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One of the joys of the holiday season is convening with family and friends to catch up, often over a plate of cookies, or a spicy winter drink, or maybe a nice helping of roast beast.
Here at Pfizer, we’re something of a family ourselves. Not only do we bond and bicker like siblings, we celebrate, commiserate, and collaborate like close relatives often do.
We even trade – and pass down – our favorite recipes. At least, we used to.
Back in the day, Pfizer employees collaborated on a series of yearly cookbooks, in which employees from across the company, all over the country (and the world), shared some of their favorite holiday dishes.
The Pfizer Family Cookbook – “Some of the good cooks in the Pfizer Family share gourmet secrets, to help you have a festive holiday” – originated as a small pamphlet insert in our now retired employee newsletter, SCENE.
The first edition was printed in the December 1978 issue and was a robust 8 pages. The Cookbook thrived for the next 5 years, with the 1982 entry having doubled in size to 16 pages, thanks to recipes submitted by proud colleagues.
Eventually, in 1983, all those recipes were compiled in one collection, The Treasury of Pfizer Family Recipes, which contained roughly 100 different blueprints for holiday dishes, decadent desserts, and even some slightly-debaucherous drinks (to be enjoyed at home, of course!)
We recently unearthed a few of these relics from the Pfizer archives, and as a bit of a holiday treat, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite recipes.
First up, from the inaugural edition of the Pfizer Family Cookbook in 1978 is a decidedly Christmassy treat: Roasted Chestnuts!
We start simple, as Horace and Claire Coco of Cambridge, Massachusetts suggest slitting your pound of chestnuts down the center and then roasting them in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Look, it was our first year.
1979’s edition gets the party started with two different egg nogs, a receipt for the Swedish drink Glogg, and a Daiquiri… salad? Complete with rum!
1980 kicks off the gluttonous “Me Decade” with a cavalcade of dessert options, including the so-called “Sauerkraut Surprise Cake,” the surprise of which is that it (allegedly) doesn’t taste like sauerkraut at all! I think I’ll take cook Adeline Usuriello’s word for it.
It took a few years, but we finally found a recipe for an actual entrée! The 1981 cookbook offers up the holiday staple “Cheeseburger Pie” (I’m sure it’s a holiday staple somewhere), and a dish designed to feed up to ten people for under $10, “Chicken and Dumplings Stew.” Please be advised: that’s ten 1981 dollars.
Finally, the 1982 edition mixed things up by devoting a section to Pfizer’s Sandwich, England-based workforce, complete with scones, something called “Kentish Huffkins” and “Kent Vinegar Cake.” Look for them if you’re even in Kent!
If you enjoyed these recipes, stay tuned to our social media channels throughout the season for more eats from the past!