Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Marriage Made In Heaven

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 National Loving Day! It’s another one of those celebrations that should be observed and expressed every day of the year, as if it were our last, because you never know when it will be. I miss being able to tell my parents how much I love them.

This Friday will be their 67th wedding anniversary. They first met in 1955, while working for the same company. They were together for 59 years (the last 38 years were literally 24/7), until Dad unexpectedly passed in October 2014. Even when they were mad at each other and fighting, they still practiced loving every day.

It’s said that “practice makes perfect” and “nobody is perfect”, thus (as a perfectionist-wanna-be), I think we should never stop trying to achieve it. Marriage is more than one day of ceremony and celebration. It takes strong dedication and steadfastness (from both parties) – and a lot of forgiveness – to generate a lifetime of rewards from marriage.

Marriage is truly a commitment, in which two compatible people promise each other “to be faithful… to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part”… as are the basic, standard, civil marriage vows commonly recited.

Dad retired early, in 1976, to help Mom full time, managing the business side of their family enterprise, so she could concentrate on the creative side of it. They spent almost every single day together, 24/7, for the rest of their lives! LOVE, compatibility, forgiveness and communication are probably the top four qualities found in any successful marriage.

Throughout the decades, Mom and Dad’s marriage was tested in more ways than one – money, children, family, their business, even a little fame – but it withstood all the trials and tribulations… and not until death did they part. I still miss them, both, so much; but I find peace, in the belief that their spirits are together for eternity!

Mom wrote a lot about hers and Dad’s lives together, in matrimonial bliss with five children; using a loving, satirical twist, like combining the TV shows, “The Brady Bunch” and “Married With Children”. By the way, Frank Sinatra, one of Mom and Dad’s favorite performers, sings the latter show’s theme song, “Love and Marriage”!

GOOD MARRIAGES ARE made in heaven, or so it may seem. But, if that’s the case, a lot of the details will have to be worked out, right here, on earth.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 11)


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 62-64)


THE MOST OFTEN ASKED question about Paul and I working together in this family enterprise is how we managed to remain so compatible after 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, since August 1976. The basis, I believe, for every successful relationship is always between two good forgivers.

Sure, we get in each other’s way once in a while. But we never stay mad for long. When we were in Ventura, California, in August 1989, we visited an old Spanish mission that was founded over 200 years ago. In the church edifice was a one-word sign on the wall near the rear of the room.

It’s so greatly impressed me that I thought about it for days. The word was FORGIVE. A powerful message. The essence of The Master’s own message during his earthly ministry nearly 2000 years ago. FORGIVE – who, why, what for?

In forgiving, we free ourselves from the imprisoning thoughts of resentment, of retaliation [and] anger. In forgiving, we let go of bitterness, contempt, even hatred. We are free then to love, to heal, to be healed altogether.

One word – FORGIVE – but 1000 messages. A dictionary says of this word, ‘to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; pardon (an offense or offender).’ Forgive! It’s final, complete. There are no stipulations, no exceptions in the activity of forgiveness – no qualifications for anyone to meet.

Whatever the offense, we let go of the urge to see the offender punished when we forgive. It’s a cleansing action. It wipes clean the slate of past grievances. The more we remember past offenses, the less likely we are to exercise our freedom to pardon.

Sometimes, forgiving ourselves is even harder than forgiving someone else. Forgiving requires loving. And loving is spiritual activity. Spiritual activity is prayer. So, when we are praying, we are also forgiving and, likewise, being forgiven.

Our Heavenly Father forgives us so easily, so completely. He never withholds His forgiveness from His children, His beloved offspring, which include each one of us – you, me, everyone! So, in examining the meaning of the word forgive, I can erase the pain of past offenses.

I can put the word, ‘forgive’, into action – put it to work in my relationship with others. It’s remembering to do so that takes a little work and a lot of practice, but before you know what, it becomes a habit!

The last thing every night and the first thing every morning, I whisper a ‘thank you’ to God for Paul. The last thing every night Paul’s arms are around me as we go off to sleep, and I find his arms around me again when awakening in the morning…

My first conscious thought is ‘Thank you, Father, for this good man’s love, for the beautiful partnership we have in our marriage, with our family, in our work… Thank you.’ It’s something I do automatically every night and every morning.

