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The Sweetie’s sister died last weekend after a long illness. She was honest, had a warm heart, a dark wit, and could break the intensity of any situation with her humor and a droll comment. As a child, her favorite spot was upstairs, on her bed, reading a book. She served in the military, wrangled customers standing in line at the Post Office, and rocked the slot machines. She loved and was loved by her children, her grandchildren, her siblings, and her friends. Rest in peace, Mary.
Let the Mystery Be, Iris Dement
The blue postcard arrived in the mail: “You have been selected for jury duty.” I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but I did not dance a celebratory jig. Boredom, long waits, and the grind of judicial bureaucracy (it took three tries to spell that correctly) immediately spring to mind. While I was not gleeful at the prospect of spending two weeks in a closed room with armed guards, jury duty is one of the rituals of democracy that acknowledges the common sense of an ordinary citizen and counts on participants to keep an open mind—if called, I should serve.
I expected bumbling, and found efficiency; I expected logic, and found 200-300 people called with parking spaces for 100; I expected indifference from clerks and judges, and found gratitude expressed to citizens who served and enthusiasm for the judicial process; I expected lawyers with rolled eyes and barely concealed boredom, and found two articulate men willing to engage in an exchange of ideas and a woman judge who addressed everyone with respect.
On the first day, within an hour the clerk called my number, lined up the green badges (in numerical order), and marched us to a second floor trial room for jury selection. My green badge group included an Army veteran, a baker, a musician, a Customer Services Complaint Specialist, a tow truck driver, a forensic scientist (who was excused), a State Patrol officer (who was excused), one person who was between jobs, a preschool teacher, and a pastry chef—a collection of strangers with a common purpose.
I expected a frivolous civil suit involving hurt feelings or a property dispute, but the criminal case before us involved violence and theft. Not to be too Law and Order, but the future of a living, breathing person depended on the people in that room. Both the prosecution and the defense explained voir dire, asked pointed questions to the panel about the morality of self defense, the quality of American justice, the reality of race/gender-based bias, and admonished us to pay attention and not let our minds wander (my mind was wandering, though, and I didn’t get the last part). My number was not called, the judge excused me, and I surrendered my badge, with instructions to return to the jury assembly room the next morning.
Thanks to Ali and Inger for these good-enough-to-eat-first holiday dishes.
Zahand family corn pudding
- 16 oz. Green Giant whole kernel corn
- 16 oz. Green Giant cream corn
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 stick Imperial margarine
- 1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
Melt margarine. Pour all ingredients into large mixer and mix thoroughly.
Pour into 10×10 pan or 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 325°For 60 minutes or until knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.
Cover immediately and serve as soon as possible.
Broccoli cauliflower casserole
- 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tblsp. Grated Parmesan (divided)
- 2 Tblsp. Melted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (divided)
- 16 oz. package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
- 16 oz. package frozen cauliflower, thawed
- 2 Tblsp. Butter
- 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 2 Tblsp. flour
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix bread crumbs, 2 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese, melted butter, and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning in small bowl. Reserve.
Cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
Melt 2 Tblsp. Butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, remaining 1 tsp. Seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper. Add milk, cook until it thickens and is bubbly.
Cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Add vegetables, toss gently to coat. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with crumb mixture.
Bake 40 minutes, or until heated through and top is lightly browned.
- 2 small oranges chopped
- 1⁄2 c. orange juice
- 1 # cranberries
- 2 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. chopped apple
- 1⁄2 raisins or Craisins
- 1/2 chopped sweet onion
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 T. minced fresh ginger
- 1⁄2 t. cinnamon
Combine oranges/cranberries/apple/raisin/onion mixture with orange juice, vinegar, white and brown sugar, fresh ginger and cinnamon in 4 qt. saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20- 25 minutes.