Nebraska: The New Japan
It's long been known that Japan has the market cornered on bizarre vending machines. From machines dispensing beer and sake to bowls of hot ramen and farm-fresh eggs, the Japanese are a people who love a good automated food product.
In a patriotic move to bring that fame and glory to America, Nebraska has installed their own weird vending machines throughout the state. Travelers to Lincoln (and whatever other cities are in Nebraska...I'm not really sure) can now purchase items like Hot Beef Sundaes and Pizza on a Stick from conveniently-located vending machines. These products are sure to help ease the burden of the stressful, time-crunched Nebraskan lifestyle of hectic farming and corn-husking.
The Hot Beef Sundae is -- frighteningly enough -- not a new concept. The Midwest, in what I assume is a bid to create a signature dish from their regional foodstuffs, created the Hot Beef Sundae from their primary agricultural products: Cheese and beef, with a few potatoes thrown in for good measure. It's currently on its way to securing fried Mars bar status by being served at the Iowa State Fair.
For a more accurate -- and dare we say tantalizing? -- description of a Hot Beef Sundae, let's turn to the vending machine itself.
According to the machine -- and machines never lie -- the Hot Beef Sundae is comprised of the following (please note that excess capitalization has been removed for your viewing pleasure):
Golden mashed potatoes covered with a generous portion of our roasted and seasoned-to-perfection top round beef. Then aged cheddar cheese, more golden mashed potatoes smothered with our special beef gravy, more aged cheddar cheese, a slice of buttered toast, and a cherry tomato on top.
Frankly, I think they need more cheese in that ratio. The machine goes on to make this highly unlikely promise:
A delightfully satisfying meal that you will crave time after time, year after year.
I only say "highly unlikely" because -- let's face it -- if you're eating this "delightfully satisfying meal" "time after time," you most definitely aren't going to see "year after year" after that massive coronary sends you to Hot Beef Heaven.
Pizza on a Stick is less terrifying, but only slightly so.
With these disturbing new vending machine trends, it appears that Japan is going to have to up the ante if they want to remain strong contenders on an international level. Between machines that dispense used underwear, lingerie and porn, they're well on their way.
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