Even the laws of physics and physiology can never reveal to us the indisputable way in which the Creator constantly participates in the life of each of us. It points out to me over and over again that the launching pad for successful change around us is actually the change within us!

To be in marvelous accord on a number of important issues in a conversation with someone you love, who loves you back, is grand. But… lasting marriages just do not ‘happen’. They have to be shaped and molded out of the good that one or both who are concerned will see and act upon opportunities to inspire improvements.

Most marriages begin with the expectation that they will last forever. In marriages that do last, forever is not only a hope, but an ongoing philosophy. The partners simply do not think seriously about divorce as a viable option.

This attitude that a marriage will last, must last, tempers their approach to conflicts and imperfections. These people are committed to the marriage, as well as to each other. They know that love needs time to take root and then expand; that in an enduring marriage, time is on your side.

Time allows you the security of taking each other for granted, in the best sense of the term, without having constantly to impress or to prove yourself.

[As for me and Paul,] I don’t know how or when the transformation took place, but it did – gradually, beautifully. I am not sure, but perhaps the Divine hand of heaven moved the family to become more harmonious. We never really talked about specific changes in attitude or behavior…

Most folks don’t like to be ‘preached’ to. To be ‘ministered’ to is different, however. When we are ‘ministered’ to, we are cared for, looked after and handled with quiet compassion – but never with pity. We can inspire someone to change but we dare not insist upon it!

When we see those we care about, somehow in conflict, and we know we can’t interfere; we can, instead, give out strong, moral support in silent prayer. Sometimes we focus so much on what is WRONG, that we failed to see how to correct it. We worry too much on WHO is right, rather than on WHAT is right!

In overcoming just the ordinary aggravations of being in business for ourselves, we also had to iron out the little conflicts over who would handle certain aspects of the work and how it would be handled.

We were constantly having to compromise. That was the toughest step! Paul’s mother surely would have been proud of us and what we had accomplished together, if she had been able to witness any of this.


National Loving Day is very special – in fact, so is every day we are given. Love who you love. Be who you are. These are part of our 1st amendment rights, to pursue happiness, and should never be denied to anyone. Check out, for the fascinating story of how today’s celebration came to be.


In honor of Wednesday, being National Strawberry Shortcake Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for Sugar Free Strawberry Shortcake (one of Dad’s favorite summertime desserts), as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Copycat Cookbook, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 91).


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


June observes, among other things… National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, and National Soul Food Month!

This week celebrates the start of… Men’s Health Week [the second Sunday in June through Father’s Day, which is always the 3rd Sunday] (11th-18th for 2023)! Additionally, the second week in June, is also… National Little League Week and National Flag Week, which is always the week of [June 14th] National Flag Day (11th-17th for 2023)!

Today is also… National Red Rose Day (plus, it’s National Rose Month), National Jerky Day, and National Peanut Butter Cookie Day! Beginning the second Monday of June (for five days), it’s also… National Business Etiquette Week (12th-16th for 2023)!

Tomorrow is… National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day, National Weed Your Garden Day, and National Sewing Machine Day!

Wednesday, June 14th, is… U.S. Army Birthday, National Flag Day, National Bourbon Day, and National New Mexico Day!

Thursday, June 15th, is… National Smile Power Day and Nature Photography Day!

June 16th, is… National Fudge Day! Plus, it’s Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary. In honor of both, pictured below is a reshare of Mom’s “Somewhere in Time Chocolate Fudge” recipe, as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 235). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).] It’s one of our family’s favorites!



Additionally, as the third Friday in June (for 2023), it’s also, National Take Back the Lunch Break Day! And, being the Friday before Father’s Day (for 2023), it’s also… National Wear BLUE Day!

Saturday, June 17th, is… National Eat Your Vegetables Day (it’s also… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month), National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, National Apple Strudel Day, and National Cherry Tart Day!

June 18th, is… National Splurge Day! Plus, as the third Sunday in June (for 2023), it’s also… Turkey Lovers’ Day (plus, it’s National Turkey Lovers Month, too)! Additionally, beginning the third Sunday in June (18th-24th for 2023), it’s also… National Play Catch Week and Animal Rights Awareness Week!


…24 down and 28 to go!



