Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Experience Is Preparation

Happy Monday and happy December, too! I LOVE Mondays! I always look forward to each and every one of them, as they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!



Among the many things celebrated during the month of December, this is also National Write A Business Plan Month! If Mom had received a dollar for every time she was asked how she started her business or how someone else could do what she does, she probably would’ve been among the most wealthy business women in the country.

As Mom used to say, there was no blue-print for how to successfully do what she was doing. She got to where she was through many little steps that took her in a direction she didn’t really plan but, which she felt, was the Lord’s plan for her. Mom’s faith was unyielding!

Mom was always mystified on how to come up with an easy answer for people, asking her advice on how to write and publish a cookbook or how to start their own newsletter. She always wanted to create some kind of easy, step-by-step plan. However, there wasn’t a one-size-fits-all answer that she could come up other than these three basic steps:

(1) write about what you know best

(2) know who your target audience is

(3) follow through or sell it to them

Mom always believed that only the trials and tribulations of one’s own real experiences were the best guides by which to set, plan, and accomplish their goals.

Thirty-two years ago, instead of composing a “How To…” guide for writing and self-publishing, Mom wrote “our family story” in her self-published 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’s a medley of excerpts from that book, which Mom wrote on the subject of creating your own newsletter or book.


The following is a medley of excerpts from Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her self-published book…

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


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. (p. 2)

All of this should have started somewhere at a particular place in my life, because most important things DO have MEMORABLE BEGINNINGS. But I’m hard put to come up with that one event, that singular moment, when I knew that our Secret RecipesTM would touch other people, not just across the country but [also] across the world. And, in doing so, would make a difference. That’s what really counts – doing something that will make a difference for the good of others. (p. 7)

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… (p. 14)

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 shared ‘thank you’ notes in some of my past blog posts.]

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! (p. 15)

‘I felt as if the hand of Providence had poured me out a blessing and it was pressed down, shaken together and running over.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 15)


THE EXACT CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, in which each of my writing experiences have occurred, are not clear in my memory now. However, each step [and] each experience was, on second thought, [neither] a delay nor a setback, as I used to believe. It was, instead, only preparation and the gathering of experience…

[Other than myself,] there has been no ‘real’ publisher, no public relations agent or the expensive efforts of professional promoters. [Their] ideas of how to publicize what I have to offer would only conflict with what I felt should be done.

My cup runneth over because I have been blessed with an enthusiasm for promoting my own work and have been twice-blessed with the support and partnership of, probably, the most honest man in the world; who knows, from his own valuable working experiences, exactly how to manage and protect this enterprise.

All of the blessings I derived from having stumbled my way through the [not so] meaningless jobs of the many newspapers for which I once worked, eventually paid tremendous dividends, as I was able to put those learned skills into practice with this family enterprise of ours. Each bit of experience contributed to what I would, later, be able to do without the help of professionals. (p. 20)


While the critics snickered that my fast food imitations would run its unhealthy course in a short while [and] that my ability to turn out copy would, soon, be exhausted; I continued to look to a Divine Source for [my] daily supply of, both, energy and ideas. I have never yet been disappointed or without something good to share with our family of readers and our radio listeners. My cup does, indeed, run over! (p. 21)


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. (p. 25)


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. (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. My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 48)


THE CARTOONS… HAD BEEN the very beginning of my work in newspapers, as I provided ‘The Roseville Community Enterprise’ and, later [in between which I was writing at the ‘Algonac Courier’], the ‘Richmond Review’ with a cartoon panel I called ‘Full House, As Kept By Gloria Pitzer’. The cartoons were published every week for four or five years.

At the same time, I was also giving another paper a panel entitled ‘Could Be Verse’, which was three or four lines of rhyme or bumper-sticker-type logic. One, for instance, read: ‘All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER!’

They were silly verses but fun to do at the time. From that, came [my] column entitled ‘No Laughing Matter’, which ran weekly for about six years; and, during some of that time, it was syndicated by Columbia Features out of New York. (p. 52)

I often receive email solicitations, wanting me to pay “them” hundreds of dollars to market Mom’s last cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018). Generally, the emails point out that writing and publishing are only two minor steps in the whole “book-making-process”.

