The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


January 18, 2014


PALESTINE — Editor's Note: The East Texan is a light-hearted advice column written with colloquial savoir faire. Need advice on life in our neck of the woods? Email

Dear East Texan:

Our neighbors are from Minnesota and we disagree concerning the ingredients for chili. Will you please list the proper ingredients for a bowl of Texas Red?  


Chili Head in Chireno

I spent a lovely evening in the kitchen a few nights back pursuing one of my favorite and more successful culinary endeavors, making a pot of Texas Red. For you snow birds who may be passing through, Texas Red is chili – thick, spicy and tantalizingly fragrant and preferably hot as a pickup bumper in July.

Not only will I be more than pleased to share my favorite ingredients for a great bowl of chili, I will tell you what not to put in chili. The meat for chili should be beef or venison, not pork or chicken or emu. Ground meat is the most popular ( coarse ground, or as a chili head would say, “chili grind”) and to the meat add tomato sauce, onions, oregano, cumin, salt, garlic powder, masa harina, paprika, chili powder and lots of it.

The best bowl of Red I ever concocted had a bottle of beer and two tablespoons of honey added, the latter as a whim.

Some folks use a few shots of Patron from time to time and occasionally it goes in the chili.

Chili recipes are as plentiful as mesquite beans in Texas, but the most fun is experimenting and creating your own recipe for Texas Red; however, beans do not belong in chili. Beans are a dish unto themselves and should never be added to Texas Red. It’s just not right, in East Texas anyway.

Text Only
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014