation photo from my mom’s last Mother’s Day celebration (2017) at the Community Wesleyan Church in Marysville, MI.

As I wrote about last May, we should always honor our mothers, regardless of the day – but why not create a national month-long celebration for moms! I even advocated that we should start a campaign for May to be National Mother’s Month! Who’s with me?

I feel that one of the best ways I can pay tribute to my mom – and that anybody else can pay tribute to their mom, as well – is to PAY IT FORWARD; honoring all that she has sacrificed, given and taught by passing it on to the next generation and hoping that they will, in turn, do the same. “Honor thy mother!” AND “Be the best you!” That, I believe, is the most excellent, of which any of us can achieve!

In my blog posts, as my mom did in her own patch-work-quilt-style writings, I try to bring “my readers” a hodge-podge of happy recollections of, both, Mom and the nostalgia of days gone by. Add in a few smiles and, maybe, a giggle or even a belly-laugh. I also enjoy sharing little bits of knowledge on hot topics and current events; with a recipe or two from Mom’s collection (and, occasionally, my own) as the whipped cream on top of the banana split!

I have so many wonderful memories, traditions and teachings that Mom instilled in me, and which her mom (and Dad’s mom) taught her. I can only hope that, in sharing them with all of you, they may benefit someone else, in some way, as much as they have me and my family!

Mom used to joke, in her cartoons and columns, about how Americans honor things like pickles for a whole week, while mothers are celebrated for only one day. I would also like to know why silly things, like pickles and other oddities are celebrated for a full week or even all month-long, while our very givers-of-life only get one special day of honor!

Granted, there is a lot more marketing, promotions and sales of cards, candy, jewelry, flowers and so on for Mother’s Day than there is for National Pickles Week! All around the world, moms are perceived as probably the most influential and compelling people – not only in how they impact our own personal lives, but also in how they leave their impactful footprints on the world, one child (or future adult) at a time!

Share your thoughts and use #NationalMothersMonth on social media, if you agree that mothers should be celebrated for the whole month of May!

Beyond our mother-daughter relationship, Mom and I shared an even more amazing relationship, as during the last few years of her life, I worked closely with her; rewriting one of her favorite, self-published cookbooks, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook. We chose the May 1983, 3rd Printing edition to rewrite and reformat for the new digital age. It was originally self-published in 1982, after Mom’s FIRST appearance on the “Phil Donahue Show”.

The book was freshly configured and somewhat updated for a new, digital generation to enjoy! The collaboration and partnership, between us, put our mother-daughter relationship on a completely new and different plane, for which I am forever grateful. The more I delved into Mom’s writings, the more I was inspired and moved in my own desires to be a writer. Now, here I am and, like half of what Mom always said, “…writing makes living worthwhile.” I just wish I could make a living with it.

Before she ever became the Recipe DetectiveTM, before she authored and self-published over 200 newsletter issues and more than 40 cookbooks, Mom created and syndicated many editorial-style columns that covered the satirical side of current events and hot topics, as they related to homemakers – some included recipes and/or cooking tips.

Mom’s writings ran under the various titles of “The Pitzer Patter”, “Minding the Hearth”, “The Cook’s Corner”, “Food for Thought” and “No Laughing Matter”. Mom also created a series of cartoon panels called “Full House, as kept by Gloria Pitzer”, which also focused on the satirical side of the not-so-liberated-life of a wife, mother and homemaker, such as herself.

Mom always had a very satirical sense of humor – not just in her writings and drawings, but also in life. Almost half a century later, I’m amazed by the timelessness of some of the issues, about which Mom wrote. I guess it’s true – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

We still need to fix the roads and there’s still corruption in politics. Every now and again, we still face a food crisis or flooding or a water shortage or some kind of seasonal/regional natural disaster. As well, there are reoccurring rises in unemployment, interest rates, the cost of living and general inflation. History continually tends to repeat itself in new forms of old events.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer


As seen in…

No Laughing Matter (circa 1970s)


As a ‘suburban housewife’, I fail to see how anyone could classify my routine as ‘dull’! For one thing, everyone knows that the mother of an active family has no routine! We’re lucky if we can get our slippers on the right feet first thing in the morning. In fact, we’re lucky if we can even find those slippers, having to, first, plow through an undergrowth of Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs on the way to the kitchen, where we must witness testy debates over who gets the [prize] in the box of [cereal] and why a 40-year-old man refuses to take the Donald Duck Thermos in his lunch…

What’s wrong with a quest for a roll of Scotch tape that’s your very own or having the phone ring and the call is for you instead of your teenager? [Margaret Mead’s] working definition [of a ‘first-class’ woman, not being a housewife or homemaker,] is a ‘trained, competent, professional woman’. Now, I’d be the last one to contradict an expert, but in defense of women who become wives and mothers… we have had training (although much of it’s on the job), are extremely competent and are professional [according to Webster’s dictionary] in that we have ‘a vocation requiring knowledge of some department of learning or skill’…

If you don’t think it takes learning or skill to varnish a complex-of-disorder with enough love and efficiency that husbands and children grow up with security and comfort, drop around my kitchen some Sunday night… no matter what they tell us [working-outside-the-home homemakers] about turning our kids over to a day care center, there’s nothing like coming home from school to know that Mom’s in the kitchen, whipping up a pitcher of Tang and a plate of Twinkies.”

I always admired how much Mom took on, to balance homemaking and money-making responsibilities. From my youngest memories, Mom almost always worked from home or, when away, while we kids were in school; harmonizing her various jobs. Those for which she was paid money and those for which she only got perks – like hugs, kisses, and love from her family.

My mom wore many hats while simultaneously raising a husband and five kids! One of my favorite things about my life and how I was raised is how much both of my parents positively influenced and inspired me – but especially Mom, as a writer, artist, crafter, homemaker, cook, wife, mother, teacher, etc.

I really consider myself lucky to have her as my mom and that I (as well as everyone else) can continue to learn from her timeless writings – her legacy of love. That’s what I enjoy most, sharing those memories, discoveries, and lessons with all of you! I also love to hear stories from others whose lives Mom touched, as well.

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer (This is not a Cook Book, written and self-published by Gloria Pitzer (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)


In honor of National Eat What You Want Day, here is one of Mom’s popular copycat recipes, from her “Original 200” collection, for Michigan’s own Win Schuler’s Bar Cheese, as seen in The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 57). Like the Taco Cheese Spread recipe I shared last week, this cheese is not just for dipping! It can be heated and poured over roast beef, chicken, omelettes, rice, pasta, potatoes, and other vegetables – whatever you want. Experiment and enjoy!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

Now, Mondays are even more special for me because, on the last Monday of every month, I will continue sharing more “Memories of My Mom”, along with one of her famous copycat recipes, on WHBY’s “Good Neighbor” show, with host, Kathy Keene (with the exception of May’s Memorial Day, as it will be on Tuesday, the following day, instead). You can listen in, live, from a link on WHBY’s website at A few decades ago, Mom was a regular, monthly guest on Kathy’s show, for about 13 years – now it’s my turn! Mondays are absolutely marvelous!

…19 down, 33 to go!