By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979)


1 long zucchini

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup oil

1 TB vanilla

3 cups biscuit mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 TB cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts


Grate but do not peel the zucchini. Measure out and set aside 2 cups of it. Beat the eggs [with electric mixer] for 5 minutes. Add sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla. Blend [well].

Beat in biscuit mix, baking soda, cinnamon, and walnuts. When smooth [except for the nuts] and blended, pour into two greased and floured 9-inch, bread loaf pans. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. [Makes 2 loaves.]



See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tell A Family Story

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tell A Family Story

Thank God Its Monday, once again; and, as such, #TGIM and #HappyMonday! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to tell a family story and share Memories of My Mom with you!






It’s all about family and stories this week! Tomorrow is National DNA Day and Wednesday is National Kids and Pets Day. Additionally, Thursday is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day [always the 4th Thursday in April] and National Tell a Story Day, the latter of which I celebrate every Monday.

So obviously today I want to tell you a story about how Mom balanced her work and home life with a husband, 5 kids, and a dog, all in tow; because, for Mom, when she was working from home, every day was Kids and Pets Day, as well as Take her Daughters and Sons to Work Day!

Mom (and Dad) faced many uncertainties during the 1970s recession. Early in the decade, Mom left her job at the local newspaper to start her own paper, giving her readers the kind of recipes they wanted, according to the many requests she received.

Mom’s business quickly evolved over the years, in name and design – starting as Happy Newspaper Features, until finally becoming known as Secret RecipesTM – with her Recipe DetectiveTM brand being recognized world-wide. The detective persona came about from her radio audience fans.

In the early years of her home-based business, Mom sold her recipes for a quarter each, printed on 4”x6” index cards, from a mimeograph she kept in our laundry room. It didn’t take long before her recipe library grew to hundreds, mostly through requests from her fans.

The food industry offered unlimited possibilities, for imitating our favorites at home. Within a few years, Mom went from recipe cards to monthly newsletters and multiple cookbooks. She self-published her first cookbook in 1973 and started her newsletter January 1974.

For the first year, at least, Mom “secretly employed” me and my siblings to help her; while simultaneously trying to hide the new “family business” from Dad, at least until it showed a decent profit.

It wasn’t long before Mom started getting calls from local TV stations (and our neighboring Canadian stations), for interviews on news and talk shows; at which point, she had to tell Dad what she was doing.

Within two years, Dad had to take an early retirement from his sign company job; to help Mom, full-time, with the “family business”. That’s why, in our house, every day was National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, since it was a home-based business and we all helped Mom in some way – even if it was just staying out of her way.

Mom “went to work” at home, every day, discovering how to recreate our favorite fast food & restaurant dishes from regular pantry items and without any special gadgets or appliances. She even expanded into imitating grocery products, too. If she could save money on our family’s entertainment and grocery budgets, she wanted to share it with everyone!

‘Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ – Mark Twain


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 36)


IT WAS THE WORST possible time to launch a new business. The unemployment rate was terribly high. There was a newsprint paper shortage. There was a gasoline shortage. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least try to have my own publication, however.

My confrontation with the editor at the Times Herald over the cheesecake recipe [like Sarah Lee’s], was probably the best thing that ever happened to me – us, as a family, in fact.

I was forced to finally do something that, until then, I had only talked about doing because the advice I had listened to was bent on having somebody else handle my work.

Of course, I could not tell Paul what I was going to do – that I was going to publish a newsletter and I was going to try and sell subscriptions to it all without the help of the [publishing and syndicating] agencies to which I had previously been turning.

I was determined to make this idea work because I knew it was a good idea! It was a service that was needed and one that I could provide without ever having to leave the children again.

With the help of the Almighty, I had every confidence that turning out a recipe newsletter was going to be something that would bless everyone concerned: me, the readers, the products mentioned, the reviews of restaurants – every idea was a blessing!

Mom designed her newsletter and cookbooks like warm, comfortable quilts; combining her unique copycat cookery recipe concept for “Eating Out At Home” with humoristic cartoons, household and gardening hints, cooking tips and tricks; as well as adding in her syndicated “Food for Thought” ideas and “No Laughing Matter” columns.

They were all uniquely put together, with love and devotion, creating functional works of art; as Mom wanted them to be just as comfortable on the coffee table as they were on the kitchen counter.

Mom’s favorite way to market her ground-breaking copycat recipes concept was through radio talk shows. For nearly 40 years, she was a regular weekly or monthly guest on numerous radio talk shows (geared toward working homemakers), around the country and in Canada. On occasion, she was also a guest “on-air” with radio stations in other countries.

Mom liked to describe her newsletters as being like a visit from a friend – as you sit at the kitchen table, having coffee, discussing various topics of the day and sharing household tips and recipes. I would describe it, simply, as Mom’s “happy place” and her “legacy of love”.


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.

Some people experience a certain let-down, after reaching what they consider ‘the top’. When they finally reach the Everest of their ambitions [and] make it to the top, they start to wonder why they were in such a hurry to get there anyhow.

Like Lee Iacocca, who was only in his mid-40s when he was president of the Ford Motor Company, writes in his autobiography, [that he had] no idea what he was going to do ‘for an encore’! I have never had to worry about this, fortunately.

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 since I was a child [writing].

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 asked about writing their own cookbook, that WRITING it is the easiest part. Knowing how to SELL it is the hard part!


Writing was always in Mom’s blood. She wrote and self-published a lot of “our family’s story”, in 1989, in her book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop. The book was basically about how she was led by a special calling to start her Secret RecipesTM legacy. Plus, being that it was a “family enterprise”, it was sub-titled ‘The True Story of a Family’.

Every family has a story to tell – in fact, many stories. They can be pieced together from old pictures, cards, and letters or by tracing your ancestors’ roots through various online sources. It’s the perfect time to research and write about your family’s story, as it’s… National Tell a Story Day and tomorrow is National DNA Day!


In honor of tomorrow, also being National Zucchini Bread Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Zucchini Bread; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 52).




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


April celebrates, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and National Stress Awareness Month!

Today is also… National Pigs in a Blanket Day!

Tomorrow is… National East Meets West Day and National Telephone Day!

Wednesday, April 26th is… National Pretzel Day and National South Dakota Day!

Thursday, April 27th is… National Babe Ruth Day, National Devil Dog Day, and National Prime Rib Day!

April 28th is… National Blueberry Pie Day, National Great Poetry Reading Day, National Superhero Day, and National Workers’ Memorial Day! Plus, it’s also… National Arbor Day [which is the last Friday in April (28th for 2023)]

April 29th is… National Peace Rose Day, National Shrimp Scampi Day, National Zipper Day, and National Poem In Your Pocket Day [which changes annually – April 29th for 2023]! PLUS, being the last Saturday in April (for 2023), it’s also… National Kiss of Hope Day, National Pool Opening Day, National Rebuilding Day, and National Sense of Smell Day!

April 30th is… National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, National Bugs Bunny Day, National Honesty Day, National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National Raisin Day, National Hairstylist Appreciation Day, and National Pet Parents Day [which is always the last Sunday in April]!



…17 down and 35 to go!



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 38).


1 cup (packed) brown sugar

1 cup granulated [white] sugar

½ cup water

2 TB butter

3 quarts popped corn (lightly salted)


Boil first three ingredients to “soft ball” stage. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and immediately add popcorn. [Continue stirring until coated well.] Oil your hands and shape coated popcorn into balls. Makes oodles!

NOTE: You can shape balls around lollipops for built-in handles!



See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Trick Or Treat



By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 23)


White Flour, 1-lb = 4 cups sifted

Cake Flour, 1-lb = 4½ cups sifted

Whole Wheat, 1-lb = 3½ cups sifted


1¼ cups warm water

1 pkg active dry yeast or cake yeast or compressed

1½ tsp salt

1 TB soft shortening

1 TB sugar

3½ cups sifted enriched flour

Cornstarch Glaze* (see below)


Measure water into a large mixing bowl (warm, not hot, for dry active yeast; lukewarm for compressed yeast). Sprinkle or crumble in yeast. Stir until dissolved. Add salt, shortening, and sugar. Add in flour and stir. Turn dough out on lightly floured board. Knead 8-10 times or until dough is springy like elastic and does not stick to the board.

Place in greased bowl and brush top lightly with melted shortening. Cover with a cloth. Let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down and let it rise again until almost doubled in bulk, 30 minutes.

