By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes, Revised (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1978, p. 17).
Julius Caesar was a great warrior. He conquered all the part of Europe that is now France. He even marched his armies into [Great] Britain. He also took them to the east and conquered part of Asia. Brutus, Marcus Junius, 85-42 B.C., [was a] Roman political leader and one of the men that assassinated Caesar.
One of the worst experiences and also the most frightening since I have been trying to duplicate famous dishes, was with a law firm whose client produces a beverage product, containing a ‘mysterious white powder’ and orange juice. A Chicago newspaper quoted me incorrectly and denied the error that claimed I had a recipe for the famous drink.
The lawyers insisted (no… ‘demanded’ …and I have it in writing from them) that I send them a copy of my book. Many months later, when I asked them, for the third or fourth time, to please pay for the book, they wrote me a letter, calling me ‘impertinent’ for asking for payment and threatened legal action against me that would have destroyed our entire family – not to mention that the threat alone put me under a doctor’s care for months, just worrying about it.
Funny thing was… the recipe was one that my mother had been making since I was in diapers. With a few updated revisions, I found it was, ‘in my opinion’, identical to the famous product. I guess I came close that time.
ORANGE BRUTUS [After School Shake]…
My mother was always creating something in the kitchen that was angelically good and her best effort was an after-school shake that consisted of blending together a quart of orange juice, an egg white, a dash of lemon juice, a few drops of vanilla, and a [small (4-serving size) box of ‘Cook & Serve’ style] vanilla pudding…
I later altered it by [combining] an envelope of Dream Whip powder and a quart of orange juice in my blender for a minute or two.
STRAWBERRY BRUTUS [After School Shake]…
10-oz pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed
3¾-oz pkg. instant vanilla pudding powder
1 egg white
2 cups milk
Place all ingredients [as listed] in blender. Using on/off [agitating] speed, blend 1 or 2 minutes, until smooth. Pour over crushed ice. Makes 4 servings.
As the second full week of May, this is National Etiquette Week! According to Wikipedia.org, Etiquette is a code of ethics or set of standards for acceptable social and personal behaviors, which are observed and practiced in polite societies, as well as in social classes or groups.
Etiquette refers to socially suitable and responsible behaviors. In simpler words, it’s a guideline of customs for good manners and civil conduct in a cultured society. Synonyms for “good mannered” include civil, considerate, cordial, courteous, and gracious, according to Thesaurus.com.
There are a lot of great benefits that come from using good manners. Obviously, it makes you more pleasant to be around and draws others to you, like a magnet. Knowing how to behave and what is expected of you, in various social situations, produces positive reinforcements from others. Another benefit is that it helps build confidence and self-esteem.
My husband and I were recently discussing how our parents taught us these things (etiquette and manners) throughout our childhoods. We raised our children in the same manner. Somewhere along the way, parents stopped teaching these things to the next generations. I work in retail – so I witness it all the time.
Some examples of using proper etiquette include saying things like “please”, “thank you”, “I’m sorry”, and “excuse me”. Be punctual, professional, responsive, and respectful. Practice active listening and don’t interrupt others. Speak with kindness, honesty, a smile, and eye-contact. Give compliments and avoid negative remarks and criticisms.
The list goes on and on! Open doors for others. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Dress appropriately. Shake hands/fist-bump in greetings or agreements. Don’t be boastful or arrogant. Respect your elders. Be kind and compassionate. Show appreciation and gratitude.
Table manners and meal etiquette is usually different at home than it is at someone else’s house or out in public. Commonly though, chew with your mouth closed; be observant of your surroundings and other people; read the room and choose your words/topics wisely, watching your volume, as well. Avoid using your cell phone in social settings.
These are all examples of good manners that show consideration for others. Holidays, weddings, funerals, and church services are other settings/events that follow certain rules of conduct (or etiquette). Etiquette and good manners are essential in life, as they help us to behave well at home and in society.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
No Laughing Matter, By Gloria Pitzer (Circa 1971)
WHY WASTE ETIQUETTE BOOKS ON ADULTS?
SOMETHING HAS GOT TO be done about etiquette books. All of them seem to be written for grownups. This makes as much sense as sending Twiggy to a sauna bath. The grownups I know have beautiful manners. It’s a joy to be in their company.
On the other hand, how many children are invited to catered [affairs]? Give a grownup a present for his [or her] birthday and he [or she will] be as happy as a hippy with a new string of beads. He [or she] doesn’t burst into tears and declare outrageously: ‘But I already have a Hot Wheels [or Barbie] case!’
