When you visited a Chuck Muer restaurant, this was their desert specialty. It’s much like the pie served at Win Schuler’s restaurant. So, depending on where you would like to be at the time you prepare this, have it a-la-Muer’s or a-la-Schuler’s!
When I was invited into the kitchen of Chuck Muer’s River Crab restaurant (St. Clair, MI) to observe them preparing some of their dishes, I made a mental note to try this pie at home. With a great deal of work on the exact proportions for making only one pie, while they made up to 15 or 20 at a time, it was indeed a challenge! But this is my version of it – and it is almost as good!
Half of a 1-pound bag of large marshmallows
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup Crème De Menthe liqueur
¼ cup Crème De Cacao liqueur
20 Oreo (cream-filled sandwich) cookies
1 envelope, unflavored, gelatin powder
6 tablespoons melted butter
8 ounces heavy whipping cream
Melt the marshmallows with milk in a sauce pan over low to medium heat until smooth, stirring constantly. When completely melted, remove from heat. Stir in [both] liqueurs and refrigerate the mixture until completely cooled. Meanwhile, crush cookies to fine crumbs. Mix well with gelatin powder and melted butter.
Pat evenly over bottom and sides of a buttered 10-inch Pyrex pie plate and chill. Remove the marshmallow mixture from the refrigerator to a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until it holds its shape. Fold it into the marshmallow mixture, using low speed of electric mixer, just to blend thoroughly.
Pile it neatly into the chilled Oreo crust. Garnish top with ½ cup more crushed Oreo cookies and return it to the refrigerator to chill for several hours or until firm enough to cut into 6 to 8 serving pieces. Keep pie refrigerated until served, up to a week. Freezes well up to 3 months.
Today is, among other things, one of the biggest virtual shopping days of the year, otherwise known as Cyber Monday. It was officially named so by the National Retail Federation in 2005. Since early this century, continuous increases in online shopping, over the years, have caused a ripple effect of brick-and-mortar stores and malls having to close their doors.
After the Covid-19 pandemic started a couple of years ago, online shopping has soared. Cyber Monday sales are far surpassing Black Friday’s sales, by leaps and bounds. Virtual shopping has become so much more commonplace, now – especially with the younger generations.
I’ve noticed, this year, a lot of brick-and-mortar stores have been offering extremely early “Black Friday deals” to compete with online sales campaigns like “Prime Day”, “Cyber Monday”, and the like. I feel bad for them. I prefer shopping in person, myself. Besides, there have been more and more warnings on my local news programs for “buyers beware”, as scams are everywhere in cyber-land.
Regardless, virtual stores are competing on the world-wide web for everyone’s hard-earned dollars; offering rock-bottom, price-cut deals and fast or free shipping. These days, with inflation and the cost of fuel, shipping can be a deal maker or breaker on many online purchases.
Traditionally, since about the 1950s, Black Friday has been the highpoint of holiday shopping, when shoppers physically went out to the brick-and-mortar stores for the all-time-best deals of the year. Extreme shoppers have waited in lines outside of stores for hours (even days) before they opened for their “special” Black Friday deals.
However, the trend is changing, now. Due to the ever increasing online shopping, over the past couple decades, we’ve witnessed the closings of many small shops, department stores, and malls across America. It’s a new “Amazon era” for online shopping and home delivery. Unfortunately, brick-and-mortar retailers are becoming relics of the past.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 108)
SMALL BUSINESSES DISAPPEARING – THE CLOWN SHOP IS GONE!
IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE to change things, yet I noticed this morning, for the first time, that the clown shop in the mall is gone – vacated, empty. I kept meaning to go there, but in the year or two that it was there, time passed, and I never did. It must’ve been a wonderfully unique shop – operated by a retired circus clown, from what I’ve been told.
Yet, I put off stopping in to see what gifts [and] what fun he had to offer. My husband was in the shop perhaps a few times. He even bought me a little clown statue for my birthday last January  and the thimble shaped like a clown for our niece in California. I was going to stop into the shop soon. I really was.
Now that the shop is gone, I feel personally responsible for the loss. And, of course, multiply me by a few hundred folks in town, too, who could have stopped but didn’t, even though they meant to. We’re all to blame for the loss.
Of course, the shop was located on the ‘street side’ of the mall, too, rather than in the concourse, so it would have to be a special trip around the buildings to get me there. But now that I think about it, I’m saddened by the prospect that my not patronizing the shop contributed to its going out of business.
