Yellowed and grease-stained, the collection of OPPD holiday cookbooks at an Omaha estate sale were well-used.
The colorful covers of the cookbooks reflected past times. Among the recipes in a Holiday Recipes 1978 issue: three-vegetable casserole, cheese potatoes, prize-winning broccoli casserole, frozen lime mint salad and lazy sugar cookies.
In 1959, OPPD’s Home Service Department produced the first holiday recipe cookbook. It quickly became a collector’s item.
Due to its popularity, the department produced a cookbook each year until 1980. From 1986 through 1989, OPPD’s Consumer Education Department produced the holiday cookbook, with a final commemorative cookbook issued in 1991, titled “Holiday Recipes through the Years.” The staff compiled favorites from past cookbooks, indicating the year it was featured.
The Home Service staff, followed by the Consumer Education group, served as wonderful resources in their day, not only providing recipes, but also helping people learn how to use electric appliances that were coming to the marketplace.
“We always kept up with the times, or were ahead of them,” said former Home Service advisor Bette Montage in a 1996 history account in Flash, OPPD’s employee magazine.
For example, when the microwave oven first debuted, the Home Service Department was the first in town to develop microwave-converted recipes and to offer microwave use tips.
The department fielded thousands of cooking and other home-related questions over the years, and their holiday cookbooks had a long, long shelf life.