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Food Delivery - The Early Years

….Our Version

The Best of Chicago is the latest and most successful attempt to use state-of-the-art technology to satisfy the palates of millions who appreciate the quality flavor only Chicago-style products can provide.

The perfection of this service, however, has not been without a long history of failures and triumphs by courageous men and women, both in the Chicago Area and throughout the world, pushing the frontiers of Food Service. Although no web site can tell the complete story, these pages will attempt to show a glimpse of some of the outstanding moments in The History of Food Delivery.

historytextpict1.gifThis cave painting (circa 10,000 B.C.), entitled Delivery Warrior with Bison, was discovered in the early 1940’s, and is widely accepted to be the first record of Man’s attempt at take-out service. It was discovered in a cave near an area known then as "Evanston" (now known as "Evanston"), where bison roamed freely.

Because of early man’s inability to store and preserve food, it was thought best to deliver the products live. (Since then, The Best of Chicago has improved this method with our next-day delivery service, where all our products are shipped frozen and non-lethal.)

Since early mammals did not appreciate being served as take-out, many early warriors perished in the line of duty. Also, Prehistoric Man’s sense of direction was not as developed as today’s; many warriors new to the Evanston area often forgot which way the lake was, walked in the wrong direction, and drowned.historytextpict2.gif

By the Aegean Period (circa 1220 B.C.), a delicacy was popular in the MediterraneanArea that served as the forerunner to pizza; a breaded wheat pastry topped with exotic herbs and vegetables, often exchanged for a herd of sheep. (An additional layer of cheese was available for one extra sheep.) An historical footnote: Before the Thick-Crust and Deep Dish Styles were perfected in Chicago, pizza passed through Ancient Rome and Early New York, where inferior, thin-crust versions were often endured.

Because of the enormous distances, delivery often took years. Ancient texts tell stories of kings and noblemen who relished these treats, then longed for them when they moved out of town. One such Aegean ruler, Pharum I, waited five seasons for such a delivery; in the event of his death, he passed the delivery on to his son, Pharum II, and gave him the right to sign for the delivery when it arrived. Sadly, Pharum I forgot to pass on his line of credit; upon delivery, his son’s credit was denied, and the food was returned.

history2pict2.gifBy the Age of the Renaissance, Modern Science revolutionized the techniques of Food Service. Leading this effort, naturally, was Leonardo Da Vinci, who resented leaving his studio for lunch. "Why can’t we order something in?" He was often heard to complain. "And why can’t I get a hot dog the way I want it? This is the Renaissance, for crying out loud!"

This early sketch details his research in examining the sensory organs of the brain as they relate to taste. "The back of the tongue," he writes, "seems most receptive to peppers and onions, while the forward part of the tongue, needs to be relieved frequently during the meal by water or some flavored beverage."

As cities grew larger, Da Vinci experimented with early technology to deliver food to nearby areas. This sketch (above center) depicts an early "frankfurter delivery device" designed for neighborhood service; The sketch at right depicts a "to-go manned flyer" for longer distances. (This process was later perfected by FedEx.)


Pioneers during the days of Early Aviation combined the cooking grill and the engine to form the hot air balloon. Plans were made to receive the orders from local noblemen, prepare it en route, then serve it hot upon arrival. In a tragic mishap, Louis XIV placed an order for Versailles from Paris yet forgot to account for a throng of Marie Antoinette’s friends who showed up unexpectedly. The balloon ran out of hot air, and many noblemen went hungry. Marie was heard to exclaim, "Let them eat cake!" which triggered the French Revolution of 1789. Food Delivery Service suffered for decades afterwards.

As America moved west, the Chicago-style food moved west with the migration. An early entrepreneur known as "The Fluky Kid" made some of the earliest contacts with Native Americans, providing a tasty treat of buffalo meat and Mexican Spices.

history2pict5.gifThis map shows an early Pony Express route where Chicago-style products were shipped to San Francisco, then carried by horse throughout the Sierra Mountain Range. The legendary Sioux warrior, Mannahewattah (whose name means "He Who Hates Onions"), led the great tribal wars against the White Man for control of good hunting grounds and all supplies of yellow mustard in the Northwest Territory. In later years, this struggle for the West ended and these westerners turned out to be the pioneers of yet another product other than gold - technology. And this is where our story ends.