Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Pay A Compliment

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!



Tomorrow is, among other things, National Compliment Day! And guess what – paying a compliment doesn’t cost a thing! Other than a few seconds of your time, compliments are absolutely free – one of the few things, these days, untouched by inflation (unless you equate compliments with tips).

Compliments are simply special words of affirmation and positivity, showing acknowledgement and appreciation. In fact, compliments are so extraordinary, they also have a world-wide observance dedicated to them. World Compliment Day is coming up soon, as it’s observed yearly, on the first day of March.

Likewise, this is another one of those national observances that everyone should practice daily – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, strangers – even with yourself, as well.

Words of praise spread happiness and increase confidence levels. Everyone needs confidence boosters! Sincere compliments can go a long way in spreading good will and happiness in someone’s life. In the end, we all appreciate being appreciated.


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. 24)


DON’T EXPECT THE WORLD to think you’re wonderful just because you do something ‘good’ – for someone else! Good people do good things all of the time – everyday, and no one pats them on the back for it. You have to do good – not for what others are going to think of you, but what you’re going to think of yourself!

If you get a kick out of doing something good for somebody… do it! But don’t expect any rewards or special recognition for having gone out of your way. Every once in a while you may be complimented for something good that you’ve done, and that’s very nice.

But most of the time, whatever you do is to make yourself feel better about what has to be done, or what should be done! It’s not a matter of conscience, but of compassion. Either you have it, or you don’t!

‘Life’s most precious gifts don’t come in packages. They come from the heart, wrapped in love.’ – Gloria Pitzer

Like happiness, compliments provide numerous health and emotional benefits to, both, the giver and the receiver. It’s a win-win! And did I mention it doesn’t cost anything? Happiness is well-known to be able to drive up energy, as well as self-esteem; which, in turn, is also good for the heart and, thereby, likely to help us live longer.

Paying a compliment activates certain networks in our brains, positively improving feelings, attitudes, and mindsets; while reducing stress, anxiety, and tension. Giving and receiving compliments prompt the brain to reduce cortisol and produce more endorphins and serotonin, which simply makes you feel good. says, “to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment…” similarly to Charles Colton’s theory that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Thus, Mom intended her copycat recipes to be compliments, paid to their originals.

Not all but many companies, whose products Mom had imitated, such as JL Hudson’s, Sanders’ Chocolatiers, and Wendy’s – just to name a few – were quite pleased by Mom’s imitations and took them as the compliments they were intended to be.

Others, like Wally Amos (the former “Famous” Amos), Harland Sanders (the original “Colonel” of KFC fame), Arthur Treacher (actor turned restaurateur), the people of White Castle, General Foods, Hershey’s, and McDonald’s own Paul Duncan, appreciated Mom’s flattery attempts to compliment them through her personal imitations of their products.

They’ve even complimented her on the delightful caricature names that she gave her own creations. Mom always said that those are the ones that made being the Secret Recipes Detective all worthwhile!


As seen in…

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


THE WORLD, IT IS SAID, is divided into two kinds of cooks – those who thrive on the personal inner rewards, from being good at it, and those who regard it as an occupational hazard. [My] book [‘Mixed Blessings’] is for the cook who finds the experience one that must be endured with a minimum of effort and still achieve a maximum result!

If cooking means to you, a series of achievements from which you derive great personal satisfaction and continuous compliments, you may be excused from this explanation and forge at once ahead into the recipe portion of the book. The rest of you – please, pay attention! You’re about to find reassurance that cooking can be accomplished with confidence.

When you’re not an exceptional cook, you can muddle through the murky waters of an offshore success, hoping that one dish will come along to prompt a little praise and, with a little practice, more praise. But when cooking doesn’t come easily to you, the search for a successful recipe continues, cookbook after cookbook.

So you go into the experience each time, promising yourself that you will give it your all and make your mark as a masterpiece chef. It never works out as well in your kitchen, as the cookbooks promise it will if you follow their very involved recommendations.

You only want to coax an occasional compliment now and then from those who doubt your culinary capabilities – not win the Pillsbury Bake-Off! After all, one compliment in a climate of continuous catastrophes is often just the ticket to keep you going long enough to try another dish that may prompt more praise. We all love approval!

When you are not positive about your cooking skills, however, life in your kitchen may seem like mishap without merit. You have neither the time nor inclination to master your own fate, counteract your caution with confidence, nor pursue the practice of food preparation with purpose!

For those of us who cook without confidence, life in the kitchen can be a comedy of errors! It is for this kind of cook that I’ve written [‘Mixed Blessings’].


Unfortunately, in general, most people are more likely to criticize something or someone – and spread the word of it – than they are to pay a compliment and share it. It’s pretty sad that, in our world, good news (compliments) only travels so far, while bad news (criticism) travels so much farther (and faster). We, as a public, can change that, though.

Always pay compliments to others – not criticism. Create positive, complimentary reviews on social media. Make a habit of sharing others’ positive compliments, as well. Mom always preached to me and my siblings, while we were growing up, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” In which case, I suppose, silence really is golden.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 81)


WE ALWAYS EXPECT MORE of others than we want them to expect of us. We’re more often, in our heart of hearts, the victim rather than the cause. We need more than wanting to be needed. We criticize more than we compliment. We jump to conclusions when a particle of truth justifies our discontent was someone we have cared about because it is a bandage for our emotional wounds.

We avoid touching and hugging and pats on the back because we’re afraid of being accused that we’re gushy, or strange – or worse yet – that we might be rejected. We can’t take that risk.

Notice how some people become quite stiff when you reach out to hug them or touch them. They are almost plastic in their refusal to submit to your expression of warmth. And because we are afraid of how others will accept us, we build cocoons in which to reside emotionally rather than risk rejection or confront criticism.

What a shame! We’re missing so much! We entertain false pride at our table of regrets as if it were an honored guest. We could just as easily express genuine human kindness, but somehow the impersonal dignity of the ‘Divine’ righteousness seems a fair and probably acceptable cop-out for being personally exempt from the involvement with others.


In honor of Friday, being National Chocolate Cake Day, here are Mom’s copycat recipes for “Exotic Chocolate Cake” and “Exotic Chocolate Icing”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 197). [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…


January observes, among other things… National Soup Month, National Blood Donor Month, National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, and National Sunday Supper Month!

Since yesterday was the start of the fourth week of January, this is also… Tax Identity Theft Week!

Today also celebrates… National Handwriting Day and National Pie Day!

Tomorrow is… National Beer Can Appreciation Day and National Peanut Butter Day!

January 25th is… National Florida Day, National Irish Coffee Day, and National Opposite Day! Plus, as the fourth Wednesday in January (2023), it’s also… National Library Shelfie Day!

Thursday, January 26th is… National Green Juice Day, National Peanut Brittle Day, and National Spouses Day!

January 28th is… National Blueberry Pancake Day and National Have Fun At Work Day! Plus, as the last Saturday in January (2023), it’s also… National Seed Swap Day!

January 29th is… National Corn Chip Day and National Puzzle Day! Beginning the last Sunday in January and celebrated for eight days is… National Meat Week!


…4 down and 48 to go!



By Gloria Pitzer, 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).]

THE SECRET TO A GOOD CONEY SAUCE is simple – brown and crumble the beef; then put half of it through the blender with just enough water to cover the blades until it’s the consistency of cement mortar, mixing back in to the other half. Jack McCarthy of Detroit’s Channel 7 (WXYZ-TV) confessed to me that this was the secret to good, authentic Greek Coney Sauce, when he came to our home on Christmas Eve [1977] to do a film about us. Apparently, Jack’s a gourmet cook! When he traveled, he’d take a lot of kidding about carrying, with him…a crepe pan in a tennis racket cover.

Don’t be over-whelmed by the number of ingredients! It’s an everything-in-one-kettle dish, that can’t go wrong!


2 ½ to 3 pounds ground chuck

2 teaspoons cumin powder

a few grains of cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon crushed oregano leaves

3 tablespoons beef bouillon powder

6-ounce can tomato paste

3 cups hot, strong black tea

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic salt

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

6-ounce can V-8 Juice

½ teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet


Brown the chuck in a large skillet (when using lean beef, brown in a few tablespoons of oil), mashing it with the back of a fork over medium-high heat until all the pink disappears. Cover the blades of your blender with about 1/3 cup water, then put half of the browned beef in and blend on high speed with an on/off agitation until smooth.

Return this to the skillet to mix with the rest of the browned beef. Stir in cumin powder, peppers, oregano, bouillon, tomato paste and hot tea. Turn off heat and transfer everything to a 2 ½-quart saucepan, then add remaining ingredients.

Cook and stir frequently over medium heat until piping hot. Spoon mixture over grilled hot dogs in buns – or just into plain buns with plenty of diced onions on each serving. Leftovers will keep up to 2 weeks in refrigerator. Freeze mixture up to 6 months. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

FOR A GREAT CHILI [variation] – to the above recipe, add 3 cans (1 pound each) red chili beans in chili gravy and double the amount of chili powder.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Junk Food

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Hunting For Happiness

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!



Since yesterday began the third week of January, this week is observing National Hunt for Happiness Week! For over 20 years, people have celebrated this through many kinds of activities. After all, happiness is as diverse as the people who seek it. Where do you find happiness?

Mom used to tell me, whenever I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated about all of the tough challenges I was facing, in life, that happiness could not found in what I think I want or in the stuff I attain; but, rather, in who I am, personally. Mom would insist that true happiness came from within us – all of us.

It is not about the things you have in life. The journey through and what you learn from life is what counts. In other words, it’s the trek that matters the most. Sadly, there are still those who truly believe that their level of happiness is in direct proportion to their level of success and financial worth.

Nevertheless, “success levels” (if such things can really be measured) have no real correlation with how many things nor how much money one acquires. If you’re hunting for happiness through money and things, you may find false hope, but you’ll never find true happiness.

Happiness is a state of thought. It begins with gratitude for all we’ve already received and achieved – not with what we ‘own’ or the ‘things’… – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM  Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 5)


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.10)


HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE toward cooking, is the most positive way to approach the experience. Some folks really LOVE to cook, and they consequently do it well. But many of them can only turn out a handful of dishes perfectly and, therefore, limit their cooking practices, as well as their opportunities to eat foods that are unfamiliar to them.

Cooking is one of those skills that improve with practice, as does anything we undertake. But most of us are so conditioned to living in a world of instants that if a dish requires more of us than to add water – or to defrost and heat – we’re at a total loss in the kitchen!

Our life styles are changing more and more each day. We’re living in the age of fast food, instant coffee, Minute Rice, … one-step floor cleaners, quick breads, split-second decisions, rapid transit travel and planes that go 700-MPH – so why shouldn’t cooking be hurried along as well?

When you don’t really like to cook, it’s hard to imagine that it does have a positive side to the experience. Gourmets live to cook, while the rest of us cook to live – and just as often, would prefer it if we didn’t have to cook at all. This attitude toward getting the whole thing over with as soon as we can, is a reflection of the pride we fail to take in our accomplished dishes.

When you thrive on compliments for your culinary skills, it’s different. When you do not have a positive interest in good cooking practices, you, likewise, don’t expect your creations to warrant compliments.

The best thing for you to do is start ‘small’ – working with only a few ingredients at a time, until you get the feeling of how certain foods go well together, what flavorings compliment them, the best way to present the food when you serve it, so that it looks even better than it will taste.

Long, complicated recipes that require numerous ingredients and pampering are not always as good as those dishes that require only a few ingredients and a short time to prepare. We have made the mistake of believing that ‘fast’ food is totally without merit, therefore cannot be wholesome, nutritious, nor worth the time and cost, but ‘fast’ can be good if it is properly prepared.

‘Happiness is a habit cultivate it!’ Elbert Hubbard

Happiness is not a commodity that can be bought, sold, and/or traded. True happiness comes from deep within us and is totally free! According to a study, conducted over a decade ago that still rings true, happiness is contagious. The study indicated that when one person is happy, the effect can spread up to three degrees in a social network; thereby, reaching family and friends, as well as the family and friends of your family and friends.

Mom had a way of spreading happiness, through her food-for-thought writings and copycat recipes, as well as her comedic cartoon panels. She had a contagious sense of humor and happiness about her that appealed to the media masses, which continually requested interviews with her, for four decades! When she wasn’t writing, Mom found her “happy place” in radio, mostly.

I find happiness in things like the Michigan fall colors, the happy-go-lucky smile of my grandson, the nuzzles and purrs from my cats (and my husband), the sun sparkling on the magnificent blue waters of The Great Lakes, the cheerful sounds of the birds and other wildlife in my backyard, and the aroma of a slow-cooker – with a simmering, Sunday stew – things that don’t have a price tag attached them!


Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

This is not a Cook Book – It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, pp. 7-8)


THE HAPPIEST LITTLE ESCAPES in our lives can be, to us, what the spout is to a tea kettle that is up to its neck in hot water! It can give us an outlet for letting off steam – in a nice way! Everyone, who has their own little escape from the harsh realities of everyday life, seems to fare better than those who have absolutely nothing to which to escape.

I escape to a good book that will make me smile – or better yet, laugh right out loud, like George Burns has written. I escape to crocheting and good music, to long walks and long drives in our motor home, with my husband. There are so many lovely little escapes that each of us can choose that it’s a wonder more of us who seem to suffer from unreasonable burdens and false responsibilities, don’t seek out their retreats more often. It helps! (p. 7)

‘GOOD CHEER IS something much more than faith in the future, it is gratitude for the past and joy in the present! – Gloria Pitzer


I WASN’T KIDDING WHEN I said I envied happy people more than I did wealthy or famous people. From what I’ve read and what the rich and famous have said in filmed interviews, not too many of them are really happy with their wealth and their fame.

John Luther said that ‘happiness is not a matter of good fortune or worldly possessions. It’s a mental attitude. It comes from appreciating what we have, instead of being miserable about what we don’t have. It’s so simple – yet so hard for the human mind to comprehend.’ I agree! (p. 8)

‘If true happiness is acquired through persistence and patience, it would be like the fable of the elderly Chinese profit who asked for a needle when none could be found. However, somebody offered him a crowbar and a file. He was pleased and assured his friends that it was only a matter of time before he could produce the needle he wanted.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; January 2018, p. 304)]


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. 20)


LIVING ONE DAY at a time is one of the best recipes for happiness and for achievements of great value. Don’t worry needlessly about the future! It only uses up your energies that you surely need for the day at hand. Just remember that every day will hold good and bad, pleasure and a little suffering, too; a lot of joy and sometimes some pain, but don’t ever forget that these are the ingredients for making life either delicious or disastrous!

Grasp the good. Deal with the bad! Remember the pleasure. Forget the suffering as soon as you can. Hold onto the joy. Don’t let the pain get the best of you! When the pain leaves, don’t look back on it again. Taste the delicious flavors of the world around you! offers 25 daily habits that can make you feel happy, in a wonderfully informative article written by Ann Pietrangelo (Jan. 15, 2019). Some of the habits mentioned in Ann’s article I’ve also found to be popular on many other “lists”, covering the subject of “achieving happiness”.


In honor of January, being National Soup Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Out Front Walk Around Soup” ; as seen on her 2002-2004 free recipe samples and information sheet.


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


January observes, among other things… National Blood Donor Month, National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, and National Sunday Supper Month!

Since yesterday was the start of the third week of January, this week is also celebrating… World Kiwanis Week, National Healthy Weight Week, and National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week!

Today is also… National Fig Newton Day, National Nothing Day, and National Religious Freedom Day! Plus, as the third Monday in January (2023), it’s also… Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  Additionally (for 2023), it’s the start of… National No Name-Calling Week, which always starts on the third Monday of January and runs through that Friday.

January 17th is… National Bootlegger’s Day and National Hot Buttered Rum Day!

January 18th is… National Michigan Day, National Peking Duck Day, National Thesaurus Day, and National Winnie The Pooh Day!

January 19th is… World Quark Day and National Popcorn Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of the first quarter (for 2023), it’s also… Get to Know Your Customers Day!

January 20th is… National Buttercrunch Day and National Cheese Lover’s Day! In honor of the latter, here is Mom’s secret recipe for “Fox And Hounds’ Cheese Torte”, as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 15)



January 21st is… National Granola Bar Day, National Hugging Day, and Squirrel Appreciation Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in January (2023), it’s also… National Use Your Gift Card Day!

January  22nd is… National Blonde Brownie Day and Celebration of Life Day! Plus, as the start of the fourth week of January, it’s also… Tax Identity Theft Week!


…3 down and 49 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – It All Starts Somewhere

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!




January celebrates, among other things, National Hobby Month and National Mentoring Month! A very popular New Year’s resolution is to start a new hobby. In fact, that was listed as #4 by a report from, called the Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions… (Dec. 30, 2021) – for 2022. It all starts somewhere!

Mom’s original writing ambitions began when she was a young girl, influenced by a movie about the Bronte sisters. Like others, Mom wanted to write a great American novel. “The best laid plans…” comes to mind. Nonetheless, Mom believed that Devine Intervention detoured her to write about other things, while never steering her away from writing, itself.

Every success Mom had in writing, as a girl and young adult, was usually centered around cooking and homemaking – from the many essay contests that she entered and won to her multiple careers in the newspaper field, writing and syndicating her own columns and cartoon panels; followed by writing and publishing her own newsletter, cookbooks and food-for-thought books.



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)]


I DO, WITH RECIPES, what rich little does with voices! Imitating the ‘Secret Recipes’ of the food industry has been an exciting experience for me. The critics felt that ‘fast foods’ and restaurant dishes were not worth the effort to duplicate at home, when you can just as easily buy the products already prepared!

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.

To know what these dishes contained, they’d have to be better chemists than I, as I have tested over 20,000 recipes with only the finished product as my guide to determine what each contained. ‘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 ‘finer’ restaurants with wine stewards, linen tablecloths, 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!

In the early 1970s, I was trying to juggle marriage, motherhood, homemaking and a newspaper column syndicated through Columbia Features, when it seemed obvious to me that there wasn’t a single cookbook on the market that could help me take the monotony out of mealtime. There was not a single recipe in the newspaper’s food section that did not smack of down-home dullness!

‘Okay,’ they said at the newspaper I worked for, ‘YOU write the column on foods and recipes that YOU think would really excite the readers and make them happy!’ I did, but that didn’t make the Editors happy, because it made their [food industry] advertisers miserable.

When I was told that I’d have to go back to monotonous meatloaf and uninteresting side-dishes that made mealtime a ritual rather than a celebration or pick up my check, I told them to ‘MAIL it to me!’ I went home to start my own paper!

It was probably a dumb thing to do, amid an economic recession with the highest rate of unemployment I had ever experienced, but it was worth the risk. I was a dedicated writer that new someone had to give homemakers something more than what they were being given in the colored glossy magazines, where a bowl of library paste could even be photographed to look appetizing!

…THEY LAUGHED! THEY DOUBTED! They even tried to take me to court when some famous food companies insisted that I stop giving away their secrets. They couldn’t believe me when I said that I did NOT know, nor did I want to know, what they put in their so-called secret recipes.

I did know that there are very few recipes that can’t be duplicated or imitated at home. And we could do them for much less than purchasing the original product. I proved…it can be and should be done!

FAMOUS FOODS FROM FAMOUS PLACES have intrigued good cooks for a long time… There is speculation among the critics as to the virtues of re-creating, at home, the foods that you can buy ‘eating out’, such as the fast food fares of the popular franchise restaurants. To each, his own! Who would want to imitate ‘fast food’ at home?

I found that over a million people who saw me demonstrate replicating some famous fast food products [the FIRST time I was] on The Phil Donahue Show (July 7, 1981) DID – and their letters poured in at a rate of over 15,000 a day for months on end!

And while I have investigated the recipes, dishes, and cooking techniques of ‘fine’ dining rooms around the world, I received more requests from people who wanted to know how to make things like McDonald’s Special Sauce or General Foods Shake-N-Bake coating mix or White Castle’s hamburgers than I received for those things like Club 21’s Coq Au Vin.

I think I inherited Mom’s love for writing (among other things) and, while I was growing up, she continuously mentored me in creative writing. Now writing has become one of my favorite hobbies, as well as a legacy of love, as I carry on her torch, telling her story in these blog posts. It all starts somewhere.

Mom was such a huge influence on who I grew to be that I feel compelled to keep her torch lit and shining bright! Her love of writing and cooking and inspiring others in the same was, to me, one of the biggest parts of her legacy. It wasn’t something she did just for our family, but for all families.

Mom always hated when “the press” referred to her as a small town housewife who turned a hobby into an occupation. Writing was never Mom’s hobby. She used to say that being a writer isn’t what she did; but, rather, who she was! She also loved to mentor others in writing, as well.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 22)


JOURNALISM IS A PECULIAR profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since graduating high school in 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…thoughts…reasonings and remembering.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire, not if they’re truly writers. Editors may retire and reporters may retire…at some given point. But, old writers never die, they just run out of words.

I never thought I’d see the day that Mom would run out of words. I’m sure she didn’t either! But her words live on forever in print! I’ve heard from many people, since starting these blog posts in September 2018, who’ve told me that they still have their copies of Mom’s publishings and how special they are to them.

I pour through my copies of Mom’s books and newsletters all the time, as they inspire me in, both, cooking and writing! Mom was certainly my mentor in those areas. Please contact me at or on Facebook @TheRecipeDetective with your memories of my mom! I’d love to hear from you, too!