Punch down, turn out on floured board and cut dough into two equal portions. Roll each half out, into an oblong [shape] about 8” x 10”. Beginning with the widest side, roll up tightly. Seal edges, by pinching together. With hands on each end of roll, rolling gently back and forth to lengthen loaf and taper ends.

Place loaves on a greased baking sheet, sprinkled lightly with yellow cornmeal. Brush loaves with Cornstarch Glaze* (below).

*CORNSTARCH GLAZE: Mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tsp COLD water. Combine [that mixture] with ½ cup boiling water. Cook [and stir] until smooth.

With a sharp knife, make ¼ inch slashes in dough at 2-inch intervals. Bake at 400°F (a moderately hot oven) for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with Cornstarch Glaze*. Return [to oven] and bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.



See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tips For Branding Yourself

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Trick Or Treat

Happy Halloween! Additionally, Thank God Its Monday and, as such, #HappyMonday, too. I look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


Centuries ago, “happy” was never said in conjunction with “Halloween”. It was a day (or, rather, a night) to be feared, as many believed that this was when the borders between the realms of the living and the dead were opened to evil spirits.

Last year, I wrote about some of Halloween’s origins in my blog post, Americanized Halloween, and how it has changed, over the centuries; especially in America, going from a spiritual night to fear, into a non-religious, fright-embracing, candy-begging week/month-long event to market and celebrate it – American-style.

Halloween has come a long way from its origin, a couple thousand years ago; when it was a Celtic pagan ritual, with bonfires and costumes to welcome in the harvest and ward off evils spirits. The most prevalent change for observing Halloween in America started in the 1800s, with the influx of Irish immigrants that came here.

Popularity grew for celebrating the day with community parties and neighborhood gatherings for families and celebrators of all ages. Of course, retail marketing jumped on board to make it a fun (and profitable) celebration, with companies making and selling candy, costumes, decorations, and more. Even Hollywood cashed in on the new spirit of Halloween.

Communities and local media sources encouraged families to take the scariness out of what was once known as “All Hallows Eve” – or recreate it into a “fun fright”. The Americanized holiday that millions of people came to celebrate, focused more on fun activities and treats for kids and adults, alike; while still having bonfires and costumes – not to ward off evil spirits but, rather, to strengthen community ties.

By the 20th century, parades, pumpkin festivals, pumpkin-carving events, and neighborhood “trick-or-treating” were also incorporated into the mix of fun, celebratory activities for Halloween. [To learn more about the origins of Halloween and how it came to be what we celebrate now, check out History.com.]


As seen in…

No Laughing Matter, a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer (no date on reprint)

[Originally printed in her syndicated Food For Thought column, circa 1969]


EVERY YEAR, I KEEP hoping somebody will do something about Halloween costumes. Shopping for really weird costumes poses a problem when we are still offered the same monotonous choices we were given back in the Neo-Saddle-Shoe days of [my] own tarnished youth.

Somehow, I’ll locate those boxes in the attic that contain all the rain-soaked, Donald Duck outfits, Bozo suits, Frankenstein masks with missing elastics, and the gypsy attires. And if I do, I’ll be able to clothe an entire hippie colony for at least a year.

Somewhere, I also have a box of threadbare pillowcases stained with licorice and lipstick that didn’t wash out. However, if I’m lucky, I won’t have to give our 12-year-old a bag this year because he says he’s ‘going to eat the stuff right on the spot!’ And, if it’s an especially good year, he promises to save me all the chocolate Easter bunnies he gets. Mike told me not to worry about getting his sister a mask, ‘since Debi doesn’t need one!’

I’ve decided their father can take them trick-or-treating this year! I’m still quite hurt from the tactless comment made by the neighbor at the end of the block, who offered me the candy corn last year because he thought I had a sensational costume. Trouble was, I wasn’t wearing one! I looked like an accident, going somewhere to happen!

‘That’s my mom!’ Mike told the man. ‘But if you think she looks scary now, you should see her in the morning!’

That kid is going to get underwear for Christmas! In fact, a few more comments like that may turn me against honesty, altogether.

Actually, some of the costumes the kids have dreamed up, themselves, have shown more ingenuity than the manufacturers who produce kids’ costumes that are somehow programmed to self-destruct before a mother can find a safety pin to fasten the neck opening.

