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Brisket Vs. A Bowl Of Red: Should BBQ Replace Chili As Texas’ Official State Dish?


Five stories that have North Texas talking: chili vs. barbecue, meet Denton's "Sriracha Savior," a jury awards $500,000 to a prominent Dallas arts collector, and more:

A writer for Texas Monthly is on a campaign to switch the state’s official dish from chili to barbecue. Paul Burka sounded off on the issue in this month’s edition. In the late 1970s, the state Legislature, “in a moment of collective insanity, had voted to declare chili the official state dish,” Burka wrote. “This was a travesty, akin to naming catfish the official state seafood.” He says that times have changed, and that if a vote were held today, barbecue “would prevail in a landslide.” “What civilized Texan is not familiar with the fine brisket at Snow’s BBQ, or at Franklin Barbecue, or at Pecan Lodge?” Burka suggests that State Rep. Charlie Geren, the Fort Worth Republican who owns a barbecue joint, should lead the change. But in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bud Kennedy offered a counterpoint. “Fellow Texans, our way of life is under attack,” Kennedy wrote. Should Texans “really give up on chili, which has warmed cowboys and spurred digestion for 150 years?” He says that during the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, cowboys don’t line up for barbecue; instead, they devour chili. The first grocery chili powder was packed and sold in Fort Worth in the 1890s.

  • Jury awards Dallas art collector $500,000: A U.S. District Court jury on Friday awarded $500,000 to Marguerite Hoffman, a prominent Dallas art collector, over the sale of a Mark Rothko painting. It’s the latest twist in a lengthy fight between Hoffman and David Martinez, a Mexican financier who bought from her an untitled 8-foot-tall 1961 painting by Rothko that features two red rectangles. Later, the painting was sold at auction by Sotheby’s for $31 million. In 2010, Hoffman sued Martinez for failing to keep the sale secret. By selling the painting at auction, the confidential sale became public, Hoffman says. The Dallas Morning News reports that a Hoffman attorney had suggested she get as much as $22.4 million during closing arguments. (Hoffman serves on the board of Public Radio International, which is a supplier of programming to public radio stations.) Hoffman told the newspaper she had earned a “moral, ethical, spiritual” victory. Martinez was a defendant, as were L&M Arts and Studio Capital. Martinez lawyer Gordon Shapiro declared: “From my perspective, she got a lump of coal for Christmas.”

  • Denton’s “Sriracha Savior” earns publicity: In October, Denton City Council member Kevin Roden invited the California-based hot sauce company that makes the popular Sriracha (ser-AH-chah) sauce, to relocate to Denton to avoid litigation. (The company has faced complaints at a facility in California – people have been concerned about a strong odor coming from the plant.) D Magazine features Roden in its January issue, dubbing him the “Sriracha savior.” Roden says the company hasn’t contacted him. “He’s guessing the company isn’t willing to talk during a heated legal dispute,” the magazine reports. “But there’s been a side effect to the campaign. Roden has been fielding inquiries from investors across the nation who want to learn more about Denton.”

  • NPR profiles Richardson teacher and his groovy sweater: Remember Dale Irby? The Richardson gym teacher wore the same polyester shirt with large lapels in his school picture every year for 40 years. The Dallas Morning News profiled him over the summer. NPR caught up with Irby over the weekend on Weekend Edition. Irby acknowledges that the shirt got tight through the years – he couldn’t button the bottom two buttons. He might even be buried in the duds many years from now, he told NPR. Irby, who retired recently, had this message for former students: “I always taught them to be fair,” he told NPR. “I only had four rules in the gym and the last one was, you know, be a good sport and enjoy the rules of the game and, you know, sometimes life doesn't seem fair, but I told them, you know, in some fables, the tortoise actually wins the race.”

  • Fort Worth Weekly decided to compile a list of its favorite Tarrant County albums for 2013. No. 3: “On Inhumanistic, Mind Spiders marshal their clanging, snarling guitars, kitschy synths, and propulsive beats in the service of 12 quick hitters.” No. 2: “Quaker City Night Hawks are gonna rattle your bones, and that’s that. The ingredients are simple: crunchy guitars with razor wire for strings, ringing and biting like chainsaws; punchy grooves …” And the Weekly’s No. 1 album: “Ice Eater’s debut album, Don’t Care, is a welcome chunk of kaleidoscopic international flavor. Co-written by drummer Wyatt Adams and guitarist Zachary Edwards and produced by Alex Bhore (This Will Destroy You), these eight tracks share sonic DNA –– atmospheric guitars, complex beats, laser-like synths –– but are wildly diverse in structure, keeping listeners on their toes.”
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.