As seen in…

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


WE EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE to inspire…The care and concern that an author has for their readers is part of the pleasure of presenting interesting ideas in either an entertaining way or in an informative way. I try to balance my own presentations between the two.

When I am broadcasting over the numerous radio stations around the country, sometimes around the world, I try to lift the listener to a new height of interest and enthusiasm, and I leave the serious side of nutrition to the experts, who have the medical background to support their claims.

My hope is to present my recipes in such a way that cooking is a joy and never a job! I try to present these recipes with the same concern as I do giving a gift to a special friend. Each of our 5 children, who have grown up helping Paul and me with these recipes, have gone out into the world with this legacy of love and enthusiasm. We can only hope that they use what we have given them.



In addition to the national celebrations or observances I’ve already mentioned, as the second Monday in January (2023), today is also… National Clean Off Your Desk Day! I wanted to mention, this is NOT a day Mom would’ve celebrated or observed but I do!

By the way, getting organized was the #3 contender, according to that report I mentioned earlier, from, called the Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions… (Dec. 30, 2021).

I’m one of those weird people who like to clean and, especially, to organize! I don’t know why – it’s some OCD thing I have – but organizing is one of my favorite hobbies. I tried to surprise Mom once, when I was a teenager, by cleaning and organizing her office space. However, when it came to her desk, she preferred her own “organized mess”.


In honor of January, being National Oatmeal Month,  here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Aunt Jenny’s Date Oat Bars”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 4).


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


January also observes… National Soup Month, National Blood Donor Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Slow Cooking Month, and National Sunday Supper Month!

The second week of January celebrates… National Mocktail Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week,  Universal Letter Writing Week and National Pizza Week, which always start on the second Sunday of January.

Today is also… National Apricot Day!

Tomorrow is… National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, National Oysters Rockefeller Day, and National Save The Eagles Day! Plus, as the second Tuesday in January (2023), it’s also… Shop for Travel Day!

Wednesday, January 11th is… National Arkansas Day and National Milk Day!

Thursday, January 12th is… National Curried Chicken Day and National Marzipan Day!

Friday, January 13th is… Korean American Day, National Peach Melba Day, and National Sticker Day!

Saturday, January 14th is… National Dress Up Your Pet Day, National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day, and National Ratification Day!

Sunday, January 15th is… National Bagel Day, National Hat Day, and National Strawberry Ice Cream Day! Plus, as the start of the third week of January, it’s also… World Kiwanis Week, Hunt for Happiness Week, National Healthy Weight Week, and National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week!


…2 down and 50 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Making Mondays Memorable

Happy New Year! Additionally, #TGIM – Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday to everyone! I look forward to every Monday because it’s one of my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



Today is so inspiring, to me because it’s National Thank God Its Monday Day – which is always the first Monday of the first Month of the new year. A lot of people bash Mondays – like the Grinch bashes Christmas – but, to me and many others, Mondays represent new beginnings, which always offer new opportunities.


As claims: “Mondays are often full of new beginnings…Not only does the observance focus on the first Monday in January, but on every Monday throughout the year.” I LOVE that! Especially since I write these blog posts, in memory of my mom, every Monday and they always energize and inspire me for the rest of my week’s workload. I can only hope they energize and inspire others, as well. suggests that we… “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.”

Since reading that a few years ago, I now see Mondays as my 52 chances to share memories of my mom and tell her story, over and over again; hopefully, re-inspiring someone else’s love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Mondays were always one of Mom’s favorite days, also.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 54-55)


RADIO turned out to be the most appropriate way by which we made people aware of what we were doing…my involvement with the wonderful world of radio actually came about without any specific intention of becoming a regular part of the broadcasting field…

I didn’t know I had what is considered ‘a radio voice’. Heaven knows our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their up-bringing, I had been known to discover conditions that would prompt me to accelerate, vocally, in a pitch that only dogs in the next county could here!

My introduction to radio began with Bob Allison and [the] ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. I was folding diapers at the kitchen table, waiting for my favorite daily segment of ‘My True Story’ to come on the air when, instead, WWJ [a Detroit area radio station] announced that it had been replaced with a NEW show.

This new show turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me…almost every Monday morning I [would] visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors…


When ‘My True Story’ was replaced by Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show… I was, at first, very disappointed. Household hints and problems around the house that you cannot solve yourself seemed like just too much homemaking information to please me.

I soon, however, became ‘hooked’ on the show, as almost everybody does, to the point that, on Fridays, when Bob would sign off and say he would talk to us again on Monday, I was spending the weekends just looking forward to the show on Monday.

I called the show about 2 or 3 times a month for the first year or two, to ask questions of Bob’s “neighbors” that my newspaper column readers were asking me. When I couldn’t find the answer from consulting other sources, I knew I could rely on Bob Allison’s ‘neighbors’ to come up with the right answers for me.

In return, I would often… phone in an answer that I occasionally had in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests. Bob did not recognize my voice as a regular caller until I had initiated the newsletter, however.

He asked me where the [hamburger sauce] recipe came from that I was giving, in reply to one of his listener’s requests, which is how his program has always worked… In mentioning that the hamburger sauce recipe would appear in the next issue of my monthly newsletter… Bob reacted with great interest and curiosity.

‘You have a newsletter, do you?’ He asked. ‘Well, tell us about it and how much it is and where our neighbors can get it.’ That was all it took to get us well-acquainted with Bob’s ‘neighbors’ and, in no time at all, our subscription orders went from a few to many.

‘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, 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!

Some of January’s month-long observances include… National Blood Donor Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, National Soup Month, and National Sunday Supper Month!




Disappointingly, January’s celebrations of National Slow Cooking Month and National Sunday Supper Month, plus, this coming Friday’s National Sunday Supper Day aren’t done much in America – not even by British/Irish descendants, from where the tradition supposedly originated.

The practice of Sunday suppers has been traced back to the UK’s Renaissance Era, when families congregated after church for a large meal; with a slow-cooked pot roast, being the traditional choice. The Sunday supper gathering was where you usually learned about your family’s stories and history, traditions and beliefs.

Royal bodyguards were supposedly known as ‘beefeaters’ because of their love of eating roasted beef. This actually became the design for Beefeater restaurants, also known as The Sign of the Beef Carver restaurants. Mom imitated many dishes from them. Here’s one (below) from Mom’s self-published cookbook, Eating Out At Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1978, p. 22).


Additionally, January is also National Hobby Month. Thus, 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!


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.

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!


Back to Sunday suppers – Did you know that there’s a difference between “dinner” and “supper”, even though many people use the terms synonymously? Dinner is a large meal, usually eaten about mid-day (aka: lunch); while supper is a lighter meal, with something like soup and a sandwich, that’s eaten in the evening.

Another difference between the two terms, according to (Jun 28, 2018), is that “Supper is used especially when the meal is an informal one eaten at home, while dinner tends to be the term chosen when the meal is more formal. In some dialects and especially in British English, supper can also refer to a light meal or snack that is eaten late in the evening.”


In honor of January, being National Soup Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Dent Knees Cheese Soup”; 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, p. 71).


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



The first week of January celebrates, among other things… National Diet Resolution Week, National Celebration of Life Week, and New Year’s Resolutions Week! 

Today is… National Buffet Day and National Cream Puff Day!

Tomorrow is… National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, National Drinking Straw Day, and National Fruitcake Toss Day!

