HOT FUDGE SUNDAE TOPPING [& Butterscotch Variation]

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE TOPPING [& Butterscotch Variation]

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 6).


12-oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

14-oz can Eagle Brand Milk

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup hot coffee [black]


Combine all 4 ingredients in top of a double boiler, over simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Allow to cook, without stirring, for 15 minutes. Use portable electric mixer to beat sauce for 1 minute on high speed, upon removing from hot water. Serve sauce at once, spooned over ice cream. Makes 2 cups.


Following above recipe, use butterscotch morsels instead of chocolate chips and maple flavoring instead of vanilla.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Those Hounding Dog Days

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Those Hounding Dog Days

#TGIM – Thank God It’s Monday, again; and, as such, #HappyMonday to all! 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!


Here, in the northern hemisphere, we’re almost to the middle of summer and the unbearable, sweltering heat of “The Dog Days” continue to hound us, with practically no relief in sight! Many Michiganders are almost wishing the “Polar Vortex” would pay us another quick visit.

“The dog days” is a term we often hear, and many of us assume that it refers to how much dogs will lethargically lie around on these extremely hot, intolerable days. But did you know that “the dog” is actually an ancient celestial reference?


According to’s “Why Are They Called ‘The Dog Days of Summer’?”, a great article by Christopher Klein (no date available), “… it’s a throwback to the time when ancient civilizations tracked the seasons by looking to the sky. The ancient Greeks noticed that summer’s most intense heat occurred during the approximate 40-day period in the summertime when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose and set with the sun…”

During this time of the year, ancient Greeks believed that Sirius (aka: “the dog star”), which is also part of the Canis Major (aka: Greater Dog) constellation, gave off heat like the sun because it was so bright. They supposed, therefore, that it’s daytime appearance, along with the sun, contributed to the extreme heat and high temperatures.

By the way, when Sirius breaks its sync with the sun and returns to shining in the night sky, it’s considered to be a sign of the end of “the dog days”.’s, “Why Are They Called ‘Dog Days Of Summer’?” (by Farmer’s Almanac Staff; updated July 11, 2022) claims that the exact dates of “the dog days” vary by latitude.

Currently, in the U.S., it’s around July 3rd through Aug. 11th; but the Almanac also reports that, in ten thousand years or so, Sirius’ coordination with the rising and setting sun “will fall back so late on the calendar that future civilizations in the northern hemisphere will experience ‘the dog days’ of winter.”


As seen in her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI)

(Published in the Port Huron Times Herald; Aug. 18, 1977)


INASMUCH AS THIS IS an election year, I wish the governor would include me in a kind of relief program to cover mothers of children who are on vacation for the summer. After two weeks of muddy blue jeans and wet towels, my Biz Bag turned in a letter of complaint and left for Yellowstone. And the refrigerator door has not closed since school did.

‘With Avon, you get personal service’, they tell me on TV. Well, since the kids have been home on vacation, my Avon lady asked me to pick up my order… in a locker at the bus terminal.

Of course, summer has not always made me feel like a wart on a hog at bay. In the days of my energy, I could spend a languid afternoon with the entire family at the beach and frolicking through the sand, could sally forth to the Good Humor truck, with brood in tow, while each one took 20 minutes to decide which flavor they would take.

I know you won’t believe this, but I could then bring myself to embrace a child with all of the tranquilized sweetness of Doris Day and plead: ‘Please, Michael, tell Mommy where you buried Daddy!’ I wouldn’t have minded so much except Daddy was carrying the money for the Good Humor man in his swim trunks pocket.

And it was completely unreasonable to expect the Good Humor man to accept one of the children as collateral – or ALL of them for that matter – until we could uncover Daddy. For these are the same children who follow you through the souvenir pavilion, commenting candidly: ‘Look, Mommy. That Lady has her wig on crooked.’ And ‘doesn’t that man have funny looking knees?’

At moments like these, I know I was never meant for motherhood. It can be very depressing. But gone are the days when I approached summer vacation with the children as if I had the unfailing cheer of Betty White and Ralph Edwards.

I wasn’t meant to spend my life serving Kool-Aid and Crispy Critters to swarms of children who embark on our porch like occupational troops in the Berlin Airlift.

I always found that, just as I was about to walk the gangplank of gloom, a cheerful neighbor (probably the mother of ONE) would enumerate for me all the blessings of having the children at home and prescribe how to enjoy them while they’re small – which is exactly like trying to tell me the only way to save money in Las Vegas is to step off the plane and walk directly into the propellers.

