Toothpick Appetisers and…Jury Duty Penance

Carl’s been called up to do his bit for society.

Not that he has time to.

Seventies Delights!

It’s the second time he’s been called up in less than three months.  A few months ago Carl received in the mail a letter from the Sheriff’s Department letting him know he was required to be at the Court House on a particular date for a three-month murder trial.  Carl knew that as he is self-employed and trying to house, feed, clothe and educate a few expensive dependents, that three months away from his business would cause his business to collapse and see us financially destitute.

He wrote them a letter advising them of these things and asked to be excused.  I told Carl I would post the letter.

Carl was very surprised a few weeks later when a letter arrived from the Sheriff’s Department advising that as he had failed to turn up for Jury Duty he now must pay a $1,200 fine.

That’s when I thought I should probably tell him the letter had slipped my mind and it was highly probable that it was never posted.

But I told Carl not to worry about the fine because I would fix everything by writing that Department one of my very special ‘Dear Abby’ letters.  And I held nothing back in my epistle, pleading our circumstances with great emotion and pouring out why doing Jury Duty would bring us to ruin.  I said that Carl was very willing to do his bit for society but that as he has a few mouths to feed could he please be given a case that is short and sharp rather than something that takes up the better part of a year.

I thought my letter would work like a charm.

We were both stunned when a few days later Carl received another letter from the Sheriff’s Department.  The letter was summonsing him to Court for another three-month trial and stating that if he failed to turn up on this occasion he would be given a $2,400 fine.

What part of my letter did they not understand?

Before Carl left the house this morning I said to him, ‘You’ll be back at work by ten.’  And I knew that because I have been called up for Jury Duty three times and I am yet to see the inside of a Courtroom.  On every occasion as soon as I arrived they told me I could leave.  Once it was because the accused failed to turn up.  Another time the judge didn’t think I looked suitable.  The third time I was told ‘dismissed’ before I’d even properly entered the room.

So Carl arrived and was asked, ‘Can you do a three-month trial?’  (And they should have known the answer to this question because I told them he couldn’t in my Dear Abby letter).  And Carl replied, ‘No’.  And then the man said, ‘Then you can leave.  But we’ll be calling you up in three month’s time for a shorter trial.’

And Carl was back in the office by ten.

Have you ever done Jury Duty?

An Outstanding Appetiser from the 1970’s

After my post, The View From the Staircase, I couldn’t resist making one of these non-gourmet, slightly tragic appetisers.  And I had so much fun!  And Alfie, whose birthday is fast approaching and who was born in the ‘noughties’ thought it was incredible and asked, ‘Can you make one of these for my party Mum?’  He had never before seen a brutally stabbed orange and stared at it with wonder.

And the post brought back a lot of memories for my mother who has been inspired to find all the recipes she used to cook way back when.  In the recipe section of my blog I now have a 70’s section and over the next few weeks I plan to re-visit and share these recipes that deserve a place in history.

And thank you all so very much for all your wonderful comments on that post.  I felt blessed to receive each and every one of them because you all gave me a privileged glimpse into memories from your own childhood.  And a special thanks to Sonia from Life, Love and Hiccups for reminding me that I omitted the 1970’s essential, the pickled onion.

There isn’t really a recipe for this concoction but in case like Alfie you weren’t a part of the ’70’s, here’s what you need:

There’s something here for everyone!

Serves:  Your dinner party guests

Degree of Difficulty:  1/5

Cost:  This appetiser certainly won’t break the budget.  Maybe $10.00 with lots of leftovers for the next occasion.

  • 1 block of cheese cut into cubes
  • 1 small jar of gherkins cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small jar of white pickled onions
  • 1 tin of pineapple pieces drained then dried on paper towel
  • 1 cabanossi cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 glamorous orange, bottom sliced flat to make it ‘sit’
  • Don’t forget the toothpicks!

Place the orange on a round platter.  Gather the toothpicks and stab them into a cube of cheese and then one of either the gherkins, pickled onions, pineapple pieces or cabanossi.  Stab into the orange.  Serve immediately.

