Yesteryear's home food delivery

Having a hot meal arrive on your doorstep seems like a modern phenomenon, but food delivery actually has a long history. Way before Uber Eats, here are three ye olde solutions for when you couldn't be bothered cooking.

Cold noodles in Korea, 1768


It sounds like a dish you end up with after your delivery driver has been stuck in traffic for an hour, but cold noodles (called 'naengmyeon') are a Korean speciality. They were also the first recorded delivered meal, with records going back to 1768.

While not much is known about the recipient or delivery service of this transaction, food delivery is still thriving in Korea. Considered to be highly efficient as well as convenient, many delivery services there will also collect your bowls afterwards so no washing up is required and waste is reduced.

Pizza delivery in Naples, 1889


While Dominos has been delivering pizza since the 1960s, they weren't the first to transport this delicious savoury dish from the oven to the consumer. The first pizza delivery took place in Italy in 1889 to two very high-profiled customers.

King Umberto and Queen Margherita were visiting Naples but didn't want to go out. Instead they requested that Raffaele Esposito from Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi bring their dinner to them. What Esposito served up was what we now recognise as Queen Margherita's namesake - a tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza (the garlic was omitted to save the royals from bad breath). This combination was chosen to reflect the colours of the Italian flag.

Whether it was the patriotism or the warm fuzzy feelings one can get from a carb feast, the royals were mighty impressed. This led to pizza's increase in popularity; the demand was initially thought to be a fad but it remains true to this day.

Dabbawalas in Mumbai, 1890


In India there are 'dabbawalas', roughly translated to 'one who carries a box'. This long-lasting lunchbox delivery service started in the 19th century thanks to the ingenuity of a man named Mahadeo Havaji Bachche.

He noticed that many of Mumbai's (then Bombay) city workers lacked food options come lunch time, with the nourishing meals their families made at home unable to get to them. He organised a system of collecting workers' lunches from their homes and having them bicycled directly to them.

Highly organised, dabbawalas rely on a system of codes - abbreviations and number and colour codes for collection points, starting and destination stations. This initiative was so successful that it still continues in India today. Punctuality and high attention to detail remain a source of pride for dabbawalas, so you'll never have to worry about your rice getting cold or roti being left behind.

Main image: Robert Anasch

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