Of tourtieres and toilets

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’d like to find out the correct pronunciation of “tourtiere.” My family members and I are having a disagreement about this.

— Len, no town

ANSWER: Is there anyone in Lewiston-Auburn who doesn’t know what tourtiere is? Probably so, because the Twin Cities are becoming more and more of a melting pot of rich and wonderful traditions from all over the world.

Tourtiere, a delicious meat pie, is often made from ground pork, but sometimes ground beef or veal is used, along with a smattering of mashed potatoes, and onions and spices. The dish originates from the province of Quebec and is most often baked and consumed at the holidays, although many of us eat tourtiere at any time of year!

I called The Dolard & Priscilla Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston and asked for their help with the correct pronunciation of tourtiere (toor-TEE-air).

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Why is it that doctors’ offices and hospitals do not have paper toilet seat protectors in the restrooms? You would think they would have them with all the sick people using these facilities.

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— No name, no town

ANSWER: We don’t see these “protectors” much anymore and I understand your concern. Toilet seats in medical facilities should be the least of your worries, though, because they are probably cleaned more thoroughly and more often than most. Besides, the skin on your bottom is an effective barrier that keeps germs from invading.

If you’re still anxious about this, you can go into hover mode or simply use toilet tissue or paper towels to cushion your tush before taking a seat. You can also invest in your own protection. Charmin makes a “to-go” packet of toilet seat covers that costs less than $1 and holds five flushable covers in a plastic case to fit discretely in your purse or pocket. You can find them at Target, Walmart, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Perhaps your local grocery store or pharmacy has them as well.

The thing is, dear one, that toilet seats, no matter where they are, are not the germiest spot in restrooms or anywhere else for that matter. The flush handle, sink faucets, floor, stall door lock, light switch and doorknob are way ickier in comparison to that toilet seat when it comes to nastiness, I can assure you.

If all this info doesn’t want to make you hold it until you get home, remember to always, with no exceptions, wash your hands with soap and water after you go then use a clean paper towel or tissue to protect your hand when you touch the doorknob to exit. When you return home, wash your hands again.

By the way, if you’re curious to know what the most contaminated places in a doctor’s office are, it’s the doorknobs, sign-in pen and furniture in the waiting room.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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