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  1. I’ve been called at least 4 times. Most people I know have NEVER been called. When I was in university, I was able to get excused (twice if I remember correctly) because I couldn’t miss my classes. Then I was called and rejected without them having to cite a reason, by the defense, I think, in what may have been a case of assault. Another time, there were more potential jurors called than there were cases requiring jurors, because of last minute pleadings by the accused I assume, and I was released having fulfilled my obligation. The last time I was called was for a trial that was supposed to take at least 3 months. I had had to take a 14 month unpaid medical leave (waiting to have a 2nd hip replacement on the same hip), during which I had to burn through my savings and had just gone back to work a month earlier. As a single person (the sole support of my household) I pled financial hardship and was able to get removed from the prospective juror rolls. So, hopefully, I won’t be called again until I retire. 🙂

  2. Oh cabanossi! I’d forgotten about that stuff.

    I’ve been put on jury duty notice twice, called up once, but the trial was called off before I ever had to attend. Too close to Christmas I think 🙂

  3. I could easily eat one of these right now. Yum ! As a child of the 70’s this one brings back many fond memories. Mostly of Mum’s caftans and late nights. I am busting to do jury duty but have never been called. I await the ultimate 70’s gourmet meal – apricot chicken.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      That’s hysterical. I’ve forgotten about apricot chicken but yes, that is very ’70’s. And correct me if I’m wrong but the apricots weren’t fresh from the tree were they? They were straight from a can if I remember correctly. Priceless!

  4. All I want to say is that out of all the food in the world I could cook skater( teenager) loves cabanossi.
    I have been called up three times for jury duty but on each occasion I have said that I am a sole parent , who has to go to work then come home and pick up my child, I was so scared they would make me do it.

  5. OHHHHHHH THE PICKLED ONION!!!! Thank you gorgeous gal, now this brought a nostalgic tear to my eyes, so many memories in that sour little pickle 🙂
    AND how funny is this, MY carl got a letter from the Sheriff Department telling him he is going to be called up for Jury Duty too! They must be working through the Carls lol. Xxx

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh dear. Good luck to your Carl! Let me know how he goes. Once your name appears under their radar, they don’t seem able to leave you alone. Make sure he remembers to turn up or it’s a pretty huge fine!

  6. I’ve been called three times. The first two were for county court – got seated the first time and dismissed the second (which I found insulting). The third time was for Federal Court, and surprising, I got seated as the only male in a sexual discrimination suit. Pretty boring trial though, but the court room was impressive. Oh … thanks for the goodies.

    Hey – did Carl have to pay the fine?

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Well, true to form, we didn’t receive a reply to the letter. We’re just assuming that as he was called up again and as the fine for not turning up was doubling, that that means the fine has been waived. If that’s not the case I’ll be blogging with an update!

  7. As soon as I saw the pic I immediately thought this was going to be from your parent’s cocktail parties….and later reading, so it was!! It really brought back memories and a smile to my face!! I just recently was called for jury duty, first time in my life! I spent the whole day there, was called and then dismissed!!

  8. I once served on a grand jury. We met one day a month for six months, I think. We just had to decide whether to allow the DA to proceed to trial. We almost always said, sure, send it to trial. It was an eye-opening experience. One, tragic things happen that I wouldn’t have expected in our fairly rural/small town county. Two, some lawbreakers are really dumb. Like the guy who called the cops because he’d been robbed, but forgot that he had drugs sitting out on his kitchen counter.

    And I’m pretty sure that is not an appetizer. It’s an alien spacecraft. Actually, it looks really fun.

  9. Aw! I’ve never been called to jury duty. Btw, I liked you on FB. Come like me on my page!

  10. I have been called for jury duty twice and both times said that I had already made up my mind about the outcome. Funny, I wasn’t picked.

    What about fried bologna sandwiches (done in the waffle-iron)? Or was that just my ’70’s childhood?

  11. We’ve never been called to jury duty.. Oh Ι’m so sorry for your “adventure” with jury duty, I hope that at least they wont call you or your husband again..!

  12. A friend of mine was fined for not appearing for jury duty when the court sent a notice to the wrong address. At the time she was actually registered at a different address and as a law student more than happy to appear. They waved the fee, but this duty always seems to be a burden.

  13. I was just thinking about Carl, I am called for jury duty a week tomorrow and I am not looking forward to it. I’ve been practicing my crazy eyes and uncontrollable tick so I’m hoping it will do the trick. In Canada you are called to jury duty but it is unknown whether you will serve on an actual duty until you get there. You spend hours and days (you must be there 7 days usually) and then they interview you for particular cases. They either like you or they don’t. Then once you have done your 7 days, whether or not you’ve served, you get released. You don’t have to do it again for 2 years. But like Maria, this will be the fourth time I am called. And I’m not happy about it.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I think that system sounds very similar to the one we have here. I just don’t know why they make you come in when you could so easily, over the phone, tell them that you can’t do a three-month trial. They seem to be so inefficient and just waste so much of people’s valuable time. People do want to do their bit for society but they don’t want to be abused. I’m so sorry that you have to go back AGAIN next week. How unpleasant. I would love to see your ‘tick’ and your ‘crazy eyes’ – too funny!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh, and I think you should also tell them you write a blog and your readers EXPECT you to spare no details in the events of your day. That might scare them off! Good luck.