You’d think, for $2.98, they would at least put gripper snaps or zippers or supply you with their safety pins on those skimpy outfits. Do they care that a mother cannot locate a safety pin when she needs one, without summoning the aid of Mannix and Mr. Keane, Tracer of Lost Persons?

Trying to find safety pins for Halloween costumes in October is as likely as finding D batteries for Christmas toys in December!

Naturally, all my good suggestions went out the window, so the kids tried to put their own costumes together and I’m supposed to act surprised, when they come calling at our house Halloween night. Now, maybe I won’t be able to recognize my offspring, but one thing’s for sure… I can certainly identify my sheets!

Or, if you’ll excuse the pun – they don’t have a ghost of a chance of fooling me!

When I was growing up, in Algonac, in the 1970s, I remember having fun with my family going to the annual Halloween parties at our local Lions Club, where Dad was a member for at least a decade. They’d have costume contests for adults and children, a bonfire, arts and crafts activities, family “hayrides”, carnival-like games (such as bobbing-for-apples), music and dancing.

There was also a big bring-a-dish-to-pass smorgasbord of wonderful food and treats. Did you know that food is the most common denominator in almost every observance or celebration – in any country – regardless of culture or religion?

Mom usually made our costumes until we were big enough to create our own. I can remember various years, dressing up as a ghost, witch, black cat, scarecrow, hobo, Raggedy Ann, and an angel. I also remember making popcorn ball treats, with Mom, to take to school for Halloween parties. (See recipe in “Last Thoughts”, below.)


As seen in…

Food For Thought, a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer [circa 1973]


WHERE WE LIVE, in ‘Halloween Heights’, trick-or-treat is nothing to get excited about. I mean, explaining mischief to the kids in this neighborhood is like trying to explain sex to Dr. Reuben. With the kids on our block, Halloween is a way of life; religiously observed on any day that has the letter ‘Y’ in it!

Last year, we rushed out and bought 100 pieces of penny candy. A lot of good that did! The first kid who rang our doorbell wanted to borrow a cup of bullets. The year before that, nobody rang the doorbell… Somebody had stolen it.

And to think that when we first moved into this neighborhood, from the ‘big city’ 8 years ago; things were so dull all we had to look forward to was our dentist appointments. We couldn’t wait until some families moved in, with children for ours to play with.

Imagine our surprise when we got our wish but learned that those kids gave incentive lectures to pickpockets. They carry their BB guns around in violin cases. Even their sweatshirts are inscribed with slogans like ‘Boris Karloff is a SISSY!’ ‘The mafia wants to join you!’ And… ‘Do unto others before they do it unto you!’

Halloween to these kids is about as exciting as Girl Scout Thinking Day is to the Godfather. They don’t have time to fool around with child’s play. At least, not until they’ve finished putting up all of their signs, reading: ‘KEEP ON THE GRASS!’

I don’t understand them at all. Halloween used to be a marvelous time for masquerading and mischief when our parents would take us to the Five-and-Dime to select a costume and warn us not to fall for the first ugly face we see.

The kind of costumes we used to wear for trick-or-treat would completely turn off today’s kids. After all, they dress that way for school every day. There was always something so wonderfully scary about when we were kids. The kids in this neighborhood aren’t scared by anything.

They aren’t afraid of their parents. They aren’t afraid of the police. They’d probably run Godzilla out of town if they had the chance! For the kids in this neighborhood, doing a good deed is making a contribution in your name to local crime statistics.

Be careful! If one of them ever asks you for the time, it means they want your watch! Listen! Because of the kids in this neighborhood, my Avon lady sends me my order BY MAIL!

Remember how kids used to swallow goldfish as a teenage prank? Well, around here the kids swallow piranhas! Fortunately, though, they haven’t bothered me much. Somebody told them the syndicate has a contract on me – and they didn’t realize that it meant my column was being carried in newspapers across the country.

It wouldn’t do any good to pass out candy to these kids, this Halloween. By the time they ring the bell, we look through the peephole, unfasten the lock, slide back the bolt, unhook the chain, leash-up the German shepherd, disconnect the burglar alarm, and open the door – it would be Thanksgiving!


In honor of this being Halloween AND the last day of National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for the Popcorn Balls we used to make, together. The recipe was printed in her self-published cookbook, Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 38).


