In Part VI of “The Incredible Shrinking Chef,” Steve “Nookie” Postal’s running diary of his time in Mass General’s obesity treatment center, the chef travels to Texas in search of great barbecue. But after a misstep at Killen’s Barbecue in Houston, he continues his “shrinking” ways despite the savory temptations of the Hill Country. —Edited by Christopher Hughes
I know it’s been a while, but I’ve actually been busy. Sorry, but it hasn’t been as easy to park my not-so-fat-ass down and brain-dump.
For example, at the weight center I was sitting in one of the support groups and may or may not have been dazing and dreaming of sitting on a beach while eating a corn dog. The teacher was talking about being a glass half-empty or -full person. Admittedly, I need to work on becoming a more glass half-full person kind of a person in life and work and health. I sometimes think, “Damn Nookie! You shouldn’t have eaten those tater tots today.” Instead, I should be saying, “Hey, good day today. You ate three sound meals and resisted that brownie corner that was screaming your name.” So I’m working on that.
You know, this surgery does more than just cut your stomach in half. It’s like pushing the Nintendo reset button on your life. I mean, I wasn’t unhappy before I had it. I wasn’t thrilled with my weight, sure, but overall I was happy. But now I find myself dissecting everything I do, trying to be a better, more positive, and healthier person.
Total honesty: I am a little disappointed I haven’t started exercising yet. I’ve just been so busy and I know I need to make the time, but I just haven’t done it yet. For the record, my goal is that the next time I sit down to write, I will have begun a training regiment.
So, I guess you want to hear about Austin trip, right? Seven of us flew into Houston and immediately stopped at Killen’s Barbecue. Of course, there was a two-hour line wrapped around the block. But they have a guy walking around outside giving away free beers while you wait. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to drink that ice-cold brewski. It wasn’t any crazy craft brew or anything, just Lone Star. But the cheap beer would have been spectacular.
I had to pass, though, since I’m on a strict no-booze rule. So we waited and waited , eventually snaking our way through the door. Finally we entered, and the place overtook me. Cheerwine on tap, barbecue everywhere, and that unmistakable smoky smell. I got up to the counter and ordered pounds of meat: brisket, hot and mild sausage, turkey, bone in pork belly, spareribs, burnt ends, and beef ribs as big as your dome. We didn’t stop there. Pile on the collards, potato salad, cowboy beans, and bread pudding, because it would have been rude to not get that as well.
Standing in line to pay, I started picking—an unfucking believable burnt end here. A scrap of baller-ass turkey there. After we sat down, I obviously went a little too fast because all of a sudden I didn’t feel so great. It got so bad, I had to get up and walk away. I looked down, and I hadn’t really eaten that much. Yet it was clearly wasn’t agreeing with me.
As we drove away, I texted my wife, “I think barbecue and I aren’t going to be friends anymore,” Was it just a case of too much too fast or did I now have an aversion to the fatty meats I used to love so much. As a compromise, I diligently paced myself over the next 18 meals. And guess what? I never felt sick. I relished every morsel and actually enjoyed the experience. And the fucked up thing is, I actually lost two pounds.
It’s kind of funny, when I bump into people who haven’t seen me in a while and don’t know I underwent surgery, they’re shocked…I guess a 75-pound loss will do that. Hey, it could also be from the fact that I’m now losing my hair, which is a bonus. Really psyched about that one.
One last thought: What a difference not being a fat-ass makes on an airplane. And sometimes now, when I’m on the T and there’s only a single seat available between two people, I just squeeze my ass right in there. Because I can, and I haven’t been able to do that for a while. All right, that’s it for now. My kids are upstairs screaming and it sounds like WWF. See ya next month.
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