Today we’ll be taking a look at the 1987-88 Randall’s Food Almanac. What is a Food Almanac, you might ask? Well, it’s a year round collection of recipes, paired with coupons and vintage advertisements. Using a Food Almanac as advertising was not unique to Randall’s, but its debut was tied to a much bigger event, The 1987 Randall’s Food Fest. This was the third year of the newest celebration Randall’s had to offer. From samples of in store products, to chef created dinners, the Food Fest not only provided a gourmet experience, but for most Houstonians their first glimpse into the George R. Brown Convention center. Built in the early 80s the GRB had only been open to private events since completion, in the two years before the 1987 Food-fest Randall’s had used the Astrohall. The booking of the GRB was a symbolic victory for Randall’s who would quickly take a dominant step forward in Houston’s grocery scene in the early 90s. At only around 40 locations by 1987 Randall’s was not the largest competitor in the Houston area, but they were popular, and growing. They were seen as somewhat of a “hip” grocery store, granted it was hip for Yuppies, but that lifestyle tends to pair with money.
The recipes in the cookbook are wildly varying, from a Middle Eastern feast of Tabbouleh, Kefta, and Labneh to an Easter Ham, whipped potatoes, and Yeast Rolls. I have opted to not include any of the recipes as they don’t see to be anything special and may have been the direct creation of one person. Today instead, we’ll be focusing on some of the incredible ads tucked away for the past 35 years. If you’re interested in learning more about the 1987 Randall’s Food Fest here is a Schedule of Events, and a Description of the Company written by themselves.
Well, I hope you all have enjoyed today’s look through some old literature. I tried to find any video or photographic evidence of the Randall’s Food Fest, and while I’m sure somebody somewhere has it, I couldn’t scrape up anything else for this post. So, I invite my readers, if you attended the Food Fest, what was it like? Were the descriptions in the paper accurate or overblown? I think we’re all curious to know!