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 31)


1-lb brown sugar

2 cups granulated sugar

1-lb [4 sticks] margarine or butter

1½ cups milk

1 tsp maple flavoring or vanilla

Dash salt

1½ cups powdered sugar

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)


In a heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine both sugars, half the margarine (or butter), and the milk. Stir constantly to “soft ball” stage (234°F), boiling gently until small amount of fudge dropped from a spoon into a cup of cold water forms a soft ball. Cool to lukewarm. Drop in but don’t combine the rest of the margarine (or butter), maple flavoring (or vanilla) and salt.

Cool well and beat in powdered sugar [a little at a time], beating with mixer about 8 minutes or until thick. [If wanted, walnuts or pecans can also be added at this point.] Pour into & spread evenly over bottom of buttered, oblong, baking dish and set in freezer 1 hour or until firm enough to cut into squares. Makes about 36 pieces.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Clumsy Cook Or Gourmet

NIAGARA FALLS FUDGE – Like Maple Leaf Village’s

NIAGARA FALLS FUDGELike Maple Leaf Village’s

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 231). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

AT MAPLE LEAF VILLAGE, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the making of fudge before your very eyes has been an art in the form of entertainment for thousands, upon thousands, of tourists each year. The Swiss Fudge people will tell you the recipe is secret.

I don’t mind! I respect the right to that privilege, but at home we can try to come close to their smooth texture this way… Simply by improving upon my frosting recipe, used for imitating the famous Sanders product. Trust me!


4 ounces unsweetened solid baking chocolate (4 squares)

½ cup milk

¼ pound butter or margarine (1 stick)

2/3 cup light corn syrup

2 cups granulated sugar

3 ½ cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla


Put the chocolate, milk, butter, corn syrup and granulated sugar into a medium-sized saucepan on medium to high heat, stirring constantly until melted and smooth – while bringing it to a brisk boil for 4 to 6 minutes.

While continuing to stir, scrape down the sides of the pan, also. Remove from heat. With portable electric mixer on medium speed, mix in powdered sugar, a little at a time; then, add the vanilla and blend for 6 minutes.

Pour into a well-buttered, 9-inch, loaf pan that is also lined with a strip of greased waxed-paper, placed in the pan so that you have a 2-inch overlap at each end. Chill the fudge several hours or until firm. Use the overlapping waxed-paper ends to remove the fudge loaf from the pan. Slice it as you would a loaf of bread.

NOTE: At the time of this [original] writing [1982], one slice would cost you a $1.89 [Canadian funds.] Each slice is about ½ pound.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Smile Power

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Clumsy Cook Or Gourmet

As always, #HappyMonday to one and all! Personally, I always look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!



Today is, among other things, National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day! For many years, Mom loved to joke about being a kitchen klutz, herself. She always said, “If God had intended for me to cook, He’d have given me Teflon hands!” To me, she was a gourmet cook!

As I’ve mentioned many times, Mom wrote and self-published hundreds of newsletters and at least 40 books filled with not only thousands of her own “secret” recipe imitations, but also with her humorous stories and anecdotes, helpful kitchen and household tips, as well as some history or background information about many of the companies and products she imitated.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 306)

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


IF THE GOOD LORD HAD INTENDED for me to be a gourmet cook, I would’ve been born with Teflon hands! Don’t misunderstand – I like to cook! But I do not wish to spend more time in the preparations as is necessary.

No one appreciates good food as much as I do. Don’t ask me how I know – I just do. It does not concern me how a dish has been prepared, if it tastes great and looks good on the table! A gourmet cook would never agree with this philosophy. However, anyone can become a gourmet cook, that is, if that is what you wish.

All you need are numerous ingredients of good quality, a lot of time and patience and twice as much money – not to mention, and unblushing candor for admitting without modesty you are a ‘gourmet’ cook. This admission will intimidate many people just as easily as being faced with the admission that somebody is a terrific dancer, a great singer or an exceptional parent.

And while it is perfectly acceptable and not the least bit conceited to say one is a ‘gourmet’ cook, there is still a tendency to back off from them because you know how many failures you have experienced and how skilled you would like to be in the kitchen, if only you had the time and the energy – and a generous allowance with which to buy all the right ingredients.

‘BETTER COOKERY’ is my answer to the ‘gourmets’, who insist that ‘fast food’ tastes like cardboard – and, sometimes, the various menu selections really do! But there are many family-type restaurants within the division of the fast food industry that turn out exceptional meals for very reasonable prices, even giving senior citizens discounts and paying careful attention to how children are serviced.