Certainly, we need clowns in this life. And while my feet are usually anchored firmly in reality, I feel a great need for stepping often into the light-hearted dimension of the whimsical, the amusing, the ridiculous. There comes a time, each day, when the sadness of the tragedies in the worldly arena seem just too much to bear, too much to accept.
The newscasts of radio and television hammer away hourly, repeatedly at whatever catastrophe has occurred recently. There seem to be no good reports of what’s going on in the world. I know there is good. We just don’t hear too much to cheer us though.
The clown shop could easily have provided something to lighten the gloom, lifting the shade to see beyond hardship and unhappiness. But it looks as if people are becoming hardened to the beauty of simplicity and humor. It looks as if they’re growing paranoid instead about their priorities, about cholesterol, sodium, the sun’s rays (which we used to call ‘sunshine’), about how much they should weigh and how long they will live.
More human energy seems to be spent desperately worrying about the uncertainties of the future than is used to enjoy the simple beauty of our NOW! Our precious ‘now’ should hold more than fear. It should instead hold wholesome fun and the expectancy of good.
The interest in outsiders and people with marginal lives is rooted in my own sense of self as I look for the erasers of the gloom, diversions from the serious and the morbid. By no means do I imply that gloom and seriousness and what is morbid should be ignored.
It should be a must be dealt with, but it should require more of our attention than does the lovely, the light-hearted, the lively in life. I could have found some little offering of fun in the clown shop. ‘Laugh and the world laughs with you. [Cry] and you [cry] alone.’ [Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Solitude (1883)]
If I cry, it is because I know it was there – like a lot of life’s jewels at our feet. I just didn’t do anything about it. If I get another opportunity to patronize a good and wholesome thing, like the clown shop, I will. I promise I will – even though the clown shop is gone.
When I was a young teen, Mom used to take me and my sisters to Lakeside Mall. Back then, that was the popular place to shop, with its big, anchor, department stores like Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penny’s and J.L. Hudson’s. It was an all-day shopping and working event.
Mom gave each of us girls a handful of her business cards to stick in the pockets of various clothes and purse displays, while we shopped. She developed this innovative way to advertise, locally, after hearing an inspiring interview of an award winning car salesman from Detroit. By the way, National Salesperson Day is on Friday of next week (for 2022)!
After a few hours of shopping and marketing, Mom treated us to lunch at one of the department stores’ dining rooms, where she usually found more great dishes to imitate at home. You can’t do that when you shop virtually. There aren’t any interactions with other people – no smiles, no conversations, etc. – I miss those days, at the mall, with Mom.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
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. 43)
YOU’VE MADE A FRIEND
A SMILE IS the universal, unspoken language between us. Some people smile more easily than others, but a smile is as good as a hug. I just LOVE people who smile a lot! Even when I’m shopping or [when Paul and I are] walking around the campgrounds on one of our abbreviated ‘get-aways’ with our motorhome, I find myself smiling at people I have never seen before, and they smile back. It’s contagious!
People don’t smile as much as they should! I’ve noticed lately how seldom strangers smile at each other in shopping centers and restaurants and other places where average folks mingle or pass. It occurred to me that there was nothing to lose by smiling and nodding at people as I shopped or glanced across a restaurant to other tables.
A surprising thing happened! Grim looking faces spontaneously responded with smiles and nods, as if they were trying to place me or recall where we might have met before. It was just wonderful!
Did you know that synonyms for “cyber” include replicate and imitate? I find it ironic that Mom, the ORIGINAL recipe replicator, never learned how to use the internet to replicate and expand her mail-order business in the new millennium’s digital era.
Early in the new millennium, Mom bought a computer and tried to learn how to operate it, but it proved to be too over-whelming for her to comprehend. She felt so stressed from it, she ended up giving her new computer to one of her grandchildren, instead.
In August 2008, my brother, Mike, created the TheRecipeDetective.com’s original website for Mom and Dad’s business. It was a new platform from which they could promote their current Secret RecipesTM offerings and give out free recipes too, as Mom traditionally had done from the beginning.
Since Mom and Dad knew nothing about technology, Mike created and managed the website for them for 10 years. They were so grateful for his help in that area! The summer after Mom passed away, I wanted to start writing this blog about her being the ORIGINAL “Secret Recipe Detective”. I asked Mike if I could put my blog on the website that he was still managing. Instead, he transferred the domain to me. For that, I am forever grateful to him, too!
