Auto Kitchen

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In several science-fiction works, the job of food service is relegated to automated slots in the wall. They may be Matter Replicators or simply a dispenser of stored food like a vending machine.

Usually comes in one of two varieties: "any food imaginable" or "Soylent Soy only".

Examples of Auto Kitchen include:

Comic Books

Film

  • In the short film Design for Dreaming (basically an extended advertisement for Frigdidaire's "Kitchen of the Future" and General Motors' Motorama), the female model demonstrates the features of the Kitchen of the Future by telling it to automatically mix and bake a birthday cake. Amusingly, the cake already has candles in it when the woman removes it from the oven.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey. When the astronauts want to eat, they go to a wall unit and press buttons. Within a few seconds, trays of food are heated and appear behind sliding glass doors. Watch it here.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Caracitus Potts has a Rube Goldberg Device breakfast-making machine as one of his many household inventions.

Literature

  • Larry Niven's Known Space series had "autokitchens" that usually dispensed layered bricks of "food".
  • Sir Kofa Yokh from Labyrinths of Echo has a portable miniature kitchen, which looks like a small chest and is run by miniature cook figurines. The food they prepare is perfectly edible (and delicious) thanks to powerful magic.
  • Andre Norton's No Night Without Stars: Sander lives in a Post Apocalyptic world. During the novel, he finds an underground installation from the Before Days, the civilization that existed before the Dark Time. While exploring it, he finds a box with knobs on it. When he presses certain knobs, the box produces food.
  • A Princess of Mars had one of the earlier examples. Restaurants in Zodanga dispensed meals through a hole in the table, no "human" contact involved.
  • The Nutri Matic in The Restaurant At the End of The Universe analyzes the nutritional needs of the user and produces a suitable meal which always ends up being almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek
  • Red Dwarf has talking machines that produce a microwave container. Holly's opening comments sometimes state that they have enough food stored for 30,000 years, but are out of "Shake'n'Vac".
  • Doctor Who
    • One episode had this in a case of Early Installment Weirdness. It split the difference between "any food imaginable" and "Soylent Soy" by producing food bars that tasted like actual food.
    • The Tardis had a food dispenser in a room near the control room. The food it provided resembled the concentrated rations used by 20th century Earth astronauts. It also issued water in small plastic bags.
  • The Lexx had phallic appendages that dripped a tasteless grey paste (which becomes more watery when the Lexx itself is hungry)
  • Lost in Space episode "Wild Adventure". When the Robinsons (and Dr. Smith) sat down to eat, the Environmental Computer sent their meals out of a slot on the wall.

Tabletop Game

  • Most food in Eclipse Phase is produced by nanofabricators. Ones specialized for production of edibles are called "makers", the cheapest ones only make beverages, ration bars and nutrient paste, more expensive ones can fab anything from yoghurt to fugu testes.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Module S3, "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks", took place inside a crashed starship. Kitchen areas had computer operated food dispensers that worked like this. If the PCs could learn how to operate the controls they could get food to eat. Unfortunately there was a 50% chance that the food would be poisonous.
  • Gamma World module GW1, "Legion of Gold":
    • Each underground shelter has a food and beverage dispenser set into the wall. It is button-operated, with a 50% chance of spewing out a greenish paste that is deadly poisonous.
    • Inside the underwater SAMURAI facility, the PCs can find a kitchen area with a large machine. If properly activated, it can process seaweed into edible food with a variety of flavors, temperatures, textures and colors.
  • Shadowrun supplement "The Neo-Anarchists' Guide to Real Life": McHughs restaurants have computer-controlled food preparation equipment. When the customer makes his selection, the food items are automatically moved to the appropriate preparation equipment, defrosted/heated as needed and delivered to the customer.

Web Comics

  • Schlock Mercenary got food processors dubbed Fabberchow, producing food commonly from concentrates that are digestible, but not exactly "edible" as such. This does not mean there are no living cooks.

Western Animation