An author’s biggest challenge is probably the marketing step because it involves so much more personal time and effort since you’re not just selling your product, you’re also selling yourself – your talents and expertise.

I believe that! Throughout Mom’s career as the ORIGINAL Recipe DetectiveTM, she put in 12-hour work days all the time – doing restaurant reviews, product testing, developing imitations and many re-tests, writing, self-publishing, and self-promoting were all a part of her everyday life for almost 40 years.

I suppose the hours involved in just promoting something could justify (for me) how much it costs to pay the professionals to do it for me. It’s also saving me from the anxiety of the marketing challenges since I’m not a sales person and never really wanted to be one. However, for me, if I really love a product, use it myself, and believe in its value, that makes selling it to others a bit easier!


But I need to find a plan of action that works for me. And how do I know what’s the value (or cost) of my time? My experiences are a drop in the bucket compared to Mom’s. I’m sure it’s value is far less than that of the marketing professionals – but then “you get what you pay for”, as the old saying goes!

Granted – paying them would save me from all that stuff! But, when you don’t have a lot of money to spend on that kind of stuff, in the first place; sometimes, you just have to learn how to do it yourself. Nowadays, you can find YouTube videos on how to do just about anything! Mom didn’t have YouTube to help her. She succeeded on her accumulated experiences in the newspaper business and her own basic instincts.


Since this is National Pear Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Apple (or Pear) Crisp; from her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 240). [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…


Some of December’s month-long observances include… Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Today is… National Microwave Oven Day, National Gazpacho Day, and St. Nicholas Day! Today it also the last day of Chanukah 2021.

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

Wednesday, December 8th is… National Brownie Day! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s secret recipe for imitating Hostess Style Brownies & Fudge Frosting (from her “Original 200” recipes collection.)


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

December 10th is… Dewey Decimal System Day, National Lager Day, National Human Rights Day, Nobel Prize Day, and National Salesperson Day – which is always the second Friday in December!

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

Sunday, December 12th is… National Ambrosia Day, National Gingerbread House Day, and National Poinsettia Day!


…49 down and only 3 more to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Make A Plan

Happy Monday to all and #TGIM! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances a year, in which I can share Memories of My Mom with all of you! Even though this is the last Monday of 2020, I am looking forward to 52 more chances in 2021!

It’s still December for a few more days. That means it’s still National Write A Business Plan Month! The pandemic effect on 2020 has left many people out of work and others having to close their businesses for good. And, as we start planning our resolutions for the new year, what a great time it is to think about starting a small internet business venture.

There wasn’t internet around when Mom suddenly switched gears and went from a syndicated columnist to a self-published journalist. Additionally, the 1970s were going through major challenges – food shortages, paper shortages, sky-rocketing unemployment, and so forth. But FATE was steering Mom into a particular “business plan”, even though it wasn’t exactly what she had planned for her future writing career when she was young.


‘It was all leading to my eventual work in the food industry – but I couldn’t see that at the time – I could only see that I had to write and with any luck at all, luck would be when preparation and experience met opportunity. The opportunity was close at hand.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 294)]

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it was almost half of a century ago when Mom left her newspaper job and began her own family owned and operated, cottage-style, dining room table business. In the fall of 1973 Mom started putting together her first newsletter, titled Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter, following the earlier release of her first, self-published, cookbook, The Better Cooker’s Cookbook (1973), which was compiled from a collection of recipes she had developed while writing her syndicated, food-for-thought and recipe column called “Cookbook Corner”.

The following excerpts are Mom’s account of how her fate-driven business plan came about…


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 296)


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. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least try to have my own publication. It was something I had always wanted to do. I couldn’t tell Paul. I knew that! He would have been far too practical to have approved of my starting my own paper, so I enlisted the help of our children.

I was taking in ironing at the time, at $5 a basket, and sometimes earned as much as $50 a week. The money was supposed to supplement Paul’s paycheck, which – as soon as we found could make ends meet – we discovered somebody had moved the ends. So, I took what money I could from the ironing earnings and bought a mimeograph. I kept it in a big box in the utility room under my sewing table. Paul would hardly pay attention to what I wanted him to think was only sewing paraphernalia.

