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Commissary Highlights Bulletins

27 Mar 2014 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Spring cleaning turned up a fun, long-forgotten item, a bound copy of "Commissary Highlights, 1978-1985." As we are not all contemporaries, you may or may not remember seeing these sheets, published approximately semi-monthly, at the commissary or laying around your mother's kitchen. The forward to this compilation explains it quite well:

"Aramco has provided food for their employees through a Commissary system in one form or another since the Company was founded. The great expansion in the 70's brought a massive increase of personnel who placed great demands on the Commissary system.  To better serve these customers, both old and new, a number of new services  were created within the Commissary system. One of these was the introduction of the Commissary Highlights Bulletin. This book is the complete collection of the Commissary Highlights Bulletins from the first printing in February, 1978." - Marilyn Townsend

Flipping through the pages offers a revealing look at our Aramco oil compound society of that era. In addition to recipes and advice on how to use newly-stocked commissary items, the bulletins also contain information about shortages, holiday gift items, shopper Q&A's, rules and regulations, children's craft ideas, and the occasional admonishment for bad shopping behaviors. The pages make it clear this was an international society, but there are wonderful, "only at Aramco" or "only in Saudi Arabia" bits and pieces sprinkled throughout that are sure to make you smile or at least give a nostalgic nod. Where else would you read an appeal from your local grocery store to bring in your hallalas because they were almost out? Or a recipe for "Camel Fricassee with Lemon?" Or ice chitty instructions?

For grins and giggles, we will begin reproducing these online. You can enjoy them as a trip down memory lane or as an armchair anthropologist, studying the shopping trials and tribulations and the eating habits of the Aramco communities, circa 1978-1985.

Commissary Highlights Bulletin - March 11, 1978 - Aramco hydroponic veggies and Dutch amaryllis.
Commissary Highlights Bulletin - March 20, 1978 - Frozen Kuwaiti and aseptic milk from Holland. Yum?

Enjoy and perhaps even "bon appetit!"


  • 27 Mar 2014 3:16 PM | Anonymous member
    Please find the recipe for "dining hall rice" it was the BEST.
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    • 27 Mar 2014 6:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      I don't know if it's in the Commissary Highlights. I can look.
      Link  •  Reply
    • 27 Mar 2014 6:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      Cynthia, I did find a recipe for "Almond Rice." Perhaps this is it?:

      ALMOND RICE - is one of the most popular items served in Aramco Dining Halls. Many customers have asked for the recipe, so here it is. For your convenience, the recipe has been reduced to 4 portions.

      1 c almonds, shelled, unsalted
      1/4 c butter or shortening
      1 medium onion, chopped
      1 c long grain rice
      2 Tbsp chicken base or 2 bouillon cubes
      1/2 tsp ground cloves
      1/4 tsp white pepper
      1/2 tsp salt
      3/4 c raisins
      2 1/2 c water

      In a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion till tender. Add chicken base, salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and rice. On low medium heat, brown the rice lightly, stirring to prevent sticking, about 10-15 minutes. Add raisins and water. Cover tightly. Cook on medium heat approximately 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Sprinkle almonds over the top. Serve hot. Recipe compiled by Hind Leithead.
      Link  •  Reply
      • 07 May 2014 7:29 PM | Anonymous member
        I think this is it. I remember tweaking it with cardamom , cinnamon sticks and sautéed pinenuts. Delish!! Thank you so much!
        Link  •  Reply
  • 15 Apr 2014 1:10 AM | Anonymous member
    I can remember that we couldn't get dried cat food at the Aramco Commisaries in the 60's - early 70's. My mother used to buy a year's worth and send it home in the "long leave" shipment. We stored this huge supply in the same cabinet as our sleeping bags. To this day whenever I see a sleeping bag I expect it to smell like Friskies.
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