Urban life and home delivery

In Restaurant, Vancouver and Region by Lenore NewmanLeave a Comment

Sand and Feathers has been on a short, and not entirely voluntary, holiday hiatus. I have been sick with a hellishly bad flu that has kept me indoors and in general dampened my ability to enjoy holiday cheer. It is an unusual thing for me to spend any amount of time eating nothing much at all; it is even more unusual for me to spend a long period of time at home. And as these things usually happen, my appetite returned before my will to leave the nest. I thus indulged in one of my favourite features of urban living: home delivery.

I still remember the first time I had home delivery. I had just moved to the city from the Sunshine Coast, and was deep in the culture shock that accompanied the move to a place with traffic lights, public transportation, reliable electricity, and all of the other wondrous things that accompanied city living. I had finished a long day of wandering about UBC being generally lost and confused, and wanted a quick meal that I didn’t have to cook myself. I still remember sitting in my basement suite, sure that the whole idea was ridiculous; why would the nice folks at the Varsity Grill walk all the way to my house just to give me food? Thirty minutes later, as I savoured my greasy egg rolls and day-glo sweet and sour pork; I marveled at just how lovely city life could be.

Delivery is an obvious idea, but is surprisingly modern. Pizza delivery seems to have emerged in New York City after World War Two, catering to returning soldiers newly established in a growing middle class. Oddly the pizza box wasn’t invented until ten to fifteen years later; at first pizza was delivered on a cardboard disk in a tent of brown paper. Chinese delivery dates to earlier in the twentieth century, perhaps as early as the 1920’s in New York. I can’t quite believe it, but it seems that before the twentieth century pre-cooked meals simply didn’t come to the door. I suppose the telephone is rather a critical piece of technology to the whole delivery concept.

Though I love the idea of delivery, I love restaurants more and so I tend to only order food in when I am under the weather. The Varsity Grill might be long gone, but I still feel that little thrill when I hear the knock on the door


  1. Mitch W.

    Hope you feel better. A belated Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to you. I love that New York style pizza, being a Brooklyn boy from Sheepshead Bay myself !

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