I mean, how can anyone live with children, who think all it takes to open a limeade stand is the garden hose and a sack of lime; who now slam the same door all summer they left open all winter; who, for the entire 87 days of summer [vacation] will ask questions like: ‘Why can’t we go see FRITZ THE CAT? It’s a cartoon – isn’t it?’ And ‘Why do you have that twitch in your neck, Mommy?’ Or ‘Can I put a band aid on this worm?’

If a summer relief program is out of the question for mothers like me, I personally feel that the least the governor could do is declare me ‘A Depressed Area!’

It’s hard to get much work done during the dog days. It’s the kind of sweltering heat that makes me want to sell my stove in my next yard sale! In fact, the Thumb Coast’s M-25/M-29 Yard Sale Trail is coming soon! This is the time of year when I usually break out my cookbooks for microwaving, grilling, or set-and-forget crock-pot ideas!

What can I say? It’s still JULY, which equals SUMMERTIME and is practically synonymous with GRILLING! Hence, we’re continuing to celebrate National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month – and probably will continue to do so throughout August, as well!

Just about everywhere I go, these days, the smells of backyard cookouts – with sizzling burgers, chicken, hot dogs (it’s also National Hot Dog Month) bratts, or steaks – seem to drift through all the neighborhoods around me. Thus, sharing grilling ideas and creations on social media with #NationalGrillingMonth is very much encouraged.


I like to mention the social media sharing because Mom always believed that great recipes need to be shared! Whether you grill with gas or propane or lighter fluid and charcoal… Whether you have a small, tabletop hibachi or a large, deck-sized apparatus… What’s your special outdoor noshing go-to?

Whenever you light up your grill, especially this month, know that you’re part of an ongoing celebration for National Grilling Month. On a side note, be aware that July is considered the driest and hottest month of the summer, too; therefore, be mindful of the dangers of fire and be prepared – take extra precautions!


In honor of TODAY, being National Hot Fudge Sundae Day – plus, it’s still National Ice Cream Month, too – here is Mom’s secret, 4-ingredient recipe for “Hot Fudge Sundae Topping” (with a variation for “Hot Butterscotch Topping”, as well); from her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 6).



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


July’s other observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Horseradish Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, and National Peach Month!

Today is also… National Merry-Go-Round Day, National Threading the Needle Day, and National Wine and Cheese Day!

Tomorrow is… National Aunt and Uncle’s Day, National Bagelfest Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, and National All or Nothing Day!

Wednesday, July 27th is… National Love is Kind Day, National Scotch Day, National Crème Brulé Day, and National New Jersey Day!


July 28th is… National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in July (for 2022), it’s also… National Refreshment Day! Additionally, it’s also the last Thursday in July (for 2022), so it’s also… National Chili Dog Day!

Friday, July 29th is… National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Chicken Wing Day!

Saturday, July 30th is… National Father-in-Law Day and National Cheesecake Day! In honor of the latter, here’s two more new shares of Mom’s copycat recipes – “Hotel Astor’s Cheese-less Cheesecake” and “Hudson’s Chiffon Cheesecake” – both from her “Original 200” collection.


Sunday, July 31st is… National Avocado Day, National Raspberry Cake Day , and National Mutt Day!



…30 down and 22 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Junk Food

Happy Monday once again! If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you probably already know that I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



First of all, I want to wish a very happy 100th birthday to White Castle! They’re one of a handful of companies that were actually happy with and flattered by Mom’s imitations of some of their menu items. A few years ago, I found an old letter among some of Mom’s things that I got after her passing; from Gail Turley, who was at that time, the Director of Advertising and Public Relations with White Castle (Columbus, Ohio).

Gail was very flattered with Mom’s imitation of their slider and dually impressed with her clever use of baby food to enhance the flavor of the beef. She even bought 15 copies of Mom’s cookbook (which contained the White Castle Hamburger knockoff) to share with some of her colleagues!

Mom’s original editorial on the company, along with other information and her make-alike recipe, can be found on pages 12-13 of Mom’s last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; January 2018, 1st Printing) – which is a re-write of her famous book, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Printing).


This coming Wednesday is, among other things, National Junk Food Day! Beginning in the mid-1970s, my mom quickly became well-known locally, nationally and internationally (as Canada is just across the river from us), for busting the mysteries behind making restaurant dishes, fast food items, and junk food fare at home!