For 9 months, I mimeograph, assembled and mailed out about 100 copies a month of my newsletter. Bill and Mike helped assemble it and Debbie help me test the recipes and address the copies. I don’t know how we ever kept it from Paul for that long, but I couldn’t tell him what I was doing until I could assure him that I could make a profit. All I was doing was breaking even.

1974 heading of Mom’s first newsletter.

Then Dennis Wholley, at Channel 7 in Detroit, called and said somebody had sent him a copy of my newsletter. He was tickled with the crazy names I gave the recipes and the home-spun format. He wanted the entire family to be his guests on his “A.M. Detroit” show on November 14 – which was also our Laura’s birthday.

I couldn’t keep it from Paul any longer, because I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to promote the paper on a popular local television show. He took it quite well, considering the state of shock he must have been in at my announcement. But we took all 5 of the kids with us across town, in a blizzard yet, with Laura having a bout of car-sickness during the hour’s drive there.

And, during that experience, we met Coleman Young, the recently elected mayor of Detroit, who was also a guest on the show. All of Pearl Beach must have been tuned into a.m. Detroit that morning, with half of the population gathered at the Pearl Beach post office, watching the portable set there.

Gloria Pitzer, mimeographing in her early years as the Recipe Detective [TM]

It brought us many new orders for our newsletter, and it wasn’t long before CKLW’s Bob Heinz asked us to appear on his show on New Year’s Day. We, again, took the family over to Windsor, Ontario – across the Detroit River – for another exciting experience and hundreds of letters that followed, wanting to subscribe to the newsletter. By that time, Paul was giving me every evening of his time when he came home from his own job at the sign company, plus all the weekends just to fill the orders.

My list of ‘Secret Recipes’ had grown to 200 and we offered them, on 4×6-inch cards [that I printed on my mimeograph], at $.25 each or 5 for a dollar. It was quite a packaging process to fill the combinations of orders, so I put all those recipes into a book. It was going to be our only book on the subject, since most of the recipes were fast foods – but, as it turned out, it was only the first in a series of five books. After ‘Book One’ took off and became a very good seller, I did a Bicentennial American Cookery book as a limited edition and was pleased when the Henry Ford Library at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan ordered copies for their Bicentennial collection. That was July 1976…

‘Apparently, it’s true, that LIFE is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.’– Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 292).]

If someone were to copy our so-called ‘success’, I could give them no blue print 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 in order 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)


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 42)


THE MIMEOGRAPH did give me the advantage of being self-sufficient without having to go into debt. Paul failed to see the importance of my having to have this, until I showed him the receipt for it having been paid-in-full, and the bankbook that showed him exactly how much I had earned from having printed a newspaper column on the machine, then selling them to 11 newspapers around the state.

John McPartlin had loaned me his newspaper directory, from which I drew the names and addresses of those weekly papers that had a circulation sufficient to afford a dollar per column, per week. Considering the mimeograph only cost $79.95, I feel I did pretty well, skimping and scraping to get it paid for. Paul was skeptical, however, that it would ever be anything then an expensive hobby. I think I must have tried so very hard to be the best I could be, to prove to him that he was wrong about me.

THE NEWSLETTER BEGAN with the mimeograph in our utility room where I cut the stencils, inked the drum by hand, applied the stencils and ran the copies off, a few hundred at a time, allowing them to air-dry on the dining room table in the next room. The dining room table was a door to which Paul had affixed four table legs. It was seldom clear of our work. I never gave any thought, then either, to the number of hours that we put into producing the newsletter. We simply worked until the work was finished, or we found a good ‘breaking-off’ point.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 43)


To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 and a total of 200 or 300 cards. These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul did not know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved.

It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or a benefit, would have to be my little secret. Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too. I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [areas] in the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores.

From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response. What I had at that time was a little book entitled ‘The Better Cookers Cookbook’ [1973], as opposed to our current popular book, ‘Better Cookery’. [May 1983, 3rd Edition – the one I rewrote for Mom.]

