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March 2005

This chapter is from the book

The Hotplate Gourmet: Hey, It’s Food!...Sort Of

There are plenty of times when a vending machine might be your only choice for dinner. Maybe you’re a college student stuck in your room on an all-nighter who gets the urge to eat after the takeout places are closed. Maybe you’re a microserf chained to your cubicle on a big project. Or maybe you’re just into the final rounds in your LAN party tournament and you can’t get away to grab a bite. Regardless, there are plenty of times when you’re going to be feeding money into a machine to feed yourself.

But why suffer? Why make do with a soda and a bag of pretzels when you could use a little creativity and actually create some (marginally) real food with just what’s in the vending machine and a microwave—two features of any modern office, dorm lobby, or library (heck, you can make ‘em for home LAN parties, too). All you need to eat well are these recipes and a few bucks in loose change. Bon appétit!

Mega Snack Mix 3000 Plus!

  • 1 bag Cheetos
  • 1 bag mini-pretzels
  • 1 bag salted peanuts (without the shell)
  • 1 bag Ritz Bitz
  • 1 bag M&Ms (peanut or plain)

Directions: Pour into a bowl or bag. Mix well. Eat.

Microwave S’mores

  • 1 package Moon Pies
  • 1 Hershey bar
  • 1 package large cookies or graham crackers

Directions: Cut the Moon Pie in half (through the marshmallow center), sandwich the Hershey bar between the two halves, mush together, and microwave until you see the marshmallow puff up.

Old-Fashion Southern Pick-Me-Up

  • 1 bag peanuts (salted, without shells)
  • 1 can soda (preferably RC or Pepsi)

Directions: Pour peanuts in soda and drink the whole thing down, being sure to shake the can to get the peanuts to come along with the soda. Yeee-hawww!

No-Bake Chocolate Vending Machine Cookie Clusters

  • 1 Hershey bar
  • 1 package Reese Cups
  • 1 bag mini-pretzel sticks
  • 1 bag M&Ms (optional)

Directions: Break pretzel sticks in half. Put the chocolate and peanut butter cups in a coffee mug and microwave until melted. After everything’s melted, dump in your pretzel pieces and mix with a spoon. Drop spoonfuls on a plate and put in the fridge until firm.

Emergency Nachos

  • 1 package Doritos
  • 4 packages cheese and crackers

Directions: Pile Doritos on a microwavable plate. Dig cheese out of package and place in blobs all over chip pile. Microwave until the cheese melts. If you like it spicy, try finding a leftover packet of hot sauce from Taco Bell.

Fancy Cheese Ball

  • 4 packages cheese and crackers
  • 1 bag nuts (pistachios work well)

Directions: Using the little red spreader that comes with the cheese and crackers, scoop the cheese out and form into a ball. Crush the nuts and roll the cheese ball in the nuts. Fancy!

According to the writing of Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night and The West Wing) more people are killed by vending machines each year than by wolves.

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