December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Electric Company

I came across this recipe booklet from the local utility company, which continues the theme of those little gifts of appreciation to consumers from retailers.

Treasury of Christmas Ideas (Houston Lighting & Power Company, not dated, 32 pp.) was probably sent out through the mail to Houston area electric customers sometime during the 1960s. As I was only in elementary school at the time, I probably didn't appreciate the gesture nearly so much then as I would now as an adult. As a consumer held hostage to one of the most expensive electric retailers in the country, I'd be grateful to receive anything from their successor other than this:

Since I doubt Reliant Energy will be reinstating this little gift-giving tradition anytime soon, probably the best gift I can hope for is is a delay in the installation of the Smart Meter.

The booklet is divided into several sections: Holiday Recipes, Decorating Ideas, Fun Things to Make and Gift Guides. The illustrations leave a lot to be desired, being primarily made up of some unappetizing blue, green or pink-tinted pictures of food.

The recipes are from various name brand food manufacturers such as Quaker Oats, the National Dairy Council, Betty Crocker and Pet Milk.

This beverage recipe for Sleigh Rides sounds pretty good:

(from the Pan American Coffee Bureau)

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 cups strong hot coffee
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Red sugar

Melt chocolate over hot water; add hot coffee, sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Add hot coffee mixture to 1-1/2 cups heavy cream in a bowl; beat until very foamy with electric mixer. Pour into mugs; top each with spoonful of remaining cream which has been whipped. Sprinkle the red sugar; add candy cane to each mug as a flavorful stirrer.

Serves 6 to 8

Here are the instructions, courtesy of Best Foods, for making a Popcorn Snowman:

Under the topic of Decorative Ideas comes "seasonal displays that brighten the outdoor scene".

We've come a long way from the effects of miniature lights, adjustable spotlights, floodlights and low voltage shockproof outdoor lighting kits that this booklet is talking about compared to outdoor displays like this:

You know the electric company loves these people. Maybe they still get a recipe booklet in the mail with their bill.

Under the "Spotlight on Santa" section, there's not one mention of an inflatable Santa or Rudolph.

There are some fun old Christmas crafts such as a Chistmas Angel made with aluminum foil and a wooden snowman cutout for the lawn.

Most interesting is the Electric Gift Guide which lists "one hundred ways to make the right choice." It's an extensive list of all of the popular electrical appliances available at that time. Today, laptops, iPads and eReaders have replaced electric razors and radios as the most sought after gifts, but you still need electricity to charge those batteries.

The rear cover shows Reddy Kilowatt all decked out in his holiday finery.


At 8:43 PM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Those Sleigh Ride drinks sounds a bit like the Peppermint Mochas that now cost a fortune at Starbucks! Next time I get the craving, I'll follow this recipe. Merry Christmas, Kathy! Hope 2011 is great!

At 6:11 PM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

Unfortunately for me, I'm off of caffeine, so now I can only dream of those Peppermint Mochas. Be sure and drink some for me!


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