The distribution of information on the book included my mailing a copy of it along with a letter explaining how and why it was written, to several of my favorite newspaper columnists and friends. One with whom I had contact on various subjects before, was Bob Talbert of the Detroit Free Press. He mentioned this little book in one of his columns as ‘for a buck-and-a-half-and-a-belly-laugh’. It worked!



Since today is National Chocolate Candy Day, here is Mom’s imitation for making homemade ‘Mounds’ candy bars, which she called ‘Patter Paul Ounce Bars’; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 223). Enjoy!

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

Learn something new every day!

Some other celebrations for this week include:

Tuesday is National Pepper Pot Day!

Wednesday is Bacon Day! Here’s an encore posting of my Aunt Hazel’s Hot Dog & Bacon BBQ… Enjoy, again!

Thursday is New Year’s Eve & National Champagne Day!

Friday is New Year’s Day 2021 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Saturday is National Buffet Day (Remember those things?) & National Play Outside Day [which is on the first Saturday of every month!]


Today would be my regular monthly visit with Kathy Keene on WHBY’s “Good Neighbor” show – but it had to be postponed to Thursday, the 31st. I will still be on during the first half-hour of the show – starting around 12:08pm (Eastern Time). Check it out live, on New Year’s Eve, (or later) through the station’s website at!


…52 down, a whole new year to go!

Happy 2021 to everyone! May it be a more contented and healthier one for all of us!


Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Plan

Happy Monday to all and #TGIM! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances a year, in which I can share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

It was 47 years ago, this month that Mom put together her first newsletter, which she titled Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter; following the release of her first, self-published, cookbook, titled The Better Cooker’s Cookbook (1973), which was compiled from recipes she developed while writing various, syndicated, food-for-thought and recipe columns.

In honor of December and National Write-A-Business-Plan Month, I want to share with you how Mom just kind of fell into a business plan that she accredits to a higher power, as it wasn’t exactly what she had planned for her future writing career when she was young.



As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 292)


PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR OF SECRET RECIPES and ‘The Recipe Detective’ are the names that my friends in radio and newspapers have given to me, and I enjoy living up to that assignment! I enjoy working with these recipe secrets, but most of all, I enjoy writing about them.

I’ve been writing all my life… Going way-back to when I was in grade school. I was always writing a book, or a poem or a short story. It was a way of life from my earliest memories – a way over which I seem to have no personal control! I had to write… Preferably about what I knew best at the time. Little did I know that what I would come to know best would be cooking!

The one year that I spent at Michigan State (when it was still a college, mind you – you figure that out! Sophia Loren and I are the same age – and while we may have the same measurements, 36-28-36, mine are neck, wrists and ankles, I’m afraid) … Was one year in which I learned 2 important things – I could not pass my Creative Writing course and I was “kicked out” of Home Economics!

My Creative Writing instructor told me that I typed a neat looking paper and probably should be a secretary, for I would never make it as a writer. My Home Economics instructor advised me to spend the rest of my life having my meals delivered, for I was always finding fault with the way so many cookbooks were written.

I took a position with the J Walter Thompson Advertising company in Detroit, working as a secretary to the copywriters. I met my husband, Paul, there when he returned from a 4-year tour of service with the Air Force. We started dating and one year later we were married.

That was 1956. Bill was born over a year later, and then Mike came 20 months after that, and Debbie came along 20 months after that. I lost 3 babies in the next 3 years, but Laura was born in 1964 and Cheryl came 20 months after that. During those years, Paul was working for a sign company in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – where, in the 20 years he spent with them, he did everything from drafting to purchasing agent to account rep!

I kept up with my writing, always working for one of the suburban papers and constantly free-lancing to magazines. When Redbook sent me $500 for my ‘Young Mother’s Story’ submission in February 1963, called ‘We’ll Never Live with In-Laws Again’, I put part of the money into a typewriter, as I had always had to borrow one before that. I wanted a typewriter more than Reagan wanted to be president!

I put a lot of miles on that $39.95 machine – I designed a column for weekly newspapers and mailed out samples to over 300 newspapers. Within a year, I had acquired 60 regular papers for my “No Laughing Matter” column and another column I called ‘Minding the Hearth’.