When you’re a gourmet cook, you naturally have a throbbing desire to enjoy perfection with every dish, whether you’re preparing it, or someone else! To a gourmet cook, compliments go with the territory – failures don’t! They expect EVERY dish to be perfect enough to warrant a complement!

What can I say – Mom knew how take the monotony out of meal time! She designed her publishings like patchwork quilts, with a piece of this and a piece of that, sewn together with love, faith, and humor; offering a variety of things that would interest her readers. She intended them to be “coffee-table-reads” just as well as recipe collections for the kitchen.

There were no other cookbooks or newsletters on the market, back then, that offered what Mom did! Her compositions stood out and captured a lot of attention that spread like wildfire! It was a perfect storm – from the subject matter and unique layout to the media exposure she received – mostly through radio but also via newspapers, magazines and TV – all of which generated Mom’s reputation as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM of the American food industry.

Mom was greatly influenced by comedians and writers like Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, and Lucille Ball. Other talented ladies who inspired Mom, include Erma Bombeck, Elsie Masterton, Peg Bracken, and Irma Rombauer – just to name a handful.

In fact, a lot of the crafty format that Mom used in her newsletters and cookbooks was also influenced by her own favorite crafter, Carol Duvall; who, in the 1970s, had a “Craft Letter” (as she called it) and a 5 minute crafting segment on WDIV-TV (Channel 4, Detroit), called “Here’s Carol Duvall”. The two became fast friends.

That was long before Carol had moved from the Detroit area to Traverse City area, then on to ABC’s “Home” show in California (1988-1994); before she began hosting “The Carol Duvall Show” on HGTV (1994-2005), and prior to moving to the DIY network (2005-2009).


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 119)


LUCK, as the critics said, really had nothing to do with our success, unless the definition of LUCK is when preparation and experience meet opportunity. That is, indeed, a blessing worth counting twice, also. However, I have learned from my very wise mother, whose advice was always inspiring and encouraging, that rather than count my BLESSINGS, I should carefully count my OPPORTUNITIES!

In my kitchen, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one significant problem. The ‘Good Hands People’ are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen! My sense of organization is not what Heloise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

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

I am either in the kitchen, cooking up something for the next book [or] the next issue of the newsletter; or I’m writing about what I’ve been cooking – with time in between to do two, sometimes three, radio shows a day, on a regular basis, running anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. No two shows are ever alike – with the exception of the [wonderful] hospitality and warm response from the listeners.

I have had very few unhappy experiences on the air… Some of the highlights of these radio broadcasts will probably remind you of the first time you heard of me, through one of these shows, for this is where most of our family of readers have come…

And they continue to listen with as much enthusiasm and as many challenges [for me to decipher] today as they did the day I spoke to my first radio audience and became affectionately dubbed by them ‘The Recipe Detective’. I thank them!

LAST THOUGHTS… says that gourmet is “of, relating to, or being high quality, expensive, or specialty food typically requiring elaborate and expert preparation” – but also, simply, as “one who takes pleasure in eating and drinking”; being a connoisseur in food and drink and the discriminating enjoyment of them. Mom agreed, in that…


In honor of June, being National Country Cooking Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Marie Calendar-Style Cornbread”; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 100).


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


Some of this month’s observances include… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, and National Soul Food Month!

Today is also… National Weed Your Garden Day and National Sewing Machine Day! Plus, as the second Monday of June, it’s… National Etiquette Week (13th-17th for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… U.S. Army Birthday, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Bourbon Day, National New Mexico Day, and National Flag Day! Plus, Sunday began the week-long observance of… National Flag Week (12th-18th for 2022)!

Wednesday, June 15th, is… National Smile Power Day and Nature Photography Day!

Thursday, June 16th, is… National Fudge Day! Here’s Mom’s imitation of “Mackinac Island Light Fudge”!


June 17th, is… National Eat Your Vegetables Day, National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, National Apple Strudel Day, and National Cherry Tart Day! Plus, as the third Friday in June (for 2022), it’s also, National Take Back the Lunch Break Day! Additionally, as the Friday before Father’s Day, it’s also… National Wear BLUE Day!

