December 2002 Issue

On the Cover

The Secret History

Did Richard King cheat his partner's heirs out of a chunk of the King Ranch nearly 120 years ago? He may have—and if the Texas Supreme Court permits Chapman v. King Ranch, Inc., to go to trial, the past could come back to haunt the state's most storied spread.


Ernest Willis: an unlikely murderer, October 2002.

Death Isn’t Fair

Cops who threaten torture. Prosecutors who go too far. Defense lawyers who sleep on the job. And an appellate court that rubber-stamps it all. Let’s be tough on crime, but let’s also see that justice is done.



Three decades after his last megamission in Dallas, age and poor health haven't slowed Billy Graham down (well, not much). He's still the most powerful evangelist since Jesus, and there will never be another like him.


You Only Live Twice

Where does an actress of a certain age restart her life (and jump-start her career) after years at Hollywood's mercy? If you're former Bond Girl Lois Chiles, the answer is obvious: back home in Texas.

Around the State



GIMME SHELTER This month, as various towns across the state stage Las Posadas processions, in which actors portraying Mary and Joseph reenact the biblical couple’s search for shelter, directors will be challenged with the question of casting. This year McAllen, which hosts the largest production in the state, marks its


Straight Talk

TELL IT LIKE IT IS Aaron Neville will be the featured performer at the Mayor’s Official Houston Holiday Celebration in the Bayou City December 6. His newest record, Believe, will be released in January. What is the most dramatic change you have seen in music over the years? I guess


Tune In

GOTTA SING! Every holiday season offers the chance for thousands of singers—and wannabes—to burst into song. As regular choristers dust off Handel’s Messiah for appreciative audiences—Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio all have excellent performances lined up—hosts of shower singers start looking for alternatives that bring


Get Out

POWER PLAY Hockey in Texas, eh? Even though the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars—who, need we remind you, drank from Lord Stanley’s Cup in 1999—have been shining in the Lone Star State for a decade now and minor league franchises have found more homes here than in any other state,



Christmas Carole

When it's time for her to give the gift of a revenue estimate, Comptroller Rylander could be naughty or nice. Either way, the Legislature better watch out.


Holiday on Ice

Yes, you can really take your kids skating outdoors in Texas—plus other ways to keep them busy (and yourself sane) when school's out.


A Fine Modness

Modernism may yet be proved dead, but if so, it has left an exquisite corpse in Fort Worth's stunning new Modern Art Museum.


Wrongful Life?

A Houston couple says a hospital is responsible for their daughter's severe disabilities. Should Texas' highest court agree, the case will change health care as we know it.



Grand Illusion

Deep pockets and an uphill climb: S. C. Gwynne says the last days of Tony Sanchez's campaign for governor looked an awful lot like the first.



Boston Lettuce with Grilled Bosc Pears

Recipe from John Maxwell, The Mansion at Judges’ Hill, AustinLemon-Cream Dressing1 cup heavy cream 6 tablespoons crème fraîche or 3 tablespoons sour cream 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice zest of 1 lemon, minced 1/8 teaspoon saltIn a large mixing bowl, stir heavy cream briefly until it froths a bit.

Pat's Pick

Shipping News

ELITE MEAT Texas caterer Tom Perini was thrilled enough when he was asked to throw a barbecue for Russian president Vladimir Putin in Crawford last year. He never dreamed that ten months later he would be touring Moscow and St. Petersburg, teaching Russian chefs how to cook beef. “For President

Pat's Pick


Garden of Eatin’ Dreamed of traveling the globe? Martha Rose Shulman has a deal for you. The former Texan will take you around the world in 288 pages, and you don’t even have to pack a bag. But you do have to pick up a copy of your tour guide’s

Pat's Pick


’S WONDERFUL, ‘S MARFALOUS Until this year, folks who found themselves in Marfa at mealtime had a choice of tacos or tacos (oh, wait—you could also get a burger). This summer, the options increased exponentially, which is to say that there is now a fine-dining option in this Big Bend-area


Salsify and Radishes Braised in White Wine

1 1/2 pounds salsify, available at some Central Markets and H-E-B stores 1 bunch French Breakfast radishes or White Icicle radishes, available at Fiesta and Central Markets 6 or 7 tablespoons lemon juice (3 or 4 lemons) 2 tablespoons flour 2 medium cloves garlic 2 shallots extra-virgin olive oil, for

A Q&A with Tony Joe White

They may not be songs about Texas, but Tony Joe White wrote Rainy Night in Georgia and Polk Salad Annie while living in Corpus Christi. Currently on tour opening for Joe Cocker, the Louisiana native chats about old times, his new record label, and the Texas musician who first inspired

Web Exclusive

State Fairness

Senior Texas Monthly editor Michael Hall tells the story behind his article, "Death Isn't Fair."

Ranch Undressing

Writer-at-large Don Graham discusses this month's cover story "The Secret History," and his forthcoming book on the King Ranch, King of Texas.


Winter-Fruit Strudel

4 sheets frozen filo 3/4 pound tart apples such as Granny Smith, Winesap, Jonathan, or Cortland 1/3 pound firm Bosc pears 1/2 cup dried figs 1/2 cup dried apricots 1/2 cup raisins 1 cup sweet white wine such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc, warmed 1 stick unsalted butter 1 cup


Masa Tart Hors d’Oeuvres

Masa Tart Shells3/4 pound masa preparada (prepared masa, available at H-E-B and Fiesta markets) 1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) lard or Crisco, at room temperature 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon powdered guajillo or ancho chile (not chili powder) 1/4 cup good-quality chicken stock, such as Swanson’s chicken broth custard

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