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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Nuts about the nighttime nosh

Published: September 23, 2011
Section: Opinions

As I settle into my second year at Brandeis, I have started to reminisce about my first year. As a first-year I was young, naive,and ready to kick ass in college. Here I was in Waltham, on my own, 3,000 miles away from home. I did what most eager 18-year-old college kids do—I rebelled against my parents’ wishes and got my ear pierced. Once the excitement of being able to do almost anything I could ever want to do without any supervision or restrictions passed, I settled down into my new home, ready for the next four years.

Renfield Hall was my home. My only friends were my neighbors on my hall and I was anxious about how the relationship between my roommate and I would evolve. Orientation ended, classed abruptly began and, before I knew it, I was a real college student. I was staying up late to write papers and study, involved in more activities than I could commit to—as most Brandeis students find to be the case—and eager to make the best of my time here at Brandeis.

As all first-years do, I began to learn the ropes of being a student at Brandeis. I learned everything from the details about what was once called Pachanga to the weekend brunch famines at Usdan. Among the dump of insider knowledge and the mostly insignificant information about making the best of Brandeis, there was one thing that went unmentioned—the Kosher Express Machine.

I’m not sure exactly how many people really know about the Hot Nosh machine. Located inside Massell’s Shapiro Lounge are two of these magical vending machines. (There is also one at Fenway Park in Boston!) These machines, similar in appearance to standard beverage vending machinery, are extremely different in composition. The “Hot Nosh 24/6 Diner” vending appliance provides to its kosher patrons a variety of hot, parve munchies. For the extra-hungry Jew inside each of us, the Hot Nosh Kosher Xpress provides cheese pizza, mozzarella sticks, potato knishes, french fries, onion rings and a few other hot, late-night, munching snacks. Although cleverly named “Hot Nosh 24/6,” the kosher food services are available with the insertion of a few dollars or swipe of a credit card 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including the Sabbath.

At a university where dining services are heavily criticized for their strange and inconvenient hours and lack of quality and choices, the Hot Nosh provides late-night snacks for both the kosher connoisseurs and the everyday hungry people. As an alternative to ordering Asia Wok—the only option for eating on campus after 2 a.m.—an alternative such as Hot Nosh is lifting. Don’t get me wrong, I am widely known to order Asia Wok at 3 a.m., but Hot Nosh is a healthier and more economical method of late-night food consumption.

Contrary to popular belief, the food provided by Hot Nosh doesn’t seem too unhealthy. I myself know all the ingredients in the cheese pizza: “flour, water, mozzarella and muenster cheeses, whole peeled tomatoes, sauce, salt, yeast, parmesan & oregano.” There definitely aren’t any preservatives, artificial flavoring or MSG in that. The cheese pizza comes with 215 calories, seven grams of total fat and 12 grams of protein. While that may not be great, compared to Asia Wok, significant differences exist. But don’t get me wrong, nothing compares to sesame chicken with pork-fried rice and crab rangoons.

So when it’s late, your stomach is growling and no dining services are open—most nights at Brandeis—head over to Shapiro Lounge. Let your eyes burn from the blue, glowing back-lit sign, swipe your credit card, make your selection and watch the timer count down. In a few minutes, you can have your very own hot and crispy kosher and preservative-free potato knish or cheesy pizza.