A coworker recently related to me that when her mother wanted to learn to cook, she went to her local gas company to learn how. I didn't realize until I stumbled across all of the cookbooks, recipes, and cooking demonstration pamphlets from Minnegasco/Minneapolis Gas Company in the Kirschner Collection, that gas companies used to do this. With a little digging, I found that the companies used to sell gas appliances (stoves, refrigerators, etc.) as well as provide the utility and had whole "home service departments" dedicated to encouraging these sales. In addition to recipes, these cookbooks are a really neat piece of local history. Recipes of the Month: famous foods from famous places in the Minneapolis area (1953), for instance, gives a snapshot of popular restaurants and dishes in the 1950s Twin Cities. What a find!
From the recipe cards tucked in the back of Minnegasco's Cooky Book (195-?)
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 sq. baking chocolate, melted
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Stir in melted and slightly cooled chocolate. Sift together flour and salt and add, beating well. Chill dough slightly before rolling out on pastry cloth to 1/8" thickness. Cut out with the Minnegasco cutter and place on ungreased cooky sheets. Bake in a Gas oven at 400° for about 7-8 min. Do not brown. Allow cookies to remain on sheet for a moment before removing to cake cooling rack.
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 dozen Minnegasco cookies or 4-5 dozen round wafers.