John Morthland

When writer-at-large John Morthland first started writing about food, in the eighties, he turned to what he liked best: “Barbecue, Cajun, regional American stuff,” he says. “Comfort food.” So cataloging chicken-fried cuisine around the state for “Grease” was easy as pie. “I already had a mental file of places I’d heard about that did offbeat chicken-fried things, and then I spent about three months actively researching.” Did he ever have to reach for the Tums? “Nah,” he says. “I’m blessed with a cast-iron stomach.”

William Martin

It would be difficult to find someone better than contributing editor William Martin to write about Joel Osteen and Houston’s Lakewood Church (“Prime Minister,”). Not only was he a professor of religion and public policy at Rice University for 37 years (he retired in June and is now a senior fellow at Rice’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy), but he has also written extensively about American Christianity, most notably in his acclaimed A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story. Martin, who has contributed to texas monthly for thirty years, including a much-loved religion column from 1979 to 1982, visited the church from time to time beginning in the early seventies and knew Osteen’s father, John. “I’ve had my eyes and ears on Lakewood for a long time,” he says.

Anne Dingus and Quita McMath

Into every life a little rain must fall, but at texas monthly it’s more like a monsoon these days, because this issue marks the departure of two senior editors. Anne Dingus, who joined the magazine in 1978—and whose wicked Bum Steer puns and unrivaled knowledge of Texana have left an indelible imprint—is embarking on a freelance career. Quita McMath, who in ten years of eagle-eyed editing here (on the heels of nineteen years at New York magazine) has saved many a writer’s backside, is retiring. It won’t be the last we hear of them, of course (Dingus will continue her Encyclopedia Texanica column), but they’ll be sorely missed. So with waterlogged hearts we bid our friends farewell. But not good-bye.