America is the undisputed king of convenience food. From frozen mac 'n' cheese and microwave burgers to all-hours Chinese delivery and drive-thru liquor stores, it ingests calories while minimising both effort and discomfort like no one else.
And just when we thought Americans couldn't make eating any easier, a university in Cincinnati has unveiled the country's first pizza ATM.
As reported by Cincinnati.com, Xavier University announced the instalment of a hot pizza-dispensing vending machine in one of its residence halls this week.
Jude Kiah, the college's assistant vice president, explained the thinking behind the new pizza-dispenser to the news site: "We were looking for a way to solve this problem of having a late-night pizza option on campus. And this meets our students where they're at, in their residence hall."
Tuition fees? University league tables? Nope, this college prez is concerned about how students get their 2 AM munchies fix.
The pizza ATM is the first of its kind in America, and is stocked with pies made by Xavier University's catering staff. Hungry students need simply select toppings from a choice including pepperoni, cheese, and veggie. The machine then takes the pizza from a refrigerated compartment and moves it to a convection oven. It cooks for around three minutes and is dropped into a box, which is then delivered through a slot to the awaiting pizza fan.
A 12-inch pizza from the ATM costs $9 but that combo of convenience and pure novelty value really is priceless experience.
Of course, in Europe, selling fresh food—including pizza—via vending machines is nothing new. Italy has had pie-dispensing ATMs since 2009 and in France, automat machines are being used by struggling farmers to get fresh fruit and vegetables to new customers.
To ensure their pizza ATM was up to European standards, Xavier College took advice straight from the automated food dispenser-loving French. Dining service employees completed 40 hours of training with a chef specially brought over from France. He taught them how to nail both pizza-making methods and vending machine operations. The college now says that pies out of the ATM will be almost the same as the ones served from "artisan" pizza ovens in their dining halls.
Xavier College hopes the pizza vending machine will be ready for students to use in late August.
Going back to uni to get that Masters in creative writing never sounded better ...