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in New York City
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To understand the important role that food plays in the history of New York, you need to know the name Amelia Simmons. What's known about her can be summed up on the cover page of her 1796 cookbook American Cookery. She calls herself an “American orphan”. Lack of education and opportunity likely meant that she was a domestic worker somewhere near the Hudson Valley. But in that work, she learned a lot. Enough to write and publish this country's very first cookbook, a book that The Library of Congress has designated one of the 88 “Books That Shaped America.”Amelia's is just one story woven into a colorful fabric of flavors. She was reimagining British foods to create uniquely New England flavors. Much the way new arrivals from Southern Italy were adapting the recipes of their homeland to the ingredients that were available in their New York neighborhoods (spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmesan, fettucini alfredo). And the way Irish arrivals were transforming dishes like traditional bacon and cabbage into corned beef and cabbage and soda bread with “emigrants' bread”. In modern times, the same process is taking place with the arrival of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, Jamaica, and India, among others.Like everywhere else in America, this food comes from somewhere else. It's inspired by nostalgia for places and cultures from afar. New Yorkers turn something traditional into something original in their attempts to recreate the flavors of where they came from. This vibrant, multicultural city is the great buffet of the world, offering up a taste of culinary heritage from every nook and cranny of the globe. From Shef Latoya's Jamaican Jerk Chicken to Shef Becky's Truffle Edamame dumplings – this is the taste of New York.