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
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- 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.
- Pee-wee's Big Adventure - Pee-wee has a kitchen equipped to prepare breakfast automatically, though it looks like a large amount of work to reset everything, and not too useful when all he eats is two pieces of Mr. T cereal.
- 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:
- 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.
- Uncharted Stars. Murdoc Jern has solar powered food converters he uses as trade goods. They can process vegetation into highly nutritious food bars that can keep a human going for five days.
- 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 Drinks Dispenser in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe analyzes the nutritional needs and taste preferences of the user and produces a "suitable" liquid which always ends up being almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. In fact, when Arthur tells it to make real tea ("The taste of dried-up leaves boiled in water"), it essentially hijacks the circuits of the rest of the ship and freezes it for several hours (in the midst of an attack) before it finishes with what Arthur describes as "the best tea [he's] ever tasted."
- The In Death series has the AutoChef, which many people rely on to cook for them and which can be programmed for all kinds of meals. Even multi-billionaire Roarke, despite his preference for having such things done the old-fashioned way, has one for convenience.
- 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 (a Visual Pun on the phrase "a square meal"). 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.
- UFO. In the first episode "Identified", the break room in Moonbase had what appeared to be an automat-style setup on one wall, with six different sets of meal slots divided by nationality (French, Italian, Russian, American, English and Chinese).
- 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.
- 2nd Edition main rules. In the section "Lifesyles of the Rich and Shadowy", the Average lifestyle description says that "the autocook has a full selection of flavor faucets". Statements in the other sections indicate that the autocook prepares a substance called "nutrisoy" that has flavors added to it.
- Supplement The Neo-Anarchists' Guide to Real Life. McHugh's 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.
- In the adventure Send in the Clones, the NBD sector Commissary is set up like a 1950s automat. Individual food items are behind little glass windows in the walls - just open a window and take the item.
- In the Twilightcycle 2000 adventure, one of the PCs' items of equipment is the Port-O-Vat. Just put in any kind of organic material and the Port-O-Vat will process it into a bizarre food combination, such as Proto-Algae a la king.
- XP edition supplement The Underplex. Just put a cupful of organic ingredients (mushrooms, tree bark, cockroaches), water and an enzyme cocktail into the QuikFun Enzyme Kit's hopper and let it autostir. In a few minutes you'll have delicious Hot Fun!
- Classic Traveller
- Adventure 2 Research Station Gamma. The station's kitchen is fully automated and can prepare food on command.
- Judges Guild adventure Darthanon Queen. The title starship has a galley with fully automatic food preparation equipment.
- In Vexxarr the Bleen apparently figured out how to use a Cesium reactor to produce cake
- The Jetsons have one, naturally.
- Wallace & Gromit have Robinson Goldberg Contraptions to do all their cooking for them. One of the "Crackling Contraptions" shorts has a robot chef that predictably goes haywire.
- Family Guy. In a Cutaway Gag, Peter is seen with a similar breakfast-making machine, which just shoots him.
- Super Friends episode "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.". Every kitchen in the world becomes one of these under control of the G.E.E.C., including the one in the G.E.E.C. building itself.