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RDJ-- Cheesy Corn Bake, 09-08-12  RDJ
 Sep 11, 2012 20:44 PDT 

Volume 15      Number 166
US Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-3292

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Cheesy Corn Bake

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, cubed
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
2/3 cup diced ham (3 ounces)

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour and garlic
powder. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk;
cook over medium heat, whisking until thickened. Add cheeses; cook over
low heat, stirring until melted. Stir in corn and ham. Pour into a
greased 2-quart baking dish.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

(nutritional info not available)

By Walter Mills

Strange Days

The past week I have been reading about an utterly alien time and place,
though I lived there and lived through it. The place is America and the
time is the 1970s. I have been living through it in a book by Phil
Jenkins, who is a Penn State professor of history and a well known
scholar of religion. He calls his book Decade of Nightmares – not quite
the way I recall the time, but that is his point.

We think of the decade that runs from about 1973 into the early
eighties, as a time when not much happened. The Age of Aquarius ended,
the sixties dream crashed, we dressed in polyester leisure suits and
wore absurdly wide ties. Worst of all, real music died and disco took
over the airwaves. We trivialize the seventies as a placeholder,
forgetting what a strange, even depressing time it was.

It was around 1973 that I moved west to San Francisco, naïve young man
looking for the Summer of Love in the place where it had flowered. I
hadn’t heard the news that it was all over there, but I did catch the
fading sound of the revolution, the last few petals fallen from their
hair and scattered on the ground. The sixties was such an epic decade
that its shadow fell across the next dozen years and hid them from

The seventies were payback for the freedoms – or excesses – of the
sixties generation’s experiments with drugs, sex, and spirituality. The
war on drugs, the commissions on pornography, the demonization of cults
were all a nervous backlash against a culture that seemed to be
spiraling out of control. Religion, which had taken a backseat
throughout the previous decade, came roaring back in a more
conservative, fundamentalist form. Protecting the family became an
obsession in the face of perceived threats from feminists and gays,
serial killers, and Roe v. Wade.

We thought we were a nation in decline, unable to deal with racial
unrest and crime, falling behind the Soviet Union in power and
influence. OPEC – who were these little countries that had taken
control of our energy? When Jimmy Carter asked us to wear sweaters and
turn down the thermostat, it was like a slap in the face to every proud

I had not been on the West Coast for long when the Arab oil embargo
began. It was just the first of many indignities that showed us a
nation stumbling with its sense of self. We waited in block-long lines
at the gas pump, not in friendly solidarity but with a seething
resentment. This was the time of locking gas caps and transit strikes.
Students waited on street corners to thumb rides to campus. Unemployment
in the city was the highest in my lifetime. I wandered the streets of
the city looking for a job.   

Then I remember with a quiet thrill watching Carter's 1979 speech to the
nation, the one that became known as the "malaise speech," though the
word never appeared in the transcript. It was the rare attempt by a
politician to tell the truth to Americans, to ask for a sacrifice. But,
like today, America was too fractured to make the effort. Along with the
dismal economy brought on by the oil embargo and the hostage crisis in
Iran, Carter’s heartfelt speech helped to sink his bid for a second
term. Instead, we elected a social conservative who led the
counterrevolution we live in today. Strange days indeed.      

Read more of Walt's writing at his blog:

(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright © 2012 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To
contact Walt, address your emails to    awmi-@verizon.net ).

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