Emily Post has wasted her energies on adults. She should have directed her talents to children. We’re all aware of little children’s charms. I have noticed this whenever I take my 4-year old with me.
I have yet to have the produce manager at the ‘A & P’ pat me on the head and offer me an apple. Nor has the bank teller offered me a sucker, only to hear me rapt: ‘But I want a purple one. I hate green!’
The experts claim children learn by example rather than precept. I wish they would then explain why a child would rather sit ON the table or UNDER it, when parents sit on chairs – with all four legs of that chair on the floor, yet!
Most parents hope to instill in their offspring, during infancy, the simple precept of keeping their fingers out of the Pablum; and accelerate it through teenage adolescence, with more sophisticated postulates of good table manners.
We then hope they come to know that forks are NOT for tapping table legs or catapulting peas off of somebody’s head. Heaven knows we parents try! Yet, children, in spite of their endearing young charms are not socially in demand.
Grandmothers do not invite them to spend the entire summer with them – a weekend, maybe! And you’re not about to serve fondue to them, at dinner because, for one thing, little children would rather build something out of their mashed potatoes than eat them.
The trouble with children is they fail to realize that parents are emotionally insecure. And the reason children must be taught to conform to basic social graces is that, someday, they too will be adults. They too will become attached to certain material objects they will respect and cherish and want others to respect and cherish…
Like plants and vases and ball point pens – that bicycles are very expensive and should not be left in the drive-way, where the garbage man might run over them.
A six-year old cannot understand, even though you’ve explained it to her 37 times why she cannot take your silver gravy ladle to the sandbox or your wiglet to ‘show-and-tell’. But just wait until you try to throw out a bald-headed Barbie doll, with a string missing from her back and [only] one leg.
Reasoning and civilized behavior are what distinguishes 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 a variety of different “codes of etiquette”, depending on diverse places and events – such as in a store, place of business, or corporation; during formal/informal “meetings”, at weddings and funerals, while dining/eating out, when talking on the phone, and even bathroom usage.
Kids are sponges. Teach them early about good behavior. It takes a village – so set good examples for them to follow! Etiquette is not written rules with which everyone HAS to comply, or else. However, there are consequences to bad behaviors, while good behaviors are rewarded. When we use good manners, life is so much more pleasant!
Etiquette teaches us how to behave appropriately and treat others respectfully, in any context – such as being a good neighbor and citizen. There’s also proper etiquette for travel, in workplaces and schools, and on the internet [aka: netiquette]. By the way, National Business Etiquette Week is the first full business week [Monday to Friday] in June.
‘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).]
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)
HAVING A GOOD EXAMPLE
EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE a few good examples to follow at some time in their life. I’m fortunate to have found several… My next door neighbor is one good example to follow.
She’s the one [who’ll] take a cake to a new neighbor, to welcome them. And she’s the one [who’ll] collect for flowers if there’s a death in the neighborhood. She always waves when she sees another neighbor and always smiles. A good example!
My mother is another good example I’ve followed. Her best gift and her greatest asset is that she’s always been a patient listener and a wise advisor. She was absolutely loyal to my father, through all of his mistakes, in each of his blunders.
The world could turn their backs on her children but she would always be there for [us] when we needed her. She’s given me an example that’s going to be tough to equal. In time though, I hope that I can say I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.
Have you noticed how much neighboring and neighborhoods have changed over the years? In the past, people used to bring their new neighbors casseroles or baked goods, just to introduce themselves and say, “Hi! Welcome to the neighborhood!” Years ago, neighbors often offered to help with the “move-in” or some other project.
Sometimes they’d stop by for a cup of coffee and some small talk, chatting about current events and asking questions about each other. According to TheSpruce.com, Neighborhood Etiquette used to include sharing things like tools and garden equipment, so everyone didn’t have to go out and buy expensive items that they didn’t often use.
All forms of good etiquette begin with “The Golden Rule” – treat others as you would like to be treated. We’ve been taught this since we were toddlers in a sandbox. Why does it seem like so many of us tend to forget about that once we age into the double digits?
According to Wikipedia’s analysis 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.” Basic etiquette.
In honor of Saturday, being National Pick Strawberries Day, and May, being National Strawberry Month, PLUS Wednesday, being National Juice Slush Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipes for Strawberry Brutus and Brutus Orange Beverage, as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes Cookbook – Revised (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1978, 4th Printing; p. 17). Remember Brutus? He’s the one who “did in” Julius!
Happy Monday to all and welcome to Mondays & Memories of My Mom! I hope all the moms out there had a wonderful, memory-making Mother’s Day yesterday!