In just over a few weeks, what’ll feel like the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving will be here. Equally as quick, the hustle and bustle of all the December holidays will follow soon after and then the new year will be upon us! 2023 is only 62 days away. Wow! Try not to blink or you might miss it!


In honor of TODAY, being the last day of National Caramel Month, here’s four of Mom’s copycat recipes for Hot, Sundae Toppings Like Sanders’; including Caramel, Bittersweet [Chocolate], Butterscotch, and Fudge. These are from her “Original 200” collection, as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 36).


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





Besides being the last day of October and Halloween, today is also… National Caramel Apple Day and National Girl Scout Founder’s Day!

Tomorrow, as the start of November, observes (among other things)… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Family Stories Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Gratitude 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 (also in February), and National Vegan Month!

Tomorrow is also… National Authors’ Day, National Calzone Day, National Cinnamon Day, National Deep Fried Clams Day, National  Cook For Your Pets Day, and National Vinegar Day! Plus, it’s the start of… National Fig Week, which is always November 1st-7th!

November 2nd is… National Deviled Egg Day and National Ohio Day! Plus, as the first Wednesday in November (for 2022), it’s also… National Stress Awareness Day!

November 3rd is… National Housewife’s Day and National Sandwich Day! Plus, as the first Thursday in November (for 2022), it’s also… National Men Make Dinner Day!

November 4th is… National Chicken Lady Day, National Candy Day, and National Cash Back Day! Plus, as the first Friday in November (for 2022), it’s also… National Jersey Friday!

November 5th is… National Doughnut Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in November (for 2022), it’s also… National Play Outside Day, which is always the first Saturday of EVERY month!

November 6th is… National Nachos Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in November (for 2022), it’s also… National Daylight Saving Time Ends!



…44 down and 8 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tips For Branding Yourself

Happy Monday and happy spring! I look forward to Mondays every week, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


There’s an endless list of advice and tips, on the web, for how to do just about anything. I recently learned about how to brand yourself, as well as your business. The branding concept, itself, isn’t new but the process has evolved. Most businesses began by getting people to know who they were, where to find them, and what they offered. Customer service begets customer loyalty.

The accessibility of internet for the masses has certainly evolved the methods for creating or building a brand. Especially in the last couple of years, due to the pandemic and an increase in internet usage for just about everything from shopping to working/schooling. With new social media platforms popping up, more and more people are branding themselves and launching their own home-based businesses. I’ve narrowed the consensus of tips I’ve found to “my favorite five” for here.


This is simply expressing who you are and what you stand for. It’s the new “first impression” people get when they “Google” your name. You are your brand. Just as my mom’s name, Gloria Pitzer, was synonymous with “The Recipe DetectiveTM”. That was how she defined her brand of investigating coveted, secret recipes for her copycat cookery concept.

Nowadays, the objective is to make yourself known to the masses through the internet; connecting directly and in almost real time, around the globe, with current and potential clients, colleagues, and friends – consistently building on these relationships.

Branding yourself not only keeps you current, which can open doors for you; but, if done right, it can also create a lasting impression. The question is: What do you want to be known for? Establishing who you are and how you come across to others are really important factors to successful branding.

Creating a personal brand is not a quick process. Goldie Chan summed it up well in her wonderful article, 10 Golden Rules of Branding (Nov. 8, 2018), as seen at Forbes.com. She wrote: “Even Oprah Winfrey began by going through several style iterations on a small local show before defining her voice into one of the most influential personal brands in the world.”

Goldie also shared some great advice from Adam Smiley Poswolsky, the author of The Breakthrough Speaker (20s & 30s Press; September 2018), who she says took “it one step further when he’s advising speakers: ‘Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.’” It’s a few years old, but I recommend the read!

In the mid-1980s, Mom made a new niche within her own ground-breaking, copycat cookery concept, when she came up with her own “short-cuts” concept, as well; using mayonnaise in place of oil and eggs, for example, or a cake mix in place of the many dry ingredients in cookies.

Mom’s 3-to-5-ingredient short-cut recipes for imitating some of her imitations became a whole new sensation! When my dad found out he was diabetic, Mom revamped her recipes, again, to accommodate those watching their sugar and carb intake but still wanting to indulge in their favorite dishes.