Wednesday, January 4th is… National Missouri Day, National Spaghetti Day, and National Trivia Day!

Thursday, January 5th is… National Bird Day, National Keto Day, National Screenwriters Day, and National Whipped Cream Day!

Friday, January 6th is… National Bean Day, National Cuddle Up Day, National Shortbread Day, and National Technology Day! 

Saturday, January 7th is… National Tempura Day! Plus, since it’s the first Saturday of January, it’s also… National Play Outside Day, which is the first Saturday of EVERY MONTH!

January 8th is… National Bubble Bath Day, National English Toffee Day, and National Joy-Germ Day! Plus, as the second Sunday in January (2023), it’s also… National Mocktail Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, Universal Letter Writing Week, and National Pizza Week (which always start on the second Sunday of January).


…1 down and 51 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Resolution Declarations

Thank God Its Monday again and, as usual, #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!



With the hustle and bustle of Christmas in the rearview mirror and in advance of New Year’s Resolutions Week, which starts next week, now is usually the time that many of us start focusing on our New Year’s resolutions for 2023 – what we want to stop, start, attain, or change about ourselves.

Do you have goals you want to achieve in 2023? You’re not alone. Almost everyone makes at least one New Year’s resolution each year. According to Wikipedia, making a New Year’s resolution is a more common tradition in the Western world than it is in the Eastern one.

Supposedly, the New Year’s resolution tradition originated over 4,000 years ago, when ancient Babylonians made year-end promises to the gods, so as to earn their favor in the coming new year. ‘Tis the season to contemplate this past year’s accomplishments and shortcomings and declare our resolutions for 2023.

The most common New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, intended to be lifestyle changes – usually related to money or getting more healthy and fit. According to a report from, the Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions… (Dec. 30, 2021), for 2022, are as follows:

      1. Exercise more
      2. Lose weight
      3. Get organized
      4. Learn a new skill or hobby
      5. Live life to the fullest
      6. Save more money / spend less money
      7. Quit smoking
      8. Spend more time with family and friends
      9. Travel more
      10. Read more

That’s actually quite similar to every year’s most common resolutions. In fact, this kind of looks like my retirement to-do-list, except to quit smoking because I already accomplished that May 1, 2006 – thanks to a book Mom gave me, The Easy Way To Quit Smoking by Allen Carr (Sterling, Sept. 2004).

After years of failed resolutions to change this or that about myself, I finally realized when I stopped smoking cigarettes (and have not gone back to it since), that the best route to a successful lifestyle change must first happen in my mind! In other words, “mind over matter” is the first step!

I think Mom heard about Carr’s book when it was recommended by Oprah or Dr. Oz, on one of their shows. She went right out to our local “Barnes & Noble” retailer and bought a copy, read it, applied it, and stopped smoking, herself. Then, she bought 3 more copies for me and my two sisters; in hopes that we’d all join the “quit smoking band wagon”, with her.

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t stick with it and neither did my sisters if they even tried at all. In fact, when she gave me the book, I didn’t even want to quit smoking. I enjoyed it. I hadn’t even thought about quitting previously, except during each of my pregnancies, in which I only quit for those time periods. Afterwards, I always CHOSE to go back to it.

Nonetheless, I promised Mom that I’d, at least, read the book and think about it. After I finished reading the book, and while I was still thinking about it, I loaned the book to a girlfriend who was dealing with cancer and Chemo. She was struggling with the “want” of smoking over the “want” of quitting. The book’s thought process worked for her immediately and she hasn’t smoked a cigarette since. That was in March 2006!

‘Live up to the best you can see yourself to be, never compromising with excuses and examining every reason for not doing what you are capable of doing…If, every day, we find a way to contribute our best efforts in thought, in action and with no regrets, we’ll never have to fear the future.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

Stress and anxiety often accompany lifestyle changes like stopping smoking or starting a new diet or exercise regimen. Thus, it’s so important to be in the right frame of mind, first; so you don’t lose it – whether it’ is your focus or your inspiration or your emotional stability – while you’re trying to lose “it” (which could refer to weight or some other health issue)!

How many resolutions have you made and broke? It might feel comforting to know that it’s extremely rare to actually keep a New Year’s resolution all year, let alone all Winter. In fact, according to The U.S. News (Dec. 29, 2015) …80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail by mid-February.

Breaking a plan down into a manageable series of short, daily or weekly steps and goals seems to help some people, in relieving stress and anxiety; thus, making it more simple to stay focused. It also offers more continuous motivation to reach each step and goal, while persevering to move on to the next one. One day at a time, one step at a time.

‘Having a goal gives us hope and it’s hope that keeps us going, enabling us each to meet whatever the world dishes out.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.24)]

I’ve determined that every day is a defining moment, in which experience and knowledge influence our own personal evolutions. Thus, I think we need to seize those moments and do our best to make the most out of them! It really doesn’t matter when you start a resolution. The important thing is to see it through and commit yourself to its eventual success.

Most New Year’s resolutions are, more often than not, abandoned at the first sign of failure. There are no rules to the resolutions game. There’s nothing preventing you from changing the start or deadline dates, making new resolutions or reiterating resolutions you’ve already attempted, but from which you fell short.

‘Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results! Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.’ – Hamilton Holt, Hard Work With Some Caveats (; May 21, 2018)

Believe in yourself! The important thing, for success, is to “get back on the horse.” According to Mom, it’s not a “will” power that leads to any resolution’s success, it’s a “won’t” power – such as, “I won’t stop”, “I won’t give in”, “I won’t give up”, and “I won’t quit!”

‘Success is not in never failing, but in never fearing to begin again.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

‘Start Now! Good thoughts and good feelings reinforce each other…When you hold on to one good thought, the better you’ll do things that make you feel good about yourself…Nothing will work for you unless you work for it.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.32)]


Positivity is believing that every day is a good day – some are just better than others. Therefore, as opposed to saying, “have a good day”, Mom would suggest saying, instead, “keep good thoughts”. She reasoned, “How can you not have a good day, if you’re keeping good thoughts?”

‘Keeping good thoughts is a healthy exercise all the way around; but, like any form of exercise, you do have to work at it. And, like any other exercise, the more you work at it, the better it works for you.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 32)


In honor of tomorrow, being National Fruitcake Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Fruitcake Nobody Doesn’t Like”; as seen on the front page of her December 2002 Christmas Card/Free Recipes sheet.


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


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Candy Cane Day, National Thank-You Note Day, and Canadian Boxing Day! Plus, it’s the start of… Kwanzaa (which is always celebrated December 26th – January 1st).

Wednesday, December 28th is… National Card Playing Day, National Pledge of Allegiance Day, and National Chocolate Candy Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s famous “Recess Peanut Butter Cups” imitation.


Thursday, December 29th is… National Pepper Pot Day!

Friday, December 30th is… National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, and National Bacon Day! Plus, being the last “work day” of the year (for 2022), it’s also… No Interruptions Day! In honor of BACON, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Bacon Chip Dip”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 282). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]!



Saturday, December 31st is… National Champagne Day, Make Up Your Mind Day, and New Year’s Eve! Plus, every year, from 11:30 p.m. on December 31st to 12:30 a.m. on January 1st, it’s the… Universal Hour of Peace! Let there be peace on Earth.

