The ultimate in do-it-yourself convenience food recipe books is taking the city of Pearl Beach, Mich., by storm. And each time residents of other cities hear about "The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book" they pester the local book stores for copies, copies which the stores cannot supply because the book is sold only by mail. At least so far.
Gloria Spitzer has filled a 42-page paperbound book with recipes she says are copies of those sold in fast food restaurants and found on the shelves of supermarkets. Everything from Arthur Treacher's Fish to Nabisco's Oreo cookies.
At least one company whose recipe she claims to have duplicated says she is dead wrong. A spokesman for Kentucky Fried Chicken said: "It is not Kentucky Fried Chicken and incidentally, she's nowhere near it. As the Colonel would say, she missed by a mile."
The best test, of course, is to purchase some of the chicken from the restaurant and compare it with a homemade batch.Possibly it doesn't taste the same: It could be better - or worse.
In the introduction to her book Pitzer writes: ". . . when you are trying to imitate the recipe secrets of famous restaurant and fast food chain dishes you must work like a chemist, not a cook!
"Famous dishes," she says, "aren't really all that difficult to duplicate."
But she warns the would-be experimenter: "Restaurants do not always cook from scratch so don't be disappointed when you find that a 'duplicated' recipe employs the use of prepared mixes, because that is the way most of today's food service businesses do it."
Kentucky Fried Chicken is not very happy with her efforts.According to Ray Callander, the company has "been after Gloria Spitzer for years. Awhile ago they put her on notice and also the newspapers which ran the story with the recipe for the chicken," because Pitzer was using the same name used by the company. Today she has altered the names so the chicken is now called Kernel's Chicken. Arthur Treacher's Fish is Archer Teacher; Orange Julius is Orange Judas; Oreos are Glorea Sandwich Cookies.
Pitzer comments on the made-up names in her book: "It's funny . . . if you mention the brand name of a product in the list of ingredients of a recipe, the company considers it 'free advertising.' But if you put their name at the top of the recipe, it's violation of a trademark."
For those who have always wanted to cook just like a fast-food restaurant, or want to make their own junk food, $5 will buy the book. Write to Gloria Pitzer, P.O. Box 276, Pearl Beach, Mich. 48052.
Here are a few of Pitzer's creations which have been adapted.
KERNEL's CHICKEN (Serves 6) 3 pounds fryer parts, cut up (breast portions cut in half) 2 packages Italian Salad Dressing Mix 3 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons salt 1/4 cup lemon juice or white vinegar 2 tablespoons margarine melted or oil 1 1/2 pints oil for deep frying 1 cup milk, club soda or beer 1 1/2 to 2 cups pancake mix flour 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon powdered sage 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Make paste of dressing mix, flour, salt, lemon juice, margarine. Coat all chicken pieces either by brushing it on or by dipping pieces in mixture. Cover chicken to marinate it at least 2 hours but longer for a stronger flavor. One hour before serving heat oil to 425 degrees in a 9-inch heavy pan to the depth of 3 inches or until a 1-inch cube of bread browns in a minute. Dip pieces of chicken, one at a time, in milk just enough to wet them and then into pancake mix which has been combined with paprika, sage and pepper. Allow chicken to dry 4 to 5 minutes. Fry in hot fat without turning about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove with tip of sharp knife, spearing each piece carefully and place on shallow pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 to 30 minutes. Do not let pieces touch each other while baking. PEPPERICH FARM GINGERSNAPS (Makes about 3 1/2 dozen) 2 cups sifted flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup soft shortening 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup light molasses 1 egg, unbeaten Cinnamon and sugar 21 blanched almonds, split
Sift flour with baking soda. Mix shortening, salt, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, molasses and egg until well blended; stir in flour mixture. Drop level tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets; stamp lightly with flat-bottomed glass, covering with a damp cloth. Sprinkle cookies with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar; then press almond half in center of each. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes.