Baguette ATM Hits Paris Streets

A new vending machine just hit the streets of Paris dispensing freshly baked baguettes.

The baguette ATM is stocked with loaves that have been partially cooked. With a drop of some francs and a push of a button, the machine cooks the baguette the rest of the way and deposits it in the tray. It’s a fresh-baked traditional French baguette that requires no direct interaction with a baker.

This is a controversial approach, considering how deeply the French fetishize their artisinal food products. But it solves the very real problem that many bakers have when they live upstairs from their bakeries and customers knock on their door after-hours to try to get a baguette. In addition, many businesses, as well as bakeries, take the entire month of August off, making fresh baguettes even harder to find.

But how does it taste? The AP says it was a hit around the newsroom, with comments ranging from It’s good!” to “I never would’ve guessed it came from a dispenser” to “the crust’s a bit soft.”

A baker’s union member also told the AP he had his doubts. “For me, it’s not homemade bread. It’s not kneaded and baked at the point of sale – by definition, it’s from a machine… I’m not convinced that good taste can be maintained over time. Maybe for 15 minutes – but not for several hours.”

The inventor says it’s just time to evolve with the modern era. “It’s like with banks: before, everyone went to a teller; now, everybody uses ATMs,” he told the AP. “It will be the same with bread: Today, everybody goes to the bakery. Tomorrow they’ll go to the baguette dispenser.”

What quintessentially American product do you think should start being available in vending machines?

Et voila! French baguettes from a vending machine [AP]