Follow a successful example. All the greats were inspired by someone else! An effective brand can go a long way with self-promotion, loyalty, consistency, and quality. In the beginning, try to avoid being a Jack-of-all-trades and focus on your specialty, first, whatever it may be.

With experience comes expertise. Mom always wanted to be a writer and journaled daily for over 70 years. However, she believed she was directed by a higher power to write about recipes and other homemaking topics. Faithfully, she did.


Build a consistent online presence on various social media platforms and through your own, personal, website and/or blog. Purchasing your full name as a domain name (yourfullname.com) is a great way to do this. But it should be separate from your company’s website, including your picture, bio, email address, and links to other sites where you’re active (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Mom didn’t have the advantage of the internet over 50 years ago, when she started branding herself and what she had to offer as a syndicated columnist (before she even started her Secret RecipesTM legacy). She mailed her “branding” promotions to various newspapers and magazines. Later, she branched out to radio and television “talk shows”.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 38-39)


[CIRCA 1973] I ENLISTED THE HELP of the children. I was taking in ironing at the time, at about $5 a basket and sometimes I would earn as much is $50 a week. The money was supposed to supplement Paul’s paycheck, which – as soon as we found could make ends meet, discovered somebody had moved the ends.

So I took what money I could from the ironing earnings and kept the paper, ink and other supplies in stock in order to produce what was necessary to complete the newsletter. I cut the stencils on my typewriter, added the drawings and fashioned a literary ‘silk purse out of a sow’s ear’, as my dad would’ve said.

The utility room, which was in the back of the house and looked out over the yard and the long driveway to the road was a perfect position to be in when it was time for Paul to arrive home from work at the end of the day.

I would post the kids at the window to watch for Daddy so that I could be able to get everything put away and out of sight. I could not tell him what I was doing until I could assure him that it was paying for itself and that I was not going to lose money.

For nine months I mimeographed, assembled and mailed out about 100 copies a month of my newsletter, the names of the subscribers having come from letters I kept from readers of my columns and from names and addresses given in other magazines where folks were looking for recipes.

I mimeographed my own business cards and, as I have already told you, had no qualities at all about cutting them out and inserting them into cookbooks in bookstores or department stores, leaving them in phone booths, in ladies’ restrooms in restaurants or wherever I might find a likely audience. You must take every opportunity when you start out. Some ideas work. Some don’t.

We tread a rather steep path when we attempt to wish on everyone what seems a solution to our own problems. It actually takes courage to think for oneself in a world which appears to have more than its share of profits of despair. I wasn’t listening to any of them. I had my listening thoughts tuned into Angel messages that were leading me in a happier direction. I was never willing to give up. I’m still not!

[SEPTEMBER 1974] All I was doing was breaking even when Dennis Wholley, at channel 7 in Detroit, received a copy of my September newsletter of that first year of publishing. He called, though, and asked me in the family to appear on one of his broadcasts of ‘A.M. Detroit’, which we did – and which also opened up a brand-new door to opportunities I did not dream of encountering so quickly.

Of course, then, I did have to tell Paul all about the newsletter, what I had been doing and why I could not confide in him, knowing how skeptical he would have been about it. He practically agreed with me that, yes, he would’ve doubted that it would have had a future for us. Today, however, he’s willing to see it quite differently.

When I sent Dennis Wholley a copy of the newsletter, I also sent a copy to Bob Hynes, who then was host for the afternoon movie with CKLW-TV, channel 9, across the river [from Detroit] in Windsor, Ontario. There was no response immediately from CK-TV, but the day after I appeared on Dennis Wholley’s program, Bob Hynes called and asked if we could visit his show on New Year’s Eve day [December 31] (1974) and bring the entire family too.

The movie that day, I remember, was ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’ with Debbie Reynolds. His guests for the intermission was Lynn Redgrave, who was there to plug her new movie, ‘The Happy Hooker’. When I introduced myself to Miss Redgrave in the studio that day, I said, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Redgrave. I understand you are the happy hooker. I’m the happy cooker!’

The Dennis Wholley appearance was November 14, our daughter Lori’s [10th] birthday. We had to be at the studio an hour before airtime and the drive there was over an hour, in a blizzard… All was well, however, when we arrived at the studio. We were sharing the Wholley show with the newly elected mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young.

