Dear Sun Spots: Calling all former Lewiston and Auburn millworkers! We need you. We need your memories!

A millworkers’ reunion will be held Oct. 17 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. You are invited to attend this special event (with one guest) at the Bates Mill Complex.

Anyone willing to donate artifacts such as photos and other memorabilia, should please contact Museum L-A, at 35 Canal St., Box A7, Lewiston, ME 04240, or via phone at (207) 966-2522.

To reserve your spot at the reunion, you will need to call the Bates Mill Store, Monday through Friday between 8 and 10 a.m., at (207) 784-7626. Space is limited, so reserve your place by Sept. 17! And, please spread the word to other former workers. – No Name, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: Thanks so much for an interesting column.

I was wondering if you could please find out what happened to Carter Variety and Mr. Softee next to Subway in Lewiston. There was a sign at one point stating work was going on, but then nothing. I would appreciate your help. – Marie of Auburn.

Answer: Sun Spots has been unable to find out what has happened here and perhaps other readers will be able to fill you and other column readers in on what has taken place.

Dear Sun Spots: I’m sure others could be having the same problem I am. How can I keep romaine lettuce and mushrooms from spoiling so fast?

Also, how often should the briquette in a gas grill be changed? – No Name, Auburn.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, you should note that leaf lettuce and romaine provide flavor and crunch and are excellent salad and sandwich selections.

Lettuce leaves should be free of wilt, rot and rust. Harvest crisp green leaves. Wrap fresh, unwashed leaves in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a few days, if necessary. Cooler temperatures will keep lettuce fresh longer. The coolest part of most refrigerators is usually on the first shelf against the rear wall.

Avoid storing lettuce with apples, pears or bananas. These fruits release ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent, that will cause the lettuce to develop brown spots and decay quickly. Toss lettuce that looks slimy or has black spots. The slime is the residue of bacterial decomposition, and the black spots are usually mold.

Aim to eat lettuce as soon as possible after picking or purchasing it. If you absolutely must store lettuce, leave it whole. Remove any plastic bags to stop it from sweating, and keep it cool and dark in the salad drawer of the fridge.

Regarding mushrooms:

There are several contradictory tips for these. Some recommend storing them in a zip-lock bag or other airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place and not in the fridge. Others recommend covering mushrooms with a damp cloth or keeping them in a paper bag with holes poked in the bag for ventilation. This will keep them dry.

In the meantime, perhaps you and your family will enjoy the following Shiitake Mushroom Sauce with Marsala. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter; 2 tablespoons minced shallots; 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced; ½ cup dry Marsala wine or sherry; ½ cup chicken stock, preferably homemade; ¾ cups whipping cream; salt and pepper. Method: In a large skillet, sauté the shallots in butter for one minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook over medium high heat for two minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Add the Marsala to the pan and cook over high heat for one minute. Add the chicken stock and cook until it is reduced by half. Add the cream and cook over high heat for three minutes or until the sauce is of creamy consistency. Return the mushrooms to the pan, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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