What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago today?
“He will also bake every day … any thing for dinner that may be sent to him.”
Joseph Williams promoted the bread and biscuits he baked “at his house opposite to the Dutch church,” a landmark so familiar that no other directions were necessary in Savannah in 1766. In addition to the bread and other baked goods he made each day, Williams announced that he provided an additional service: “He will also bake every day between 11 and 1 o’clock any thing for dinner that may be sent to him.” What exactly did Williams mean “any thing for dinner that may be sent to him”? Did he anticipate that patrons would send him orders that he would fulfill? Or did he envision that customers would drop off items that they had prepared but wished for him to bake in his ovens? Whatever the answer, Williams peddled more than bread and biscuits. He sold convenience to readers in Savannah, aiding them in preparing that day’s dinner, and provided a service that would have been attractive to a variety of customers, from single laborers to wives burdened with a myriad other domestic chores. Williams offered an eighteenth-century version of take-out food. In so doing, he commodified convenience.