  14. I’ve served on a jury twice and get called about once a year. Last time I tried the self-employed bit because I am, but almost every person was using that for an excuse, so no dice. However, the fact that my dad (deceased) was a judge got me thrown off the last one…hmmmm. I’d completely forgotten about these porcupine apps…so great for kids, too, no wonder Alfie wants one!

  15. I think my Sheriff’s Department thinks I am lying…I’ve been out of the states for 37 years and have missed a few jury assignments! Not that I would mind, if there…

    Cute appetizers!

  16. Gian John Banchero says:

    Now just what in heck is a CABANOSSI? I don’t think we have those here in California… Hmm, cabanossi???? …I have a large collection cook books, most are of modern vintage but a nice portion are from the 40s through the 60s… Without public notice every now and then I do conjure up one of their recipes, some similar to the one you presented, this allows me to enjoy much vilified recipes such as packaged Jello with sliced lettuce and apples mixed in and topped with commercial mayonnaise and maybe a crumble of saltine crackers. Realize that I am a graduate of a culinary school that specialized in France’s high kitchen, go figure!! Love your blog!!!

  17. I used to love those green gerkhins, until my dad trying to be nice squished up some of my medications onto one and made me eat it. Big mistake…things got real messy real fast.
    Beef stroganoff is another 70s classic, and still one of hubby’s favourites 🙂
    I’ve never been called for jury duty, I don’t know if I could be objective enough, I’m too emotional!

  18. I am happy to do Jury Duty, BUT not for a three month trial. I have done one day and when I was asked to be on a jury for a high profile case, I just simply told them I feel like everyone is guilty right now and they excused me LOL. Again, I am happy to do Jury Duty, but not when I am losing money because of it. I just can’t afford too. Love the cheese int he appetizer.. delicious

  19. This looks wonderfully yumm….
    I hope they don’t call u or ur husband again.

  20. Brings back memories. I also remember you could get the pickled onions in red, green and yellow.

  21. Wow!!! It’s a briliant idea for picnic too… I better put it in my list…

  22. Love your 70’s cocktail appetiser. I have done jury duty. It went for a long 3 weeks. We ( the jury) all came down with the flu and I was the only one under 65 years old. The $2000 pay came in handy as i was a stay at home mum then. But the case was soooo boring. Love your blogs.

  23. I almost wish I could have been around in the 70s to make dishes like these. They’re just so gross they’re fabulous!

    I haven’t been called up for jury duty yet. When I said ‘I’ve never been to hospital’ a few weeks later I was in for a week with a kidney infection so I’m guessing I’ll be getting a letter soon.

  24. No matter the quality of exotic foods I’ve made and put in front of my dad, he only ever wants cabanossi and cheese. It’s so depressing.

  25. We don’t do jury duty here in South Africa – sometimes wish we did! The law is beyond corrupt – it’s quite revolting! Onto happier things, love all the 70’s appetisers, they all hold a happy memory in my mind. Think I should have a dinner party with serving all the best the 70’s had to offer.
    🙂 Mandy

  26. Your spiky ball of snacks made me smile, thanks Charlie. Haven’t seen one of those in a very long time! Have you introduced young Archie to Jatz biscuits yet to continue the theme?

  27. I have done jury duty once and it was for a case where the guy was obviously guilty but the prosecution hadn’t produced enough evidence to convict him! I still remember what the guy looked like!

  28. I like your 70’s inspired recipes 😀 They’re all things i’ve never seen before!

    Thank god I’ve never been called for Jury Duty but i think that’s so unreasonable! My sister was called for duty once, but because she works in Hong Kong they just dismissed it. So I’m surprised that they’re so stringent against Carl 🙁

    But at least he got back to work ~ Hope he doesn’t get called again!

  29. I’d *love* to do jury duty… I’ve never once been called. Well, not surprising since I haven’t lived in England for about 9 years of my 11 years of adulthood, but still… other people get all the “fun” 🙁

  30. I’ve never had to show up for jury duty – the one time I was “on call” it was cancelled each time at the last minute. I think I’d enjoy it – but yes, it sure interupts your life. My mother was called to the most notorious murder trial in our county years ago – this elderly lady was accused of chopping her husband up in a meat grinder, can you believe it?! (And she was convicted!) But, thank goodness, they didn’t choose Mom…she’d have either had a heart attack or caused the lawyer to have one, I’m certain!

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