Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baguette Vending Machines

{Machine in use}
     I can't believe I forgot all about this. Over the summer a friend of mine (thanks Nicole) forwarded me an article about a French baker who built a baguette vending machine. Apparently, Jean-Louis Hecht was tired of customers knocking on his door asking for fresh baguettes after his bakery downstairs had closed. So he came up with an answer, a baguette vending machine. It would work like this: the machine would be filled with pre-(almost) cooked baguettes, the customer would indicate how many they wanted, the machine would finish cooking the baguette in 15-20 seconds, the baguette would drop to the bottom bin, and the customer would walk away, warm baguette in hand and a smile to boot. Seems like a great idea, huh?  Check out this YouTube video of the baker himself and some satisfied customers.

What I find funny about every article or blog about this product is that is always says something about being able to have a baguette at 'all hours' and it being good for the 'night-owl' etc.. And while that may be true ( I admit there has been a few times I have woken up in the middle of the night and all I wanted was a baguette, I mean, who doesn't..) what many don't realize is that boulangeries (or at least the good ones near our house) most always run out of traditional baguettes around 7pm, leaving the wheat, sesame, whole grain and others for the stragglers that wait all the way until 7 pm to get their baguettes for dinner in a country that eats dinner on average at 8:30. Having said all that, I still think it is a great idea. It gives people another option than going to the local grocery store ( if still open) to pick up a shrink wrapped baguette made 12 hours earlier that is in the early stages of its baseball bat transformation. Since it's opening in August, it seems to have some success and I am sure as with anything, there are the haters. I don't know, however, if it has been as successful as Hecht himself thought considering he seemed to think very highly of the idea saying "This is the bakery of tomorrow. If other bakers don't want to enter the niche, they're going to get decimated." Wow, decimated is a strong word when we are talking about bread folks. Every time I drive by our favorite boulangerie, I check to make sure there has been no decimation going on, and thankfully, we're all good.
  I would love to do a taste test myself but seeing that these machines are only in Paris and up in the North, that would be a long way to travel for a baguette. So while I think this is a great idea, I am thinking an even better one would be to put these bad boys in the US. Our biggest gripe is that we can never find a good baguette in Atlanta, and I mean never. We search and search but always fall short. And us Americans love our vending machines. (Check out some of the most unusual ones I found on the internet below). So it would be a double whammy. I know I am not alone in this thinking, I know of at least 3or 4 other people in Atlanta in search of a good traditional French baguette, that's enough demand right?? We promise to eat a lot of them...

{Skin care}

{Hot pizza}

{Ipod vending machine}

{Wine and Champagen vending machine in Harrisburg Pa}

{Ice cream}

{Hot fresh grilled Hot Dogs...from a vending machine}

{Berdoll Pecan Pies sold in Cedar Creek, TX}

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