Sunday is January 1st, 2023, which is the start of a whole new month and a whole new year! Happy 2023 to everyone!


…52 down, another year to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Diversity

First of all, I want to say happy Hanukkah to all of those celebrating it this week and, as always, #HappyMonday, too! 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!


Whether you say “Shalom” or “Noel” – both words mean “Peace”. It’s the season of love, hope and understanding! We are all different, yet so alike, and that’s okay. Cheerish it! Embrace it! Own it! Celebrate diversity! ‘Let there be peace on Earth…’ and let it begin with each and every one of us!

‘Every year at this time, we put our very best wishes together with some warm & worthy thoughts, and send them off to you, wrapped in sincere affection and the dearest hopes that this coming year gives you all you expect and derive from it.’ – Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Quarterly Winter 94/95.

My grandma (Mom’s mom) was raised in the Jewish faith. She converted to Christian Science when she married my grandpa. When the holidays came around, both sides of my grandparents’ families gathered together and both holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas, were respectfully observed and celebrated in unison.

The focus was on their commonalities. Both are celebrated with love and food! Love is the universal “reason for the season” for everyone. Why can’t we all just get along and respect that we are all different? Being different, with various beliefs and traditions is okay!

Mom wrote a story about her mom’s side of the family, the Klein’s, in her self-published book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop! (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 83-84). Below is an abbreviated version of Mom’s story about her mom’s Jewish family heritage, as I wrote in my blog post, It’s All Relative (April 15, 2019).


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop!

(Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 83-84)

…MY MOTHER’S PARENTS were originally German, but they were also Jews, and living in Russia at the turn of the [20th] century. It was dangerous for any Jew in Russia at that time – so much like the story of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’; my grandparents, with two small children and my grandmother expecting their third child, took a crowded freighter to America [around 1906].

They couldn’t speak a word of English and had nothing with them but what they could carry by hand. On the way over, unfortunately, they came down with what was suspected to be TB [Tuberculosis]… years later [around 1917], following the birth of their 7th child, TB finally took my grandmother.

Having settled in Pittsburg, my grandfather moved on to Cleveland where he hoped to find relatives who would help him with a job and a place to raise the motherless children. It didn’t work out as he expected, however. The relatives were not where he had last contacted them.

The orphanage was over-crowded that he had been directed to, in order to leave the children and seek treatment for the TB that seemed to be getting worse for him. Having been turned away by the orphanage, he was about to leave all the children on a street corner, telling them that somebody would come along to help them, but that he had to get his train to the sanitorium that the government was sending him to for help.

At that point, the nuns were passing by on their usual afternoon walk…on their way back to the Catholic orphanage down the street. They stopped long enough to ask if they could be of help and, upon hearing the story from the older children, who spoke English, and [from my] Grandpa’s broken English, they concluded that the children needed to be cared for.

They took the children to the Catholic orphanage, ensuring my grandfather that they would see to it that they went to Temple every Saturday, even though they would be in the Catholic schools and living in the dormitories with the other children.

When there was room for them at the Jewish orphanage, they would then be transferred – and the promise was kept. There, they all remained until each one turned 16 years of age… The compassion of those Catholic nuns and the care they gave the children of that Jewish immigrant, when Jews were hated as much as they ever were in this country, kept me from ever harboring feelings of prejudice toward other people due to their religious or racial backgrounds…

‘The celebration of the moments worth remembering continues to have its place.’Gloria Pitzer, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Quarterly (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Winter 1994/95).

Like Mom and Grandma, I was raised to appreciate everyone, without prejudice – keeping an open mind to all of us being different and yet the same AND that it’s okay. I brought my own children up in the same manner – to not discriminate and to respect others’ beliefs.

I found a wonderful statement about this in an article called How to Appreciate Diversity During the Holidays, by Simma Lieberman (updated April 4,2019). She wrote: “Celebrating diversity and inclusiveness is about using the holiday celebration time with friends and family to build understanding and awareness of the traditions and beliefs of others.”


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Christmas Card Cook Book (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1983, pp. 4-5)


BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRIERS of tradition, we find a spirited acceptance of new family values. Occasions have replaced celebrations. Getting together has been replaced by BEING together! Good food, comfortable conversation [and] warm hospitality have become more important to the family circle than reverence without reason, tolerance without tact, relatives without relationships!

The lovely part about Christmas for us, was always being together – with our friends, our good and dear neighbors and our relatives; in a series of activities that began with Thanksgiving and tapered off around the new year. It was hectic, but it was also many happy reunions, mixed well with spontaneous visitations that, had they been a part of the ordinary activities of the rest of the year, would not mean so much now!

The food was simple, but ample. The food, I feel, should never be more important than the guests for whom it is prepared…All of these preparations are a part of Christmas – but not the important part. The tokens only represent the real meaning – that of loving, of letting go of old grudges, of forgetting past hurts, of looking for something good (even though you don’t see it – until you do!)

LOVE, most philosophers conclude, is the highest level of thought. It is the logic of the heart. And no other season of the calendar year seems to reflect more of this feeling…

We reach out to others – and want them, in turn, to respond to us. Some of us do it with gifts that we buy or make and some of us do it with social gestures of food and hospitality. While all of these traditions are renewed at this particular time of the year, the critics complain and the cynics look for reasons to begrudge us the pleasure of LOVING the season, renewing the fellowship of it – with family, friends and neighbors.

But that’s not unusual and we shouldn’t be surprised by the criticisms that try to take some of the joy out of the holiday traditions we follow – or create for ourselves. There are always critics, unfortunately, for those occasions in our lives when we wish to be glad about something…

So, on with the celebration – whether we choose to keep it quietly in our own personal fashion of religious customs, or whether we choose to make it festive and pronounced with the traditions of gifts and food. The point is, we are celebrating the season of hope… It’s a time for LOVING – for expressing it [and] for offering it to others! How can something like that not be good!

Our own traditions have not been very elaborate in our family, during the…season; but the things we have always done to make the holiday more enjoyable, brought us pleasure. So, we have continued with them. Whether you choose to follow traditions or to create some of your own, the underlying meaning is still there to express joy and LOVE – that incredible, curious logic of the heart!


I want to recommend another wonderful article about Hanukkah at Check it out!


In honor of Thursday, being National Date Nut Bread Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Date Nut Bread, Like Devon Gables; as first seen in Mom’s self-published cookbook… The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 42).


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


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Hard Candy Day and National Oatmeal Muffin Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share from earlier this year.



Tomorrow is… National Sangria Day!

Wednesday, December 21st is… National Crossword Puzzle Day, National Humbug Day, National Maine Day, National French Fried Shrimp Day, Winter Solstice (which is usually on or near the 21st) and Yule (which is always on the day of the Winter Solstice)! In honor of National French Fried Shrimp Day, here’s a 3-in-1 re-share!


December 22nd is… National Forefathers Day (which is always on the 22nd, unless it’s a Sunday, then it’s on the following Monday)! Plus, as the Thursday before Christmas, it’s also… National Re-Gifting Day! [22nd for 2022]

Friday, December 23rd is… National Pfeffernusse Day, National Roots Day, and Festivus!

Saturday, December 24th is… National Eggnog Day and Christmas Eve! [It’s also the 46th anniversary of Mom’s at-home interview with Jack McCarthy of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, Detroit.] In honor of the afore mentioned, here’s another re-share for you.