It was amusing, to say the least, that somebody mistook Paul for one of Mayor Young’s bodyguards because of the rather obvious bulge in the pocket of Paul’s coat. Somebody behind us, in the studio hall, whispered to someone else (and I overheard), ‘That blonde fellow is probably carrying a gun. See his pocket bulging?’

What it was, in Paul’s pocket, was the autograph book that Debbie had given her dad to have signed for her, because she had to be in school and could not go to the studio with us. Probably the rest of Pearl Beach was gathered at the post office in front of the television set to watch us that morning. It was a thrilling experience… Then several weeks later, was the appearance on Bob Hynes show…

The appearances on both of these shows brought us so many subscriptions to the newsletter and as the response increased, so did the amount of time that Paul gave me for processing the orders. He could see that I could not do it alone. Every evening and every weekend and even his two-week vacation from his job at the sign company, were given to working on the recipe orders with me.


This can be accomplished by connecting, not competing, with other professionals in the same industry. You can also use social media networks, commenting on posts and blogs. Form relationships to grow your business and brand. Again, that’s not a new concept either but the manner in which it’s done has come a long way in the past 50 years.

Nowadays, for networking, you join and participate in virtual groups, in almost real-time; along with instant messaging and emailing. Way-back-when, Mom joined and participated in groups, live-and-in-person. Her favorite was the Michigan Federation of Press Women – of which she was a member for MANY years. Otherwise, you talked to each other through land-line phones or wrote each other, using the U.S. Postal Service (aka: “snail mail”).


This can be done at work, at home, in your neighborhood and local communities – anywhere you’re active. Ask those with whom you network what they think your best attributes and core strengths are – they could be honest, creative, funny, generous, etc. Promote and grow those qualities in your brand.


‘Building a personal brand is much bigger than building a business. The only exit strategy is legacy.’ – Blake Jamieson; artist at Blake Jamieson, LLC

Think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind – because a personal brand is a lifelong project that constantly evolves and changes like life, itself. Both, the Recipe DetectiveTM and Secret RecipesTM, were Mom’s brands, as well as her legacy. I’m proud to share them with the “new” digital generations.


For National Flour Month and National French Bread Day, here are Mom’s tips for Flour Equivalents and her secret recipe for French Bread, including her homemade Cornstarch Glaze; all of which can be found in her self-published cookbook, Top Secret Recipes al’a Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 23).





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





…12 down and 40 to go!

Brandied Fruits


By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 9)

[NOTE: This is not a difficult recipe, but it does take a couple of weeks’ time, from start to finish. Maybe that’s why Grandma only made it once a year.]


1-lb can pineapple chunks, undrained

10-oz jar Maraschino cherries, undrained

10-oz can Mandarin oranges, undrained

1-lb can green grapes, undrained

1-lb can fruit cocktail, undrained

Sugar [equal to same amount of fruit & juices (above), combined]

1 slice rye bread

1 envelope dry yeast powder

1 pint 80-proof vodka


Use a [large] NON-METAL container. A bean pot or covered casserole dish is good for this mixture. Measure fruit and juices to the exact cupful. Add that same amount in sugar and combine.

Place in container with loose fitting cover, stirring it once or twice a day, for 7 days. On the 8th day, place the bread slice on top of mixture, floating freely, and sprinkle it with the yeast. Cover and let stand 5 more days.

[On day #6 (technically #13),] remove bread and yeast. Add vodka. Bottle and keep in a cool, dark place (NOT refrigerated) until needed for sundae or dessert sauce.

FOR FRUIT LIQUEUR: Put mixture, including vodka, through blender, a cup at a time until smooth. Add an equal amount of additional vodka. Bottle, cork, and store or give as gifts.


See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Significance Of The Pretzel

Apple Betty


As imitated by Gloria Pitzer, in her self-published cookbook… Top Secret Recipes a la Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 1)

[This dessert is like what Stouffer’s Restaurant used to offer many decades ago.]


1-lb can apple pie filling

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

2 TB flour

2 TB [melted] butter

½ cup dry oatmeal [quick-cook style]

½ cup biscuit mix

½ cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup (more) melted butter


Put pie filling in an 8-inch, buttered pan. Sprinkle top with next 3 ingredients. Mix oatmeal, biscuit mix, and brown sugar together. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Drizzle rest of butter over that layer. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm to 6!

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Comfort In Food