Pages

Friday, June 16, 2017

Local Yokels and True Confessions

Living in a very small community that lies within traveling distance of some very large mega-cities, can make for some interesting observations.


I serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals for our village.  We do not have a lot of action, by any means, but every once in a while, things get hopping.  As we try to bring the village into the 19th 20th Century (kicking and screaming all the way), we walk a thin line between keeping the bucolic feel of the place while actively seeking businesses to join us and help us grow.  And cover more of the tax base.  I was also part of the Comprehensive Planning Committee.  Getting people to focus on the future and planning for careful, thoughtful growth was akin to herding cats or pushing string.  We did our best and came up with a good, cohesive plan, but, in the end, it boiled down to everyone wanting change as long as nothing was different.  Le sigh.


We recently welcomed a fellow and his visionary aquaponic lettuce and fish farm business - he is transforming the 100 acres of decaying greenhouses that were left derelict, victims of cheap South American roses.  He has big plans and some of those plans seem to be rewriting town regs to better fit his vision.  


Last night we sat through a slipshod presentation requesting a special permit for a variance.  This was for another business - also welcomed - that is already in the construction stage.  I do believe the fellow thought he would sit down with us yokels without any preparation or supporting documents and steamroll the process.


Surprise!  Our board consists of two retired teachers, a civil engineer, a retired publisher, a Ph.D. that works for a college, and a blogger (by gawd).  We gave him a resounding thumbs down on his request.  All while being terribly polite about it.


*****


Hello.  My name is Sweezie and I am addicted to Ersatz Spoonbread.  It started innocently enough - I was searching for a non-sweet, GF, bread-like substitute to fill that hole left by the departure of gluten from my diet.  Every replacement I came up with was dry and grainy, and very unsatisfying.  Then I discovered this "spoon bread" recipe.  I was born in the South and have spent some little time (off and on) there.  I know my spoon bread.  This ain't it.  BUT... it not only is the most satisfying cornbread/spoonbread-ish thing I have ever eaten, it is also a wonderful vessel for my alarmingly large supply of frozen corn!  I call it a vegetable side dish.  I dare anyone to contradict me.




It has, what I call, the essentials of life - eggs, cheese, yogurt, fresh corn, and cheese.  Did I mention cheese?  It is very easy to whip up (I should know, as I've made it at least four times over the past two weeks) and has served me well as comfort food.  I found the recipe in a cookbook I picked up at a flea market book sale - "Cooking Free".  I am also in love with her apple spice cake.   If you are interested, let me know and I will post the recipe. 



13 comments:

  1. I also live in a place with the same change but no change issues. Unfortunately our council can be a little flaky at times. Could it be because the mayor is the most successful businessman in town or one of the Councillors in her former life tried to make a case for an outrageous variance? Sounds like your lovely place is in good hands. I bet the blogger is the sharpest of the bunch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have sort of the same situation with our town supervisor. He's got himself embedded in the town and cronyism is rampant. I don't know that I'm the sharpest (I'm voting for the Ph.D.), but I am the fastest with the flipisms! :)

      Delete
  2. I have a plethora of frozen corn. Yes, please post the recipe!

    I sympathize with all public servants. I see it all the time on the school board that I serve on and see it at city council meetings. People don't realize the difficulty in creating a system that is as fair to as many people as possible while preventing unsavory things from occurring. Just today, there is a big uproar in our community because someone moved from one house to another not realizing from one zoned area to another. They wanted to continue their daycare business but when neighbors complained it was shut down. The community thinks it is horrible on the part of the city council to do such a dastardly deed. I on the other hand, realize how hard it is to distinguish between a daycare, a small engine repair show or even a bar and if one is granted a variance, how can one be fair if denying the other's a variance. I sympathize with the lady but as someone who wouldn't want a successful small engine repair shop next door to me, I think the city council did the right thing. But they won't get any respect for their decision by the majority.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed, everybody thinks their needs are special. This variance was for signage - they wanted to put up a horking big sign, citing setback and speed making it imperative. No one goes faster than 45 mph, there are no other signs that would block it, and it is the only store of its kind for miles. We didn't think it was a good idea to set a precedent by starting the trend of giant signs down our little main drag.

      Delete
  3. I'd love the recipe for the "spoon bread" that isn't a spoon bread. A vegetable side dish that doesn't look like a vegetable is right up my alley. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I will post it on Monday. Memory willing.

      Delete
    2. yes please... would love the recipe... thank you!

      Delete
  4. Do you ever have to deal with people who don't realize or don't care that they need a variance for something and just start building their wildly inappropriate whatever? They always act so victimized when the town/city shuts them down and orders it leveled.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, yes. We have plenty of them here. Up the hollow from me is a little piece of Deliverance - a new building inspector went up to issue fines for collapsing homes and they threatened him with guns. When he kept it up, a group of them went to his house one night and torched his shed. There are places up there that I swore were abandoned. At least, they ought to be.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So, spoonbread is essentially cornbread? It's just not a big thing up here (in the Great White North ;) ). Did you go gluten free by choice or by need? Just curious. -Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Susan! :)

    Coinkeedinky, I was just looking through a few spoonbread recipes in my "Breakfast Comforts" book and wondered what it would be like! You've convinced me, (did you say CHEESE???) :)

    I have to say, you have patience and motivation to be on such a board(s). Our town is all over the place. They will spend so much money fixing the tennis court (that nobody ever, EVER, uses) and build a wash station for boats (for the weekenders), but the pot holes haven't been touched in 3 years now. We pretty much have given up!

    ReplyDelete