I’m Laura (Pitzer) Emerich and I started these blogs last September to channel the memories I have of my mom and how she impacted my life – as well as the lives of so many others the world over. I’m one of five children of the trailblazing pioneer who originated the copycat recipe movement, as my mom is Gloria Pitzer; aka: the famous Recipe DetectiveTM, investigator of Secret RecipesTM. As such, my inherited love for writing, which came from my mom’s genes, took me on this incredible journey, down a new and diverse path of blogging to honor her legacy.
TheRecipeDetective.com website was originated by my brother, Mike, years ago to help bring our parents’ Secret RecipesTM business into the digital age, on the internet. I remember when Mom got her first computer…she tried to learn how to operate it, even just to get into her email; but, she was too frustrated by the new technology and ended up giving the computer to one of her grandkids, who new what to do with it. Mike managed the website and email until he passed it on to me last summer, because I wanted to start these blogs about our mom, in tribute to her legacy!
Mom passed away over a year ago – in January of 2018. Shortly before her passing, Mom’s last cookbook was published by Balboa Press. I worked, together, with Mom for over two years to write it. It’s actually a rewrite of Mom’s favorite self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (May 1983, 3rd Printing), freshly formatted and somewhat updated for a new, digital generation. The writing/rewriting collaboration put our mother-daughter relationship on a whole new level.
In the process of publishing the new/old cookbook through Balboa Press, they REQUIRED us to change the book’s title (or they wouldn’t publish it) because it too closely resembled the title of another cookbook by the famous Betty Crocker! It was supposed to! Regardless, I failed to get through to the publishers that the whole premise of the entire cookbook was a parody of IMITATIONS, from the title of the book, Better Cookery Cookbook v. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, to the recipes, themselves – Hopeless Twinkles, for example, is similar to Hostess Twinkies; and Wednesday’s Chili sounds similar to Wendy’s, the fast food chain.
Balboa suggested calling the new book Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook, but that wasn’t good enough for Mom and I. Thus, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook, with the secondary title of “Famous Foods from Famous Places – the Best of the Recipe Detective”, grudgingly became Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – the Best of the Recipe Detective, with the secondary title of “Famous Foods from Famous Places” remaining. I suppose, contrary to Charles Colton’s famous quote, imitation isn’t always considered flattering!
As a matter of fact, there were a lot of food companies that were totally offended by a small-town homemaker, not only imitating their products in her own kitchen, but also naming her recipes to sound like theirs! As well as, sharing her recipes with the public, so they could also “eat out, at home!” Many companies complained of copyright infringements and threatened her with lawsuits, but none of them actually took her to court. One company, however, started an ad campaign, using a 1970s, stereotype housewife with a claim that even she can’t make their product at home!
Stouffers’ and Orange Julius’ attorneys were among the worst of the top 10 complainers in that offended category. Continuously, the Orange Julius people threatened Mom with lawsuits regarding one of her “Original 200” make-alike recipes, “Orange Judas”, as found (in 3 versions) on page 6 of her self-published cookbook, The Secret Restaurants Recipes Book (Jan. 1977). In fact, neither company liked it when Mom AND the media referred to her recipes’ finished products as being like their products, nor did they want her recipes’ names to sound anything like their own products’ names.
Mom renamed her “Orange Judas” recipe a number of times, and still couldn’t appease that company! Regardless of their lawsuit threats, she finally settled on “Orange Brutus” for the recipe’s name. In a way, Mom turned that “lemon into lemonade”, so to speak; since, as she promoted it, “Brutus was the one who ‘did in’ Julius!” [See Mom’s recipe at the end of this blog.]
All the fights between the companies saying she infringed on their copyrights and Mom wanting to pursue her right to create her own homemade versions and promote them, just spurred her on all the more! She felt that, if all of these companies’ attorneys were persistently huffing and puffing to blow her house down, she must be on the right path – and she must have gotten pretty close with her imitations too!
On the other hand, some food companies, such as White Castle and Sanders Chocolates, were honored by Mom’s efforts at flattery by imitating their products… In fact, the Hershey and General Foods corporations happened to be a slight mixture of both. At first, their attorneys wrote to Mom to cease and desist the use of her recipe titles, “Recess Peanut Butter Cups” and “Shape & Bake”, for they too closely resembled their trademark names, “Reese’s” and “Shake & Bake”, as to cause confusion between the products; inferring lawsuits would follow if she didn’t cooperate.