December 25th is… National Pumpkin Pie Day and Christmas Day! Plus, it’s the start of the Twelve Days of Christmas.


…51 down and only 1 more to go, for 2022!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Michigan’s Nostalgic Nosh-eries

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!


Any list of notable, gone-but-not-forgotten, Michigan restaurants should include Stouffer’s. Long before the company became a frozen food empire, in 1946, it was first famous for its creameries and restaurants; opening its first Detroit establishment, in 1929. Mom was such a fan of their products, she imitated at least 32 of their offerings.

‘Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery.’ – Charles Caleb Colton says, “to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment…” However, not everyone takes it as such. I’ve discussed this subject in a few of my blog posts, previously. Stouffer’s company wasn’t a very big fan of Mom’s imitations and didn’t consider them flattery, as they threatened her with lawsuits to cease and desist.

Mom considered it to be a sign that her imitations of their products were spot on. However, they were just baseless threats, as Mom didn’t know what their secret recipes actually contained. Nevertheless, she could determine by examining and tasting the products what may be in them.

On the other hand, the Sanders Candy Company (now owned by Kar’s Nuts), which is still famous for its delectable sundae toppings and chocolate treats, was also a legendary company that once had an enjoyable eatery in Detroit, serving more than just ice cream sodas and other sweet treats.

Mom loved going there, when she was young, to eat at their lunch counter. She developed at least 56 imitations from them, as well as some special friendships with the Sanders family, who were actually flattered by Mom’s replications.


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 38)


FRED SANDERS WAS BORN in Biehl, Baden (Germany) in 1848 and brought to this country at the age of one… His father, a baker, settled his family in Peru, Illinois and it was there that Frederick learned his first baking lessons, after school and in the evenings. But his hopes went beyond what he viewed as the prosaic business of baking white bread and rolls.

At 17 years, he sailed for Germany to learn the secrets of confectionery and catering. With passport in hand, personally signed by William Seward, Secretary of State in the Lincoln Cabinet, he worked his way across the Atlantic as a ship’s baker.

He learned his trade rapidly in Karlsruhe. Within three years he opened his own small shop on a narrow street in Frankfurt. The shop prospered but his young wife, Rosa, wanted to return with him to America; where, after less than successful experiences in Philadelphia and Chicago, including being burned out by the great Chicago fire of 1871, Frederick finally came to Detroit.

They started all over again. With some misgivings, he opened the shop on the northeast corner of Woodward and State Streets – where the J. L. Hudson’s block was to rise later. With limited capital drained to outfit his shop, Frederick managed a loan from W. H. Edgar, founder of Edgar’s Sugarhouse.

Within a year, Frederick’s products were recognized as quality and he moved across Woodward, just north of Michigan Avenue, where he remained for many years and prospered. He created the first ‘soda’ as we know it today – and by accident, when some sweet cream softened. It was an instant success.

Once… a fan he used to cool his foods continually broke down. He called for someone to service the fan, which contained one of the first electric motors made. The electric shop sent over a young man to repair Mr. Sanders’ fan, and it is of interest to note that the young man’s name was Henry Ford.

He fixed the fan – and it ‘stayed fixed’ – without causing Mr. Sanders any further interruptions in business. Frederick Sanders brought his son-in-law, John Miller, into the business in 1900, taking him away from Colonel Goebel, the Detroit brewer. With this, the Sanders Company’s success was certainly charted.

Concurrently, the business became a partnership, shortly after the founder’s death in 1913, when John Miller and Frederick’s son, Edwin, and his grandson became the company’s chief officers and owners. In 1970, Sanders had more than 50 of their own stores and over 300 departments in supermarkets.

Bill Knapp’s was a restaurant and bakery chain that started in the 1940s, in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was once a popular family dining destination. Mom imitated at least seven of their dishes. Unfortunately, trying to continue making from-scratch recipes for their patrons’ ever changing tastes proved to be fatal for them; the last restaurant closed in 2002. Mom imitated over a half dozen of their signature dishes.

Schuler’s is another old Michigan restaurant chain. Most notably known as Win Schuler’s, they were family owned and operated since 1909. They still have one restaurant left in Marshall, Michigan where it all began. After Win passed away in 1982, his son, Hans, took over and shortened the company name to Schuler’s. Mom imitated about a dozen of their dishes.

The Sign of the Beefcarver (originally called The Beefeater) was once a popular chain of cafeteria-style restaurants that served comfort foods like hand-carved roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, in an early American themed atmosphere. It also has one restaurant left standing, in Royal Oak, Michigan, where Mom grew up. She imitated almost a dozen of their dishes, as well.


As seen in…

Eating Out at Home Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1978; p. 2)


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…even if we could afford to eat at all or most of our meals away from home, wouldn’t that become monotonous in time?


For a trip down Memory Lane of more nostalgic nosheries, check out These are Michigan’s 12 Most Iconic Restaurants, by Amy Sherman (updated: July 9, 2020). It’s a great article I found on Also see Nine Long-Gone Restaurants In Michigan by Sophie Boudreau (Nov. 11, 2017), on


In honor of TODAY, being National Ambrosia Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Marshmallow Ambrosia Salad; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 48). [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…


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Gingerbread House Day and National Poinsettia Day! Plus, as the second Monday, it’s also the start of… Computer Science Education Week!

December 13th is… National Cocoa Day, National Violin Day, and the U.S. National Guard Birthday!

December 14th is… National Bouillabaisse Day and National Alabama Day! Plus, it’s the start of… Christmas Bird Count Weeks, a 3-week celebration that always starts on the 14th and runs through January 5th; as well as Halcyon Days – a 2-week celebration, always 7 days before and 7 days after the Winter Solstice (which is the 14th-28th for 2022)!

December 15th is… National Cupcake Day, National Bill of Rights Day, and National Wear Your Pearls Day!

December 16th is… National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day! Plus, as the third Friday in December, it’s also… National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day and Underdog Day! Additionally, it’s the start of Las Posadas (a 9-day celebration, always on the 16th-24th).

December 17th is… National Maple Syrup Day! [NOTE: Michigan celebrates the process of making maple syrup in March.] Plus, as the third Saturday in December, it’s also… National Wreaths Across America Day! Additionally, it’s… Saturnalia Week (which is always the 17th-23rd).

December 18th is… National Twin Day and National Roast Suckling Pig Day! Today is also when Chanukah Begins – which changes annually (December 18th-26th for 2022)! Plus, it’s the start of… Gluten-free Baking Week (which is always the 18th-24th).


…50 down and 2 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Department Stores And Malls

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


After writing about the rise in virtual shopping contributing to the downfall of malls and department stores last week, I had a lot of melancholy memories about Mom and her love of going to the malls and big department stores, for shopping and dining, combined.

My local news recently reported on the holiday nostalgia sparked by the JL Hudson’s holiday exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum, including an almost complete collection of their Christmas bears, which started in 1985.

I remember Mom and Dad buying each of the grandkids a Hudson’s Christmas bear every year, when they were young. You can read the fantastic report by April Morton at

Mom often wrote about J.L. Hudson’s in her newsletters and books, too. After all, it was her favorite department store. She was so sad when they closed for good. Mom really loved their dining room (and bakery). In fact, she imitated about three dozen of Hudson’s menu offerings.