Mom reasoned that she could take the junk out of junk food if she controlled the ingredients that went into the products and cuisine, in the first place. Throughout the first two decades of her family-operated business, she demonstrated her talents for imitating our favorite foods from our favorite places on TV shows like the Phil Donahue Show and ABC’s Home show. She also visited hundreds of radio shows, nationally and internationally, for over four decades!

Mom developed THOUSANDS of “secret recipes” over the years, imitating trendy menu choices from many popular chain and fine-dining restaurants; in addition to well-liked, shelf-stable grocery products! Most of Mom’s cookbooks focused on imitating grocery products, junk food, fast food and other restaurant dishes at home.

She was known as the Secret Recipes Detective – the pioneer who first forged the copycat cookery concept, writing and self-publishing more than 30 cookbooks in a 30-year span, from 1973 through 2002; as well as hundreds of newsletters from January 1974 through December 2000! You can find more information on most of her publishings by clicking on the “Cookbooks” and “Other Publications” tabs on this website.

Mom’s definition for ‘junk food’ was always “poorly prepared food”, but she found a way to “have the cake and eat it too!” Junk is in the eye of the beholder. Mom claimed to be able to take the junk out of junk food, by imitating the taboo products at home, where she could control the ingredients. It was a food industry break through that had many companies up in arms, like Sarah Lee and Hostess, to name a couple!


As seen in…

Eating Out at Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; September 1978, pp. 2-3)


YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW exactly how the original dish was prepared by the commercial food chains. All you need is a basic recipe to which you will add that ‘special seasoning’ or that ‘secret method of preparation’ that sets one famous secret recipe apart from those similar to it…

When I work to duplicate a recipe so that the finished product is as good as (if not better than) a famous restaurant dish, I begin by asking myself a series of questions: I want to know what color the finished dish has…[and] was it achieved by baking, frying or refrigeration?…What specific flavors can I identify?… and about how much of each may have been used…

Similar tests are used in chemistry…[to]…break down the components of an unknown substance and try to rebuild it. So the cook must work like a chemist (and not like a gourmet; who, most of the time, never uses a recipe – but, rather, creates one.)

The most remarkable part of the duplication of famous recipes is that you can accept the challenge to ‘try’ to match their [dish or product]. Sometimes, you will be successful. Sometimes you will fail in the attempt. But, at least, it can be done [‘practice makes perfect’], and it certainly takes the monotony out of mealtime when, for reasons of financial inadequacy, we cannot always eat out…

Stop cheating yourself of the pleasure of good food. Eat what you enjoy, but DON’T OVER eat…This is what really causes the problems of obesity and bad health – rather than believing the propaganda of the experts that ‘fast food’ is ‘junk food’…It is not! Poorly prepared food, whether it is from a fast-service restaurant or a [$20-plate in a] gourmet dining room, is ‘junk’, no matter how you look at it…if it is not properly prepared…

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!

Mom’s original concepts of “eating out at home” and “taking the junk out of junk food” has brought so much joy to so many people who couldn’t afford such “luxuries” as eating out, even fast food, or buying junk food; either for monetary or health reasons. Mom gained a lot of followers in the copycat movement (also some plagiarists) since she started the concept in the early 1970s.

If it saved her household money, my mom wanted to share it with the world to help others save money also. Mom was a trail-blazer when it comes to copycat cuisine, as nobody else was imitating the fast food dishes and junk food products that people craved, and which the critics constantly warned the public were unhealthy!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018; p. 6)

[A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]


THE CRITICS WHO CONTEND that ‘fast foods’ are ‘junk foods’ and not good for us, have probably never prepared these foods themselves. Certainly, they have no access to the closely guarded recipes from the food companies that created these dishes, as there are only a few people in each operation that are permitted the privilege of such information! So, 99% of the critics’ speculations are based on their own opinions…

‘Fast foods’ are not ‘junk foods’ unless they’re not properly prepared. Any food that is poorly prepared (and just as badly presented) is junk!

Unfortunately, ‘fast food’ has carried a reputation, by default, of containing ingredients that are ‘harmful’ to us. Yet, they contain the same ingredients as those foods served in the ‘fine’ restaurants with wine stewards, linen table cloths, candlelight, coat-check attendants and parking valets; which separate the plastic palaces of ‘fast food’ from the expensive dining establishments.