To the Hershey corporation, Mom explained the meaning behind her title, using the word recess (as in a retreat); she also offered to only use (and promote) Hershey’s chocolate in the recipe. In the original version of this recipe, Mom used Nestle’s brand and noted not to substitute on the brand. The Hershey corporation was agreeable to, both, Mom’s explanation and offer.
Mom also worked with the General Foods corporation, changing the title of her coating mix to “Shook & Cook”, with which General Foods was, likewise, pleased. Mom had sent General Foods a copy of an editorial page from her newest cookbook (at that time), The Joy of NOT Cooking…Anymore than You have To (1983). In the editorial, Simple Reproductions, Mom wrote about her recipe imitations and their effect on certain “big” companies, comparing her opposite encounters with General Foods’ attorneys and Stouffers’ attorneys.
General Foods was pleased with Mom’s editorial compliments on their helpful approach and even offered Mom complete cooperation at any time with any of their products that she used as ingredients in her recipes. As Mom said in the editorial, “now that’s a BIG company – big in spirit and in customer relations. I purchase all of their products as often as I possibly can to show my approval of their efforts not to alienate a customer.” Unlike Stouffer’s hammer approach, General Foods took a scalpel approach to reach a remedy that could benefit, both, them and Mom.1 There was no problem with the recipe Mom presented as an imitation of their product, they just wanted a different title for it to protect their trademarks and copyrights.
As I wrote about in an earlier blog, Imitation, Merriam-Webster.com says that imitation means “something produced as a copy; resembling something else…” and Dictionary.com says, “to imitate someone is to pay the person a genuine compliment…” Thus, Mom often referred to herself as “the Rich Little of recipes”. Rich Little was a famous, stand-up comedian and extremely good imitator of celebrity voices; while Mom was a comedic writer and cartoonist, as well as an imitator of “famous foods from famous places”!
I found it ironic – and still do – that over the years, since Mom officially started her Secret RecipesTM enterprise in 1973, so many people have imitatedher, the ORIGINAL famous foods imitator. It’s a niche Mom originally carved out in the early 1970s. But, not all of those who have followed since have given Mom the appropriate credit due her for being the original sleuth to uncover the supposed secrets of the food industry, imitating the “famous foods from famous places” at home! Kudos to those who have given Mom the proper credit, though!
In other news…
According to NationalDayCalendar.com, among some of the national celebrations taking place right now, today is National Women’s Checkup Day! According to the website, there are five healthy habits “they” recommend women do to improve their well-being… (1) maintain regular checkups, (2) be physically active, (3) stick to a healthy diet, (4) don’t smoke and (5) follow general safety rules. Use #Women’sCheckupDay to post your tribute to women’s health on social media.
In addition, for foodies and gardeners, alike, NationalDayCalendar.com says that May is also National Strawberry Month! The website suggests that, to observe the holiday, you could visit a “pick-your-own” strawberry farm (or go to your local farmers’ market), plant a few strawberry plants of your own (or in a community garden) and/or prepare a recipe that uses strawberries. The website also gives a few links to some good strawberry recipes.
However, I have a great recipe for you, here, with a strawberry alternative! As discussed above, this famous frozen drink imitation has been in Mom’s repertoire since the beginning of her self-publishing business in 1973, as it’s one of her “Original 200” recipes. It has appeared in several of her cookbooks, in a few different versions and under a few different names; but, all of which Mom personally created. This form (pictured below) can currently be found in Mom’s last cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018)…as always, asking only for proper credit if you care to share it!
NOTE: Mom’sstrawberryversion of this Brutus drink appeared in her cookbook, The Three-In-One Book of Less Fat and Sugar & Best Bread Recipes (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI; Jan. 1977, p. 11), which is no longer in print, but used copies may be found on Amazon or eBay. This strawberry version calls for 7-Up or Faygo Red Pop and a strawberry Kool-Aid type of drink powder instead of the orange juice or Tang ingredients that some of her other versions include. I posted one of those other versions in a previous blog, Recipes and Radio, back in November of last year.
The cookbook also offers a version of just the “powdered mix” to jar up and mix, by tablespoonful, with individual glasses of your own chosen liquid. Mom’s recipes were often quite flexible in this way, as she recognized (having 5 children and a husband to feed) that a lot of peoples’ tastes vary, and good recipes should be able to accommodate such taste variances.
1 References to scalpel and hammer are from a former television show, Person of Interest (Season 3, episode 12), when Shaw says, “There’s a time for a scalpel and a time for a hammer. It’s hammer time!”
2 The earliest written form I can find of this proverb is a reference by William Shakespeare, in his 1600 play, As You Like It, when Rosalind asks, “Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?”