June 18th, is… National Go Fishing Day and National Splurge Day! Speaking of which…



June 19th, is… National Garfield the Cat Day, Juneteenth, and National Martini Day! As June’s third Sunday, it’s also Father’s Day and Turkey Lovers’ Day (plus, it’s National Turkey Lovers Month, too)!


…24 down and 28 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Smile Power

Happy Monday everyone! I hope today holds something about which you can smile. I always look forward to Mondays, myself, because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



Today is the start of National Etiquette Week, which ends this Friday! Etiquette is a code of customs for polite manners and behaviors in society. Some examples of proper etiquette are saying “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, being punctual and professional and respectful, speaking with kindness and honesty, smiling at people and looking them in the eye, not interrupting others, giving compliments and not criticizing, as well as not being boastful or arrogant.

The list goes on and on! Reasoning and civilized behaviors are what distinguish human beings from animals. We start to learn etiquette at a very young age – from our parents and family, as well as from institutions like schools, churches, and businesses. There are many different codes of etiquette, depending on a variety of diverse places and events; such as corporations, meetings, weddings, funerals, dining and eating, talking on the phone, and even bathroom usage.

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

Etiquette is similar to what we all learned in kindergarten. According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum (the author) “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children; i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”


‘Smile and the world smiles with you!’ – Stanley Gordon West

By the way, since smiling is a small part of good etiquette, I also want to mention that tomorrow is (among other things) National Smile Power Day! If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because we just celebrated National Smile Day two weeks ago! But who couldn’t use another reason for smiling? Smiling can practically cure what ails you or, at the very least, help you deal with “it” better.

The power of smiling – no matter if you’re the giver or receiver – activates certain networks in our brains that positively improves our feelings, attitudes, and mindsets; while reducing stress, anxiety, and tension. Smiling prompts the brain to reduce cortisol, while producing endorphins and serotonin, which simply makes you feel better, overall.

There are many scientific studies out there that show all the health benefits from smiling (and genuine laughing, which can’t be done without smiling)! It makes you feel good and feeling good makes you smile even more, which causes a chain reaction in people receiving a smile from someone else and paying it forward to others. It’s a good kind of contagion! BEST OF ALL – IT’S FREE!


This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 4)



When doctors told Norman Cousins that he had one chance in 500 to live, he remembered the old saying that ‘laughter [was] the best medicine’. Cousins then asked Allen Funt, producer of the TV show ‘Candid Camera’ to send him films of past ‘Candid Camera’ classics and a motion picture projector.

Cousins soon made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine laughter would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. Cousins and his doctors made the startling discovery that laughter not only eased his pain, but also produced measurable changes in his body chemistry – small but lasting drops in the dangerously high sedimentation rate of his red blood cells. [Cousins wrote:]

‘The life force may be the least understood force on Earth. William James said that human beings tend to live too far within self-imposed limits. It is possible that these limits will recede when we respect more fully, the natural drive of the human mind and body toward perfectibility and regeneration. Protecting and cherishing that natural drive may well represent the finest exercise of human freedom.’

The power of a smile can welcome a new friend or simply make people feel comfortable. One of the most attractive features of people, in general, is a genuine smile. It’s like an open invitation that says you’re friendly and want to relate with others. Additionally, smiling also gives the perception of being trustworthy and agreeable. A true smile shows others that you’re willing to cooperate and worthy of their time and attention.

Many things used to make Mom smile, even when she felt like she was at her wit’s end. Seeing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren was probably at the top of the list. Listening to music (anything from Frank Sinatra to Kenny Rodgers); watching uplifting, musical and comedic movies; reading her copies of The Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures; as well as, journaling also ranked high on the list, too.

‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’ – Proverbs 17:22


Excerpts from…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17)


I’VE NEVER HEARD of anyone ‘suffering’ from wrinkles caused by smiling too much. But look at all of the furrowed foreheads on folks who have frowned their way through life. We can smile because we’re friendly, or because we’re sympathetic, or because we’re easily humored – but the smile of simply being connected with life in general is something we each deny ourselves by CHOICE! The frustration sets in when we can’t find anyone to blame for our not being able to smile!