One ‘eats’ at McDonald’s, but ‘dines’ at ‘The Four Seasons’. Steak and potato or hamburger and French fries – the ingredients are practically the same. How they are prepared makes the difference!…

James Dewar started out driving a horse-drawn wagon in Chicago and, by 1930, was manager of the Continental Baking Company’s Chicago establishment. He invented “The Twinkie”, a sponge-type cake with creamy vanilla-flavored filling [in the early 30s.] It has been called the “Grand-daddy” of modern snack foods.

Today, the finger-sized cream-filled cake is as big a confectionery sensation as they were when Dewar first introduced his creation to American cuisine. The company that put out the Twinkie was originally called the Continental Baking Company and later became the Hostess company.

At the time, he wanted to give the public something reasonably priced, for the Great Depression of the 30s brought grave times to this country. Treats like the cream-filled Twinkies, would be a luxury to people who couldn’t afford otherwise.

For decades, the appealing factor about the Twinkies national popularity has been that it is affordable! Dewar put 2 cakes in each package, selling them for $.05 a pair. For the price of a nickel, it was quite a bargain. Dewar remembered how the Continental Baking Company was selling small finger-sized shortcakes for strawberry season in the 1930s.

The pans they used to bake them in were not being used except for the spring promotion to produce the shortcakes. He, therefore, came up with the idea of preparing the same shortcake in those pans, but filling each cake with an injection of vanilla cream.

The Twinkies became an immediate success! The idea for the name, on the other hand, came while he was on a business trip to St. Louis and saw a billboard advertising “Twinkle Toes Shoes”, which was, then, a terrific sales pitch. The name “Twinkies” was a spinoff of that shoe advertisement.

From then on, the cakes took off. When Dewar retired from Continental in 1968, he boasted often to the press that he ate scores of Twinkies every day. That’s not a bad endorsement for the critics who claim junk food will shorten your life span.


For some of us, every day is “Junk Food Day” but for the rest of us National Junk Food Day is a special opportunity to eat our favorite junk foods – supposedly without the guilt. Speaking for myself, as a “junk food junkie”, they’re ALL my favorites and it’s very hard to choose!

DISCLAIMER NOTE: Junk food may be hazardous to your health! Thus, indulge at your own risk! To me, that’s like telling a former smoker or compulsive gambler or an alcoholic to “indulge responsibly” in whatever their “crutch” may be – after all, it’s just for a day… But for some there’s the afterparty… And the after-the-afterparty-party…

According to, “Studies have shown that consuming junk food ONCE-IN-A-WHILE does not have a negative effect on health – it is only when one eats junk food for a majority of their meals that their diet can be considered unhealthy. Consuming large amounts of foods considered to be “junk”, can lead to several health problems, including a high risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart issues.”

On a side note, regarding junk food, I’d like to add that You Tube has a really good video called “Junk Food Junkie”, by Larry Groce (1976) at I also found a lot of information and ideas for celebrating this awesome event at


In honor of Wednesday, being National Hot Dog Day (which is always the third Wednesday of July) – and July is also National Hot Dog Month – here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “O’Nasty Coney Sauce”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 66)

[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…


Some of July’s observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Ice Cream Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month!

Other celebrations happening this week include:

Yesterday (Sunday, the 18th) began the third week of July; which is, among other things, Everybody Deserves a Massage Week, National Zoo Keeper Week, and National Parenting Gifted Children Week! Additionally…

Today is… National Daiquiri Day and National Get Out of the Dog House Day (which is always the third Monday in July)!

Tomorrow, July 20th is… National Fortune Cookie Day, National Moon Day, National Lollipop Day, and National Pennsylvania Day!

Wednesday, July 21st is also… National Be Someone Day!

July 22nd is… National Penuche Fudge Day, National Hammock Day, and National Refreshment Day (which is always the fourth Thursday in July)!

Friday, July 23rd is… Gorgeous Grandma Day and National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

Saturday, July 24th is… National Tequila Day, National Drive-Thru Day, National Cousins Day, and National Amelia Earhart Day!

Sunday is… National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation for a BIG Michigander favorite – Sanders Hot Fudge Sauce!


July 25th is also… National Merry-Go-Round Day, National Threading the Needle Day, National Wine and Cheese Day, and National Parent’s Day (which is always the fourth Sunday in July)!


…29 down and 23 to go!