Personally, I always loved to get their French Dip whenever Mom took me there. Hudson’s dining room was probably most famous for their Maurice Salad, which was one of Mom’s favorite choices, too. Here’s a re-share of her imitation of it.

Additionally, a couple of years ago, my local news reported that the old J.L. Hudson’s site, in Detroit, was finally being re-developed. In its glory days, the Detroit Hudson’s store was the tallest department store in the world! They closed that store in 1983. The historical building was later imploded in 1998. There’s a lot of great information about the re-development project, as well as the history of J.L. Hudson’s at


As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 16)


DURING THE FINANCIAL PANIC of 1873, Joseph L. Hudson was a young man, working with his father in a men’s clothing store in Michigan. Times were hard. Customers couldn’t pay their bills. After Joseph’s father died, partly from worrying, young Joseph struggled with the business for about three years and eventually went into bankruptcy, in spite of all he tried to do to bring the business up.

He paid his creditors 60 cents on the dollar and, with great determination, began over again! Through remarkable enterprise and ingenuity, in 12 years, he owned a store in Detroit. Even more remarkable, he located all the creditors whose claims had been erased by the bankruptcy proceedings and paid them in full – even though they did not ask it of him.

This so astounded the business world, in 1888, that Hudson’s reputation as an honest man, caring for his customers as much is his creditors, that word spread and the store became one of Detroit’s most important, not only in the state, but eventually in the entire country.

He established major shopping centers in metropolitan Detroit, beginning in 1953 with the magnificent Northland Center, the first of its kind in the country. At the time of this writing [1997], Hudson’s, merged with Dayton and with Marshall Fields, no longer offers the personal hometown touch that it used to have…

Their original building on Woodward and Farmer Street, in downtown Detroit, once controlled the shopper’s mecca with Kern’s and Crowley’s, as well, in that area. We have seen the passing of a great institution, but I am so glad I did not lose the precious recipes [for which] the Hudson’s dining room and bakery were known…

Department store dining rooms were just another niche in the food industry, from which Mom found inspiration for imitating “famous foods from famous places”. claims: “The three biggest department stores in the mid-1960s, both in sales volume and physical size, were Macy’s, Hudson’s, and Marshall Field, in that order.”

At, I found a great article about the best department store restaurants, by Alex Witchell (Feb. 25, 2019). I related to a lot of it, as she reminisced about by-gone days of shopping and lunching with her own mom and sisters. Another great read is at, called Stores With Amazing Restaurants, by Katherine Martinelli (July 20, 2018) – about 15 different retailers, offering the dining and shopping experience, together.

Department stores were often the “anchors” of malls across America. Victor Gruen was an Austrian architect, who designed the first fully enclosed mall in American; which was the Southdale Center, in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, Minnesota, opening to the public in 1956.

Most of the smaller storefronts faced inward, while these large, “anchor”, department stores (such as JC Penny’s, JL Hudson’s, Macy’s, and Sears) were placed at each end to attract shoppers and create foot traffic to the smaller stores in between.

Inside the mall, Gruen created a European-style central court area with an aviary, sculptures, and an open-air-style café. The mall was like an island, surrounded by a sea of parking lots designed to accommodate the masses. It was also designed to provide local employment and economic growth to the surrounding communities.

By 1960, there were 4,500 malls nationwide, built to house dozens (even hundreds) of retail stores and restaurants in one collection. Malls were envisioned for middle-class consumers’ socializing, eating, and shopping conveniences. Even in ancient Greece, societies congregated in central marketplaces.

By the 1980s, American malls were thriving, out-shining “Main Street” Mom-and-Pop shops and taking over pop culture. But, like other rising sensations, this one wasn’t going to last either. Between the rise of online shopping and the setback of the recession in 2008, there was a significant drop in sales and foot traffic at big-brand retailers and malls, alike.

Around 2010, consumers began turning in larger numbers to Amazon and other online retailers. The steep, nationwide drop in sales for brick-and-mortar stores has accelerated, in recent years, then the Covid-19 pandemic put their decline into overdrive.

According to The Week’s staff article, The ‘Retail Apocalypse’, (Aug. 7, 2021), “Roughly 40 percent of the nation’s department stores have closed since 2016, including every Lord & Taylor store and nearly all Sears and Kmart stores. Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney have filed for bankruptcy; Macy’s has shuttered dozens of stores and will close 125 more by 2023.”


The concept of eating where you shop can be traced back to 18th century Europe. However, many argue about who started the idea of “eating where you shop” in America. The great debate runs between the retailers,  Macy’s and Wanamaker’s.

Macy’s claims to have opened the first restaurant within a department store in May 1878 (originally Marshall Field’s Walnut Room), according to an article I read at

Others, like, claim that in-store restaurants were already established (in America), earlier in the 1870s, when Wanamaker’s in New York and Philadelphia offered customers the first in-store eateries. The idea was to create a reason for customers to pause in the middle of their bargain-hunting excursions and rest, while getting some sustenance for more energy to continue shopping.

It was based on the theory that the longer consumers were in the store, the more likely they were to look at more things and, thus, buy more, as well. It was a groundbreaking marketing tactic to attract and keep shoppers longer – and it worked, until it didn’t! The times are certainly changing – so are the ways people interact with each other, these days.


In honor of Sunday, as it was National Cookie Day, and the first week of December, being National Cookie Cutter Week, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Paintbrush Cookies, Like Hudson’s; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 221). [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…


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is also… National Sacher Torte Day!

Tomorrow is… National Microwave Oven Day, National Gazpacho Day, and St. Nicholas Day!

Wednesday, December 7th is… National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, National Illinois Day, and National Cotton Candy Day!

Thursday, December 8th is… National Brownie Day!

December 9th is… National Pastry Day and Christmas Card Day!

Saturday, December 10th is… Dewey Decimal System Day, National Lager Day, National Human Rights Day, and Nobel Prize Day!

Sunday, December 11th is… National App Day and National Noodle Ring Day!


…49 down and 3 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Virtual Shopping Slays Malls

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!



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.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 108)


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 [1988] 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.


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)


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’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).


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


November observes, among other things… National Banana Pudding Lovers Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Inspirational Role Models Month, National Life Writing Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Novel Writing Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, National Spinach and Squash Month, National Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Today is also… National French Toast Day!

Tomorrow is… Electronic Greetings Day! Plus, as the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Giving!

November 30th is… National Personal Space Day, National Mason Jar Day, National Mousse Day, and National Mississippi Day! Plus, as the Wednesday after Cyber Monday, it’s also… National Package Protection Day!

Thursday is the start of December, which celebrates, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, National Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), National Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

December 1st is also… National Eat a Red Apple Day, National Day With(out) Art Day, and National Rosa Parks Day!

December 2nd is… National Fritters Day, National Mutt Day, and Special Education Day! Plus, as the first Friday in December, it’s also… Faux Fur Friday and National Bartender Day [for 2022]!

December 3rd is… National Roof Over Your Head Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month, it’s also… National Rhubarb Vodka Day and National Play Outside Day (which is always the first Saturday of EVERY month)!

December 4th is… National Cookie Day, National Dice Day, and National Sock Day! Additionally, the first week of December celebrates… National Cookie Cutter Week!


…48 down and 4 to go!