Big Bend resident rancher Hallie Stillwell has added her voice and favorite chili recipe to her friend Frank X. Tolbert's classic book, A Bowl of Red.
Written by the late Dallas newspaper columnist and author, A Bowl of Red is an entertaining history of the peppery cowboy cuisine. This new printing of the book is based on Tolbert's 1972 revised edition, in which he describes the founding of the World Championship Chili Cookoff, now held annually in the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas.
Hallie Stillwell was one of the three judges at the first Terlingua cookoff, held in 1967. "We were blindfolded to sample the chili," the ninety-six-year-old writer/rancher says in her foreword. She voted for one of the milder concoctions; another judge cast his vote for a hotter version. The third judge, who was mayor of Terlingua, sampled each pot but then pronounced his taste buds paralyzed and declared the contest a tie. There's been a "rematch" in Terlingua every November since then. "I have never failed to attend," Stillwell says.
Stillwell's recipe for lean venison chili is her favorite, one she prepared in large quantities for the hungry hands at the Stillwell Ranch in the Big Bend. This new printing of the classic also features an index to other recipes in the book, such as "Beto's prison chili" and chili verde con carne (green chili). The book also includes Tolbert's tales of searching out the best cooks of Southwestern specialties like rattlesnake "stew" and jalapeño corn bread.
What Readers Are Saying:
"The wonderful stories of ranch chuck wagon cooks, life in the Big Bend area, and the tale of the newspaper column duel that gave birth to the Terlingua cook-offs make entertaining reading for any Chili Head." --Austin Chronicle
"Only 180 pages, the book will not take long to read, but it will warm your innards much as does a palatable bowl of red." --Lajitas Sun
" . . . the immortal book in the largely little-known and unappreciated world of chili . . . --Dale Walker
"About the only way to improve journalist Tolbert's now 40 year old book was to add an index to the recipes–which they did! . . . Tolbert is good about providing culture, history, folklore and whatnot about chili in Texas." --Books of the Southwest
"If you think real chili comes in cans, you need to read A Bowl of Red and discover the world of difference you're missing. And at $9.95, this would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for the chili-lover or homesick Texan on your list this Christmas." --Brazosport Facts
"No self-respecting Texan should be without a copy of A Bowl of Red." --Judyth Rigler
"Texas A&M University Press has done chili fanciers–and, indeed, all America--a favor by publishing a new paperback edition of A Bowl of Red . . . a nationally acclaimed hymn of praise for those who love that ‘bowl of red.’" --Jack Maguire
" . . . offers splendid recipes for its preparation--some are strong enough to float a mule . . . Irresistible." --New York Times Book Review
"Texas and Americana fans will eat it up, just as they will their chili." --Publishers Weekly
" . . . delightful reading . . . Tolbert's classic history of chili . . . and his famous chili cook-offs in tiny Terlingua, Texas, have actually created a worldwide subculture devoted to this noble dish." --Southwest Review