Columbia Features in New York offered me a contract, and, for a year, I allowed them to syndicate the column in competition with a new humorist, Erma Bombeck! (Right church, wrong pew for me!) When a big city paper carried Erma’s column, Columbia placed mine in their competing paper. I split with Columbia on a 60/40 basis (I took 40) and finally, by mutual agreement, we broke the contract. I was on my own.

Illustrations by Gloria Pitzer


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 293)


When Columbia Features and I parted company, they had acquired only 2 additional papers from me and lost several more. Within 6 months, I had regained all my original papers and was syndicating the column from our dining room table, where we then lived in what my friend, Bob Allison, called ‘beautiful downtown Pearl Beach’ – a town so small that I told people City Hall was over a Dairy Queen, our McDonald’s had only one arch and, if we had a Howard Johnson’s, it would’ve had only 3 flavors!

We had a 9-year old station wagon at that time. It burned oil and barely got Paul to work and back without something breaking down! I rode a bike to and from the Pearl Beach post office every day where I mailed out my columns and then looked for responses to ads I had placed in the Tower Press and Grit magazines for recipes on 4×6-inch cards that enabled you to imitate famous dishes at home.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer


I was a regular participant on Bob Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ radio show that aired 5 days a week for 2 hours in the morning. I used Bob’s program for asking for food information that I needed for my weekly columns. Bob’s audience was very helpful in supplying me with answers. To reciprocate, I would reply to some of the requests made by his audience when they called into Bob’s show.

It was a unique format in that one could not simply call in a recipe or information simply because they wanted to share it with others. The information or the recipe had to, first, be requested by a previous caller. Many of my first ‘Secret Recipes’ were developed because of requests made specifically by Bob’s callers for such dishes as The Colonel’s secret spices, Arthur Treacher’s fish batter, Sander’s hot fudge, Win Schuler’s bar cheese and so on.

At the suggestion of one of Bob’s callers that I should put all my column recipes into a book, I wrote my first edition [1973] called ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’. In less than a month, I had sold 1000 copies. I wasn’t satisfied with the book, so I didn’t reprint it – but, decided that it might work out better if I could do those recipes monthly.

So, in December 1973, I put together my first issue of what came to be my “Secret Recipe Report”, a newsletter that, for 106 consecutive monthly issues, brought me in contact with the many so-called secrets of the commercial food and restaurant industry.

The Better Cooker’s Cookbook – written, illustrated and published by Gloria Pitzer (Happy Newspaper Features, Algonac, MI; 1973)

I probably wouldn’t have done the monthly, except for a falling-out I had with the editor of a small-town paper for which I was writing a food column. I had published some of my first attempts at duplicating famous dishes in that column and the response was beautiful, until I offended one of the papers biggest advertisers with a rendition of their cheesecake… “The kind that nobody doesn’t like.”

The editor told me I would have to go back to standard recipes like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf or chocolate cake – or I could pick up my check. I told him to MAIL it to me. That’s when I decided it was time to launch my own paper. That afternoon, I put out my charter issue, sending samples of it to those whose names and addresses I had on file from having written to me at the paper. That was the beginning of “Secret Recipes”!


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 294)


WHEN I LOOK BACK now, I realize that I was so busy trying to prove that others were wrong about me, I couldn’t see how events were taking place that would sooner or later put me where I had always wanted to be – writing for a worthwhile living, while making living worthwhile! In high school, I pestered the school newspaper sponsor, Mr. Rosen, to let me be on the staff. He had no hope for me at all as a reporter!

I was secretary of the Senior Class, [graduating] January 1954, and Judy Guest was secretary of the [graduating] June 1954 Senior Class. Judy was on the staff of the paper; but, even then, it was well-known that she hoped to write ‘the Great American novel’ –  and that she did, 20 years later, with Academy Award-winning ‘Ordinary People’! Judy’s great-uncle was Edgar A. Guest and Bud Guest, a famous radio commentator, was her uncle. It was only natural that writing would run in her family.

