Written by Marjolein van der Veldt & Mirjam van der Ploeg
Restaurant: TastyBox (Library)
Day: Thursday, 29 November 2018
Meal: Pasta Arrabiata
Looked at it so often and had never done it. TastyBox, the vending machine that dispenses a hot meal within a few minutes. Its slogan, ‘TastyBox, the big mother always next to you’ is promising. The Food Police are tough, so we bravely try it. We grab a box with both hands!
We stick the thermometer right through the packaging, precisely in the middle of the pasta. At 57 degrees Celsius, we are more than satisfied. Until we touch the Soviet style packaging and wonder if we’ve been given an iceberg. One of the sides is cold, almost frozen. And cold is never good, unless it’s vodka.
The temperature seemed to match all demands. Until we hit an iceberg...
As students, we worked our way through tons of ready-made meals so we knew what to expect. Still, this meal was rock bottom. While our forks went through the sauce easily enough, the tines break on the pasta. There is raw, al dente (firm) or overcooked. This was version number one: raw. Out of the pack and onto your plate. Any idiot can do that.
The sauce is a touch too salty, but is actually quite tasty. We taste tomatoes and are surprised by the degree of ‘spicy’. Unfortunately, in combination with the pasta, the sauce does not score an adequate.
If you eat the cold lumps of pasta and finish the whole meal, it is fine for lunch. The proportion of sauce to pasta is fine too. There is enough sauce to avoid eating dry pasta.
Admittedly the TastyBox is not that expensive. For EUR 3.49 you have a container of pasta with a red sauce. But the quality leaves so much to be desired that even this price is on the high side. ‘The big mother always next to you’? Think again. If our mothers always cooked like this, we would think twice about visiting them.
Dry penne, some sauce. We weren't too impressed.
The basil leaf on the photo on the vending machine turns out to be misleading. After opening the container, we see a mountain of penne with a good amount of red sauce poured over it. While our mouths usually water while looking at a meal, they stay completely dry this time.
Buying a hot meal from a vending machine generates different emotions. Surprise (can you really buy pasta from a vending machine?!), hope (it actually looks ok on the photo!), confusion (can you really buy pasta from a vending machine?!) and trepidation (it can’t be good for you, can it?). It is still strange to see a hot container being issued out of a vending machine after a couple of minutes waiting. For those who do not want to talk to a cashier, it’s great.
Overall rating: 5-