‘To make a smile come, they say, brings 13 muscles into play – while if you want to thrive, you’ve got to work up 35!’ – Gloria Pitzer

‘Happy is the person who has a good supply of the milk of human kindness and knows how to keep it from souring.’ – Gloria Pitzer


The exhilaration that comes from hearty laughter is the most satisfying ‘high’ one can experience. The small smiles that lead up to laughter is a good start in the direction of finding the humorous and the enjoyable aspects of life. What we witness can either be dismissed or retained in our thoughts. If it makes you smile – hold on to the thought!


One of Mom’s fondest memories that would make her smile was of her relationship, over the years, with the Phil Donahue Show people. While, at first, it was overwhelming and exhausting, even devastating to a point; but it grew to be one of the best things that ever happened to Mom as the “Secret RecipesTM Detective” and one of the most treasured times of her life!


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 95-96)


THOUGH MANY EVENTS drift through my mind, surprisingly enough, it is the ‘Donahue’ show I recall most frequently, when I consider turning points.

We were settling down in our new home in St. Clair, with the office in the basement. We outgrew that arrangement in the short time and then rented a large office up town. The books became more successful than we anticipated in the newsletter circulation was growing to over 10,000 subscribers…

We were receiving a few hundred letters a day, which will usually do, from the radio shows and newspaper stories that I have been involved with as a consultant on franchise foods. In the spring of 1981, Carol Haddix, who had transferred from the Detroit Free Press to become food editor at the Chicago Tribune, ran a story about us.

The Donahue show people called to request that we appear on their show as soon as we could arrange it. We had just finished a television appearance with PM magazine out of Detroit and another with Channel 4 in Detroit for the noon news and the response was so overwhelming that we were hoping to put off any further publicity until we could take care of the current response…

The Donahue show appearance will always remain the single most important part of our growing, of opening many doors that would have been otherwise close to us in the field and for allowing me to let my light shine. Now to keep on shining!

So on July 6th, Paul and I flew to Chicago, staying at the Hyatt O’Hare, and did the Donahue show vibe, for an entire hour, on July 7, flying back that same afternoon. In the airport, on the way to catch our plane back to Detroit, a woman came up to us all smiles and said she had just seen us on television, and we told her how to send for the books.

The next day, however, 15,000 letters were waiting for us at the St. Clair post office. And every day for four months we picked up thousands of letters, having received by Christmas, well over 1 million letters requesting information on how to acquire our books, which were still available only by mail from our address…



Fudge is another thing that always made Mom smile! Therefore, in honor of National Fudge Day coming up on Wednesday, June 16th, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Niagara Falls Fudge” like she always enjoyed at Maple Leaf Village in Niagara Falls, Ontario!

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 232)

[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…


June celebrates, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy MonthNational Great Outdoors Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Other observances happening this week include:

June 13-19 is National Little League Week and National Flag Week (which is always the week of National Flag Day)! Add an extra day for Men’s Health Week (which always starts the second Sunday in June & ends on Father’s Day)! The third week in June also observes Animal Rights Awareness Week and Universal Father’s Week!


Today, June 14th, is also… the U.S. Army’s Birthday, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Flag Day, National Bourbon Day, and National New Mexico Day!

Tuesday, June 15th, is… Nature Photography Day!

Thursday, June 17th, is… National Eat Your Vegetables Day, National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, National Apple Strudel Day, and National Cherry Tart Day!

Friday, June 18th, is… National Go Fishing Day, National Splurge Day, Wear BLUE Day (always on the Friday before Father’s Day), and National Take Back the Lunch Break Day (which is the third Friday in June)!

Saturday, June 19th, is… National Garfield the Cat Day, Juneteenth, and National Martini Day!

Sunday, June 20th, is… American Eagle Day, National Vanilla Milkshake Day, National Ice Cream Soda Day, Summer [Solstice] Begins (which is the longest Day of the Year), and National Seashell Day (which is the first Day of Summer)! As the third Sunday in June, it’s also Father’s Day and Turkey Lovers’ Day (plus, it’s Turkey Lovers’ Month, too)! Also, as the third Sunday in June, it’s the start of National Play Catch Week (June 20-26)!


…24 down and 28 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Trials and Tribulations of Experience

Happy Monday to everyone! I hope all the dads out there had an awesome, memory-making Father’s Day with their kids yesterday!

