August 2005 Issue

On the Cover

Prime Minister

The fastest-growing church in the world. The biggest congregation this side of the Vatican. The highest ratings of any religious broadcaster. One of the best-selling religious books in years. Can Joel Osteen get an “Amen”?




At restaurants across Texas, there are any number of things that taste better dipped in egg and milk, dredged in flour, and pan-fried in hot oil. If you think steak is the only chicken-fried, uh, delicacy, wake up and smell the bacon. And the antelope. And the lobster. And…

Ten Ways To Fix Texas

They’re obvious to everyone except, apparently, the people we elected to fix Texas. They include some easy solutions and at least one that will probably get me a lot of hate mail (but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong).


Patricia Kilday Hart

Home Buyer Beware

The state agency that’s supposed to protect you is a captive of the industry you need protection from.


Music Review

Funky Funky Houston

If you were of the first to latch on to Archie Bell and the Drells’ “Tighten Up” back in 1968, you probably bought the 45 on the tiny Ovide label. When the single took off, Atlantic Records stepped in, and thanks in no small part to the sale of Archie

Music Review

Cost of Living

“Dependable” is a good word for DELBERT MCCLINTON’s music. After thirty years and eighteen albums, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises; few artists have stuck so tenaciously to their guns. Here’s why: Mc-Clinton’s seamless splicing of blues, rock and roll, and country, driven by a fixation with roadhouse R&B,

Music Review

The Outsider

RODNEY CROWELL, the talented Houston-born songwriter who began recording in the late seventies, has followed an uneven road to success. At times he’s sounded adrift or bored, trapped by the “progressive country” parameters he imposed on himself. But starting in 2001, something clicked. First came The Houston Kid, followed by

Book Review

In Perfect Light

El Paso’s BENJAMIN ALIRE SAENZ doesn’t do easy. Death, racism, child molestation, and U.S.-Mexico border issues are just a few of the topics he grazes in his dignified but heart-wrenching novel In Perfect Light. Meet Andrés Segovia and Grace Delgado. Segovia is a conundrum, an intelligent and en-gaging man whose

Book Review

The Rogues’ Game

Aspiring writers embarking on their first caper novel will find much to emulate in The Rogues’ Game (St. Martin’s), a rollicking debut by Tyler’s MILTON T. BURTON. It features all the excitement that a 1947 West Texas oil town can muster: a mysterious out-of-towner in a Lincoln convertible, a sassy

Book Review

Body Scissors

The year is 1991, the city is Austin, and a young black girl is killed by a stray bullet meant for her political activist mother, Virginia Key. So opens Body Scissors (Viking), the notable second thriller from MICHAEL SIMON featuring the Capital City’s lone Jewish homicide detective, Dan Reles. The


Pat's Pick


Dine at the right time, get the right server, and order the right things, and you can have a dazzling meal at Dallas’s very own Nobu, an outpost of renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous restaurant empire. I, for one, liked my seared toro (the prized “fatty tuna”) with jalapeño,



John MorthlandWhen 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

Pat's Pick

Off the Menu

How to make the perfect… Persimmon FlanFew things in the plant world are more mouth-puckeringly bitter than an unripe persimmon—and few things are more gloriously flavorful than a ripe one, which all but melts to a mellow custard inside its glossy orange skin. The season for persimmons begins in August,

Texas History 101

Texas History 101

The last battle of the civil war was fought in Texas—a month after the war officially ended.

Web Exclusive

Border Patrol

Writer-at-large Cecilia Ballí discusses the plight of violence-ridden Nuevo Laredo.

Web Exclusive

Preacher Man

Contributing editor William Martin, who wrote this month’s cover story, on the rise of America’s largest church, positive thinking versus old-time religion, and why Joel Osteen doesn’t cry on camera.

Web Exclusive

Fry Daddy

Writer-at-large John Morthland on channeling Calvin Trillin and chasing down all things chicken-fried.

Fame Game

Writer-at-large Don Graham on why Cormac McCarthy wouldn’t win a popularity contest against John Grisham or Tom Clancy—and why that’s a good thing.


Persimmon Flan

Persimmon Puree 1⁄2 cup sugar 1 cone piloncillo (Mexican unrefined brown sugar, available in ethnic markets such as Fiesta) 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1⁄2 stick cinnamon 10 ripe persimmons, unpeeled, stem end cut off flat 1⁄2 cup orange juiceA day ahead, put all ingredients in a large saucepan

Books That Cook

Books That Cook

Let’s be honest, when planning a party menu, one factors in practicality as much as pleasing the palate. Constant stove-top attention and complicated recipes don’t sit well with the other responsibilities of hosting. Menus depend on such basic considerations as seating, oven space, and how long into the night guests


Around the State


August—People, Places, Events, Attractions08.08.2005To celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, the Inprint Brown Reading Series has invited a writer whose penchant for eccentricity, outspokenness, and outlandishness (in print at least) equals that of his host city. John Irving, that master of weirdly irresistible characters and extravagant, tragically comic plots (or is it

Roar of the Crowd

Devils Advocate

As a landowner of Devils River property for 75 years, I can assure you, Mr. Gwynne, that the only reason the Devils River is the pure and pristine river it is today is because of those ornery landowners, who were, and still are, trying their best to preserve for future

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