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Spaghetti: Road food?

New line of automatic spaghetti-making vending machines takes aim at the on-the-go market.

Imagine you're on a road trip and that inner stomach clock starts ticking. You peer along the horizon searching for quick, fast, and easy road food. With visions of previous stops of greasy burgers and suspect tacos, you roll into a gas station unable to make a decision. Perhaps another bag of chips or a cellophane-wrapped sandwich will quell the rising hunger. You make your way past the nacho cheese and the perpetually rolling hot dogs, and suddenly a bright, oddly shaped contraption catches your eye.

The award-winning Cucina 2000 Vending model Twirl Pasta

Not only does the Cucina 2000 look and sound like a robot, it acts like one too. According to the manufacturer, Twirl Pasta Company, "Customers insert paper currency or credit card and then select a pasta meal by pushing a single button. The Pasta Carousel turns and drops an individual portion of spaghetti into the enclosed cooking kettle. Spaghetti is cooked to al dente perfection and automatically dispensed into the Twirl Pasta bowl in less than 90 seconds!"

Much more than a gimmick, the machine recently won a 2008 Kitchen Innovations Award from the National Restaurant Association. The company has created three versions of its spaghetti maker under the Cucina 2000 moniker and hopes to see its product in everything from cafeterias to bars and full-service restaurants.

Soon, we may have another popular choice competing for our traveling on-the-go hunger. Knowing from past experiences that it usually takes two hands to eat spaghetti, please don't eat and drive.