Yesterday was a bitter sweet day for me, as it was my parents’ anniversary, as well as Father’s Day. I’m so happy that they’re together again and yet I miss them, both, so much! Since my dad passed away in the fall of 2014, Father’s Day has become one of those days when I miss my dad more immensely than others! Like any daughter might feel, he was and will always be my hero! Thus, being that yesterday was Father’s Day, I want to share with you an old, satirical editorial that Mom wrote about Dad called “Father’s Day (or) the King and I!” Below is a photocopy of the article, which I found in Mom’s June 1974 newsletter issue.

There weren’t many things that stumped my mom more than understanding my dad’s love of football. However, Mom was always perplexed to come up with an easy answer for people, asking her advice on how to write and publish a cookbook or to start their own newsletter. My mom often wanted to create an easy, step-by-step plan to give people. However, there was no one-size-fits-all answer; not even based solely on what was Mom’s own experiences, hard work and involvement.

Other than 3 of the most commonly known, basic steps – (1) write about what you know best, (2) know who your target audience is and, (3) follow through or sell it to them – Mom could never come up with a more detailed outline that could cover all the multitudes of possibilities involved in writing a newsletter or book. Mom believed that only the trials and tribulations of experience could be the best guides by which to set and accomplish one’s goals.

Similar to some advice that Mom once gave me for writing to capture my audience’s attention and doing it in the first sentence or two, Stephen King said, of “opening lines”, in an interview by Joe Fassler (July 23, 2013) in The Atlantic magazine:

‘There are all sorts of theories and ideas about what constitutes a good opening line. It’s a tricky thing, and tough to talk about because I don’t think conceptually while I work on a first draft — I just write. To get scientific about it is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar…But there’s one thing I’m sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.’

Instead of composing a “How To…” guide for writing and publishing, Mom wrote “our family story” in her book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989); in hopes that it might help inspire someone else. Here is a patch-work quilt of excerpts from that book – excerpts which Mom wrote on the subject of creating your own newsletter or book…


THE EXPERIENCES WE’VE ENCOUNTERED in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry…has occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio broadcasting and newspaper exposure and our own publishing efforts. If someone can benefit from our experiences, all the better. Mostly, though, this is just a story of our family, our five children…and how we made a dent in the hard shell of the publishing industry. – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 2)

At least once a week…I am asked how I got into this business, how it all started and how somebody else can write their own book [or newsletter] and get it published. If there were a formula for our kind of success…I would be happy to share the information…

The experiences that comprise the success and longevity of our Secret RecipesTM include some very wonderful people who have gone out of their way to make it easy for us to present our work to the public…[those were some to whom I’ve started addressing “thank you” notes in my last couple of blogs…among others yet to come.]

Over the years, it has been, not a job, but a joy to continue investigating the secrets of the food industry, combining this information and recipes with the logic of the heart, the food for thought as well as food for the table. It continues to arouse interest and delight in, both, our readers and radio listeners all over the country, as well as the world! – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 14-15)

If someone were to copy our so-called “success”, I could give them no blueprint for that condition. Each one of the little steps that we had to take to develop the kitchen table activity into a professional business operation, are like the grains of sand that the oyster requires to form a pearl. – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 25)

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, Algonac, MI

With…writing and marketing, it’s all based on individuality, on experience being the best teacher and on having a responsive audience…it also begins with a sale. You have to know to whom you will be directing your material and how you will be meeting their needs. Nobody can tell you HOW to do that – you either know or you don’t! If you don’t know how to talk to your reader, you’re like a lighthouse without a light!

You have to let your light shine – and part of the preparation of communicating with your readers is to know how to talk to them, what they need from your [books or] newsletters that will enrich them or make their lives better. – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 43-44)

Believe me, it’s not easy, putting out your own [book or] newsletter; and it is foolish for anyone to believe that there is a blueprint…to follow that will promise instant success. – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 48)


In 1973, Mom wrote and self-published her first cookbook, The Better Cooker’s Cookbook. It was a collection of recipes that she had developed, tested and originally published in Cookbook Corner, a recipe column she wrote and syndicated to newspapers for over 5 years prior. Mom laughingly called her collection the “reluctant-cook-budget-tested” recipes.


I’d like to place a big “THANK YOU” note, here, to Bob Talbert (RIP) of the Detroit Free Press fame, along with our condolences to his surviving family and friends. Mom often talked about his helpful boosts in getting her name out to his readers with the wonderful plugs he gave her products. Bob Talbert and Mom had a delightful friendship over the years, and she was quite saddened by his passing in 1999. Bob mentioned Mom’s first cookbook in one of his 1973 columns, where he referred to it as being great “…for a buck-and-a-half-and-a-belly-laugh” per page!