We were friends because we liked each other and were both involved with the same school activities. I was always glad that we continued to keep in touch, if only at Christmas, for nobody appreciated Judy’s eventual success with ‘Ordinary People’ as I probably did, knowing how long she had wanted to accomplish that work.

Somehow, despite my personal objections to the direction in which I appeared to be going, it was just as likely that I would accomplish a properly written cookbook. Even in high school I was put on two-weeks’ probation with the cooking class instructor, for having disregarded the recipe for a pie crust we were assigned to prepare in class. Mine was a recipe that I still use – and have published in this book – for the ‘No Rolling Pin’ crust. Apparently, it’s true, that ‘Life’ is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.


Every successful accomplishment with my writing, after high school and the one year in college, was involved with recipes and cookbooks and restaurants. But I couldn’t see that it was a kind of calling. I saw it only as an interest that temporarily kept me writing and making a worthwhile living at it.

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

WDEE-Radio, in Detroit, gave me a portable radio or a recipe that took first place in a contest they conducted – and in 1962, it was WBRB, in Mt. Clemens, that gave me a check for first place in their recipe contest. Soon after that, Better Homes & Gardens sent me a check for a recipe in a contest they had conducted.

WJBK-Radio gave me a maple stereo and radio set for their most unusual experience while listening to the radio, in 1964, when I wrote them about our ‘Picnicking in the Snow’. Again, the story was food related, including recipes for having a cook-out on the beach at Metropolitan Park in the middle of winter, with the radio going to keep us in the proper mood.

It was all leading to my eventual work in the food industry – but I couldn’t see that at the time I could only see that I had to write and with any luck at all, luck would be when preparation and experience met opportunity. The opportunity was close at hand.


Only two and a half weeks until we ring-in a new year! As I wrote in our Christmas cards last week, I can’t help but reminisce over all of 2020’s trials-and-tribulations compared to those in previous years. The Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions and changes in how we normally lived our lives made 2020 a rough one for all of us.

On the other hand, it gave us cause to re-evaluate what is most important to us. We are all different, so everyone’s “important things” will most likely vary from each other’s; at least, to some degree. We will probably never completely return to those days and those ways. Sometimes, it’s best to just move forward and adapt, as that is how we evolve as a human race.

As 2021 gets closer, I’ve been reflecting on the goals I made earlier this year – the ones at which I succeeded, as well as those at which I failed. It seems to me that it really doesn’t matter when you start a resolution. The important thing is to see it through and commit yourself to its eventual success… The same as you would for a business plan!



December is National Root Vegetables And Exotic Fruits Month! Root vegetables include celery root, onions, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc. They are multi-beneficial to us, providing complex carbs and high-fiber, which aids in weight loss.

Root vegetables and exotic fruits also contain a massive amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. However, while the U.S. produces vast amounts of root vegetables, exotic fruits are a bit harder to come by here, which is why we call them “exotic”. However, you may find them in specialty produce places. These fruits contain large amounts of antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C, iron, and phosphorus.

In honor of National Root Vegetables And Exotic Fruits Month, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for #PotatoDumplings; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Sugar Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 103)

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

Learn something new every day!

Some other celebrations for this week include:

Today is National Bouillabaisse Day

Tuesday is National Cupcake Day

Wednesday is National Chocolate-covered Anything Day

Also on Wednesday, through Christmas Eve, is Las Posadas, which is a 9 day Mexican Christmas tradition based on the story of Mary, Joseph, and their search for a safe place to stay before Jesus was born. This has been a tradition in many Latin countries for more than 400 years.

During Las Posadas, communities come together for nine days and nights to festively decorate their homes and make traditional foods and drinks such as corn tamales and “ponche”, a hot drink that is made of fruits like apples, oranges, lemons, prunes, and guava.

Each day is filled with song and prayer, but the main attraction is the group of people who act out and relive the nativity scene. The celebration begins with a procession at night, where participants carry candles, sing, and act out the nativity… And the kids even get piñatas!

Thursday is National Maple Syrup Day

Friday is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Saturday is National Hard Candy Day & National Oatmeal Muffin Day

Sunday is National Sangria Day



…50 down and only 2 more to go!