According to the National Institutes of Health, “hedonistic hunger” is defined as “one’s preoccupation with and desire to consume foods for the purposes of pleasure and in the absence of physical hunger.”
Unfortunately, or fortunately for readers of this column, I find myself afflicted with severe hedonistic hunger. While I admit to knowing nothing about cooking, food dominates my life.
Many times I have found myself journeying 45 minutes for a pastry or a taco, for no other purpose than to discover a new, tasty haven. Those excursions, though, are currently on hold.
Instead, I am starting a new culinary journey: college. As a freshman with a premium meal plan, Tufts Dining will put my hedonistic hunger to the test. I plan on searching high and low, creating the quintessential Tufts food canon and sharing it with you.
My first entry will be from the lunch menu at none other than Tufts’ kosher deli, Pax et Lox Glatt Kosher Deli.
I began my culinary crusade on Tuesday with the Buffalo chicken salad sandwich. I ordered it on rye bread with lettuce, tomato and onion, omitting any condiments. This was not my first time ordering this sandwich, and I can emphatically say it is the best Pax lunch sandwich I have had (yet).
The chicken salad was soft but not overly chewy, without hints of mayonnaise. The buffalo sauce had the perfect spice level — not enough to pause eating, but still plenty of kick. Adding LTO was smart, as the veggies heightened the freshness and absorbed some of the Buffalo heat. Also of note, the rye did not crumble, holding firm.
Day two of my Pax journey led me to the spicy Italian sandwich. Again, I ordered it on rye with LTO (Are you sensing a trend?). I made sure to say “yes” to the sauce, a hot cherry pepper relish. The relish was the best part of the sandwich, with a great tang and more of a jalapaño flavor than a Buffalo one.
The salami and bologna, though, felt out of place. Even though they were intended to be the main characters of the sandwich, they did not mesh well with the relish, and any bite without relish felt bland and unfinished. Once again, though, the rye held up, reaffirming my faith in my bread preference.
My final Pax meal of the week was a good ol’ corned beef sandwich. While I stuck with rye, I did not add LTO, which, as my mother reminds me, does not belong on a corned beef sandwich. However, I did add spicy brown mustard.
I had high expectations for such a classic deli staple, but I was severely underwhelmed. Though there was plenty of corned beef, it was dry and flavorless. The sandwich felt heavy to digest, and even the spicy mustard could not rescue the flavor. My trusty rye bread was also lacking. An option for Russian dressing or coleslaw is desperately needed if Pax hopes to rescue this sandwich and return it to the pantheon of deli greats.
To sum up my opinions, which are by no means codified law, I will be sharing my gut reactions (no pun intended).
Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwich: Hands down the best sandwich at Pax.
Spicy Italian: It’s spicy, but it’s lacking elsewhere. I would order it again … but it’s not my first choice.
Corned Beef: My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.
So, whether you’re satisfying hedonistic or sustenance hunger, I hope I’ve helped make your gastronomic guesses more educated and your lunches more enjoyable. For now, keep munching!