At that point, as Mom’s collection of recipes grew – recipes which she developed and tested initially from requests made by her readers and, then, from the radio listeners of Bob Allison’s Ask Your Neighbor show that she was beginning to know – she decided, rather than writing another cookbook, she’d start writing a monthly newsletter. Mom called it Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter (1974) and referred to it as a “compendium of fact and fancies…the almost-magazine – not quite a newspaper – that can build into a book.” Mom also knew exactly who her target audience was and instinctively saw how to sell it to them!

When Mom made mention of her newsletter during one of her frequent call-ins to Bob’s radio show to answer a listener’s recipe question, he was immediately enthralled to know more about it and how his listeners could get it.

The first few cornerstones, in the building of Mom’s Secret RecipesTM empire, were her fellow journalists, as well as radio talk show producers and their hosts. My mom mailed out advertising fliers that she designed and complimentary copies of her work to every one of whom she could think to promote her talents. The unique niche Mom carved out in the food industry in the mid- to late-1970s, when she dared to embrace the fast food and junk food fare that all the nutritionists were warning the public against consuming, grabbed the public’s attention by storm!

Mom constantly found innovative ways to sell her creations through a lot of business cards (placed everywhere and anywhere allowed) and promotional mailings for radio talk show programs, the wire service, newspapers, magazines and even television that catered to her same focus group (along with a follow-up note or phone call). Mom’s newsletter and her ensuing collection of self-published cookbooks seized the interest of people, all over the country and internationally, as there wasn’t anything else on the market like them!

1974 heading of Mom’s first newsletter.

The History of ‘Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes NewsletterTM can be found at Long story, short version… Originally, Mom’s newsletter was a small (5.5” x 8.5”), 3-ring binder-style publication that could be collected, volume by volume, to form a book. Mom called the “almost-book, almost-magazine” Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter. It boasted 12 back-to-back pages per issue, laid out in the style of a patchwork-quilt and stuffed full of food for the soul, food for thought and food for the table. In addition, there were kitchen, cooking and household tips; plus, humorous quips and satirical cartoons! Furthermore, the early issues included a “Reader’s Swap Shop” and a “gardening tips” page.

‘Every issue is like getting together for coffee with friends!’ SM – Gloria Pitzer

Over the decades, the newsletter evolved with the changing times – the subject matter never ran low of ideas to cover, as more and more chain restaurants surfaced with specialty dishes that people wanted to know how to imitate at home, and new “convenient” grocery products were constantly being developed and introduced by various food companies. Mom added restaurant reviews and her radio show schedule to the newsletter issues, eventually eliminating the “Reader’s Swap Shop” and “gardening tips” page.

Along with the changing eras, the name of Mom’s newsletter changed slightly a few different times, as well as the size, number of pages and amount of issues printed per year. Plus, of course, the cost grew with inflation too. To put it in perspective, in 1974, according to, the United States minimum wage was $2.00 per hour; which is an equivalent to $10.88 per hour in today’s, 2019, economy.

At times, when Mom was over-busy, authoring new cookbooks, she opted to place the newsletter into retirement for a few short periods of time. But, because of her love for the writing and consistent contact with her audience, Mom would always come back to the periodical, reincarnating it in a new format – much like the “retirement saga” of football-fame’s Brett Favre. Wow! I think I just channeled my dad there!

Among Mom’s things that I have now, I found an original layout for her 1999, 25th anniversary edition of the 1974 newsletter collection, in a 60-page, large (8½ x 11-inch) format book filled with over 250 recipes and her usual added flair that had always set Mom’s books apart from the rest. I’d love to hear from anyone who still has old copies of Mom’s newsletters or any of her books! Please write to me at: [email protected] and include your memories of my mom!

IN CLOSING… since yesterday was also National Fudge Day, below is a photocopy of Mom’s imitation for fudge like Disneyland’s and Disneyworld’s famous product, which she shared on one of her “free recipe samples and ordering information” sheets in 1996 or 1997 (I haven’t found a copy of it in any of Mom’s books that I have, but it may have originally appeared in one of her newsletter issues that I don’t have)…