Let\’s just start by saying that I\’m a sucker for odd vending machine food. Sounds strange, I know; but this is the same guy that will eat those prepackaged sandwiches you find in gas stations. I know. It\’s a problem. But food like this is always an adventure. Like the first time I tried Pork Rinds. It was from a vending machine in the MD Anderson building in Houston Texas. I debated on the purchase for a couple of weeks, but gave in… however that\’s another story.
This story starts with me noticing an odd item in our machine at work, the Big Texas Cinnamon Roll. Most vending machines stick to the basics of Hershey bars, Snickers bars, M&Ms and the like. You\’ll have potato chips and even occasionally some gum. But a cinnamon roll? And at first look, I could tell this was no ordinary cinnamon roll.
I mean really, how could anyone turn that down? Well, I did at first. I didn\’t have 80 cents on me at the time, and I figured I could come back later in the week and get one. By the end of the week the Big Texas was gone. Months passed. Then like General MacArthur and the Philippines, it returned. Needless to say, the purchase happened shortly thereafter.
Some key facts about the Big Texas Cinnamon Roll that you may not have known:
I apologize for the poor resolution on these shots. I took them with my phone, but as you can see the Big Texas has won Pasty of the Year. The fine print (or your keen eyes) informs us that the Big Texas has actually won the \”2005 & 2006 Automatic Merchandiser – Readers\’ Choice – Pastry of the Year\” award.
That\’s right, Automatic Merchandiser.
The categories are: Cookies, Candy, Salted Snack, Pastry, Food, Beverages, Dairy Product, and New Product. Last year\’s winners:
Cookies: And the winner is… Kellogg\’s Food Away From Home\’s Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmmmm… I\’ve had these, they are good. Yum!
Candy: And the winner is… Snickers Bar! Apparently Snickers is undefeated in this category. It truly satisfies!
Salted Snack: And the winner is… Kar Nut Products Co.\’s Sweet \’N Salty Mix. I\’m actually surprised that some form of potato chip didn\’t win here, but maybe since there are so many varieties of potato chip, it dilutes the vote. Actually, upon further review is seems that Cheetos tend to win this category… I\’d never vote for Cheetos, those bastards took away Zig Zags… no, not those Zig Zags, these Zig Zags.
Pastry: And the winner is… Cloverhill Bakery\’s Big Texas Cinnamon Roll. Apparently the Big Texas is relatively new, stealing the award away from Mrs. Freshleys/Flowers Specialty Group\’s Jumbo Honey Bun. I am familiar with the Jumbo Honey Bun; I\’ve never purchased nor eaten it because, honestly, it looks terrible. This category was ripe for competition when the reigning champion looked like iced dog poo.
Food: And the winner is…. NestlÃ© Foodservice\’s Hot PocketsÂ® brand Meatballs & Mozzarella sub sandwich. Damn… that does sound pretty tasty. But not as tasty as the Pierre Foods\’ BIG AZ Charbroil with Cheese, which won in 2002, 2004, and 2005. Do you suppose that name is a thinly veiled way of saying Big Ass Charbroil with Cheese, or do they make them in Arizona?
Beverages: And the winner is… Coca Cola\’s Coke Classic. In true Cola War fashion Coke reclaimed first place from arch enemy Pepsi.
Dairy Product: And the winner is… NestlÃ© USA Nesquik Chocolate Milk, which has won every year since the category started in 2001, with the exception of 2002 when its sister product, Nesquik Strawberry Milk, won.
New Product: And the winner is… Kar Nut Products Co.\’s PB & J Mix, which is salted peanuts and strawberry flavored substances of unknown nature. Mmmm, sounds delicious!
But I digress… You may have also noticed the jovial little fellow wearing a chef\’s hat on the package:
Hard to see, but that would be Eddie, who apparently bakes lemon cupcakes. Cloverhill\’s website doesn\’t tell me any more about who Eddie might be (in fact his images on the website doesn\’t exactly match this image, and doesn\’t have \”Eddie\” labeled on him anywhere). I also find it odd that their mascot holds a muffin when their own website states: Our primary focus is to produce innovative premium quality Danish sweet goods, Cinnamon Rolls, Crumb Cakes, Cake Donuts, and yeast-raised snacks such as Honey Buns — utilizing state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. I don\’t see muffins in that list, do you?
Enough about the wrapper, let\’s tear into this thing:
That actually looks pretty good. Let\’s take a bite.
Mmmmm, that\’s actually tasty. Moist, but not soggy. Good aroma and flavor. This is way better than the cinnamon rolls we\’ve had for breakfast at several of the Bar Crawls!
But what did I actually just eat? Ingredients listed are:
Enriched Bleached Flour – well, bleached flour isn\’t so good for you, lots of fun chemicals are used in the manufacture of it like benzoyl peroxide or chloride gas. Additionally, many European countries have banned Bleached Flour. Too bad, they\’ll never know the sweet taste of the Big Texas Cinnamon Roll. Tastes like… freedom. Yum!
Sugar – With flour and sugar as the first two ingredients, something tells me that this thing will have just a few carbs in it.
Water – I wonder if some day in the future all foods will have to list their water source, much like bottled water today.
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean & Cottonseed Oils – … wait, hold up. Partially Hydrogenated? Dear God no! I\’ve just ingested Trans Fats!!! Get the Ipecac!!!
So the tale of the tape for the four ounces of cinnamony goodness is: 460 calories (190 of them from fat), 22 grams of fat, 6 grams of Trans Fat, only 10 mg of Cholesterol, but 470 grams of Sodium, and a whopping 61 grams of carbs (2 of them are Dietary Fiber though). If you are a Weight Watchers person, that\’s 11 points, which is a lot considering most people I know get around 20 for a whole day.
But who cares about that. The final verdict? Delicious!
My challenge to you is to take a chance on a fun looking item in your local vending machine, and post a comment with your findings.
Now if you\’ll excuse me, I\’m going to go have a salad for lunch.