In honor of Thursday, being National Pie Day, here’s TWO of Mom’s copycat pie recipes. The first one is for Grasshopper Pie, like Michigan’s famous Chuck Muer’s and Win Schuler’s restaurants once served; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 251). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
This second pie recipe of Mom’s was first printed in her self-published cookbook, Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979). It’s called Vinegar Pie, from our northern, mid-west roots. Mom updated the recipe and reprinted it in her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 148).
Happy Monday and happy 2022 to everybody! As I’ve been saying for the past couple of years, #TGIM! That’s because I look forward to every Monday. Each year, they’re my 52 Chances, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!
Today is the first Monday of the first month of the new year! More than any other Monday of the year, today represents new beginnings! Today is also celebrated by many as National Thank God It’s Monday Day! Mondays are more often thought of as the beginning of a new week, rather than Sundays.
I love how NationalDayCalendar.com says we should… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 chances to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives… of meeting new people.”
Mondays have been my favorite day of the week for years, especially since I started writing and posting these blog posts on Mondays, in the fall of 2018. Thus, I’ll continue to reiterate my 2020 New Year’s resolution, to celebrate every Monday (especially today) as my own 52 chances per year to share my mom’s story with everyone!
I do this, still, in hopes of stirring up more wonderful cooking memories (which many readers have shared with me); as well as to re-inspire love in the kitchen, in the home, and in the family. I hope, in turn, that love will spread throughout the neighborhood and around the world; because, as Mom used to say, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 23)
IN THE BEGINNING
AT THE TIME THE ASSIGNMENT was handed to me by the newspaper editor for whom I then worked; I knew more about cooking than anyone else on the staff. I was also the only ‘married lady’ on the staff, which in those days of homemaking, housewives and the Donna Reed show, automatically qualified me to handle the food page at the newspaper (when I had been a feature writer and columnist for a long time.)
I accepted the challenge wholeheartedly because I did want to write for the paper. If they had told me to do the obituaries, I would’ve given even that assignment my best effort. The food page was a challenge for me, in view of the fact that there was no test kitchen at the newspaper. I would be testing the recipes in my own kitchen at home. There was a small compensation in my paycheck at the end of the week for the groceries I used, but not enough to fully reimburse me. I accepted what they gave me gratefully, however…
Of course, I look back now in amazement at what I was able to do for a whole week with a 3-pound package of hamburger. How it began as spaghetti sauce, then sloppy Joe mixture and, with the addition of red kidney beans and some other seasonings, chili concurrently… It was fun, too, now that I recall those early days.
‘Don’t count your days, make your days count!’ – source unknown
Reading more and learning something new every day have been other successful New Year’s resolutions of mine, which I continue to repeat each year. Mom instilled in me, when I was very young, the importance of knowledge and to Learn Something New Every Day! As the old adage indicates, knowledge is wealth!
There was a time when women and girls weren’t even ALLOWED to read or learn anything other than how to be a good wife and homemaker. Unfortunately, I think that’s still so in some places around the world. So even evolution, itself, is still evolving.
Over the past few years, in my own quest to Learn Something New Every Day, NationalDayCalendar.com has been one of my favorite go-to-sources for information. Something is celebrated every day of the year even if it’s not a federal holiday and I’ve found National Day Calendar’s website to be a really great source of information about what’s being commemorated (and how) each day, every week, and in all months!
Since January is also National Hobby Month, I want to re-share one of Mom’s stories (aka: memories) about her dining room table, family-based business not being a hobby. It was her profession, career, and livelihood; but it was never work – not to Mom – and certainly never a hobby!
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.
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 [writing] since I was a child. 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 asks about writing their own cookbook, that WRITING it is the easiest part. Knowing how to SELL it is the hard part!
In honor of TODAY, being National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for homemade Chocolate-Covered Cherries AND two related recipes (for Truffles and Vanilla Candy Icing); as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, pp. 199 & 220).
1983 – The Joy of Not Cooking Any More Than You Have To was written, illustrated and published by Gloria Pitzer (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI). NO LONGER IN PRINT – this cookbook has a 240-page, 6″ x 9″ format, filled with more than 700 recipes for making more of your favorite restaurant dishes or grocery products at home, in much less time, using fewer ingredients and at a minimum cost. There’s also an array of Gloria’s trademark humor, inspirational stories and “Food-for-Thought” tucked in the pages as well.
Sub-Titles: “The All-Purpose Fast Food Cookbook”
Years: May 1983 – Oct 1984+ (sold out by May 1987)