Dear Sun Spots: For the reader who was looking for size 5 shoes: Payless Shoe stores have shoes in size 5. The selection is not as big but there is a good variety. Payless Shoe Store, 550 Center St., Auburn, ME 04210, 784-3275. They are open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. They also have shoes in this size on their Web site at – S.B., Lewiston.

Sun Spots did contact Payless and was advised they carry a nice selection. While not as large as those in the more popular sizes, enough hopefully to give you some good choices.

The reader seeking tourtiere recipes (Sun Spots column): Rite Dube of the Franco-American Heritage kindly provided her personal recipe for column readers.

Tourtiere ingredients: This will make two 9-inch pies. Ingredients: 2 lbs. ground pork, ¾ lb. ground beef, 3 large potatoes, 1 large onion, 1 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ½ tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 recipe pastry for a 9-inch double deep dish pie (X2). (Some prefer to use all pork and no beef. This is a matter of taste but both are very good). Method: Cook onions (chopped fine) in butter until clear, add meats and cook until browned. Cover slightly with water and cook over low heat until water is all absorbed (about 1½ to 2 hours). Drain all remaining fat and liquids. Add spices and mix thoroughly. While meat mixture is cooking, peel and cook your potatoes. When done, mash them as you would for regular mashed potatoes. While potatoes and meat are cooking, prepare regular recipe of pie crust or use ready made pie crusts in 2, 9-inch pans.

When meat and potatoes are cooked, mix the two until thoroughly blended and fill the pie plates with mixture. Cover pies with crust, pinch edges, cut steam vents with fork and baste with milk. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve warm.

Dube notes that the origin of “tourtières” comes from pies made with large birds called “tourtes” until these became extinct. Some say that tourtière recipes obtained their name from the deep baking dish (tourtiere) in which they were baked. Since the disappearance of tourtes, different kinds of meat mixtures especially pork is used in this dish. The pig was a very important animal on most farms in Quebec. Some recipes call for a mixture of ground pork and ground beef or ground veal. The most popular of these is all pork. It is a meat pie which originated from Quebec.

The tourtière is a traditional Christmas and New Year’s Eve dish with all Franco-American families, but it is also enjoyed and sold in grocery stores all year. When families returned from Midnight Mass, there was always a big celebration called a “Reveillon,” and tourtiere was always a main dish at these gatherings.

This kind of pie is known as “paté à la viande” (literally meat pie) tourtiere is not exclusive to the province of Quebec. It is a traditional French-Canadian dish served by generations of French-Canadian families throughout Canada and all New England states, where many immigrated to. It is a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation and continues to be one of the favorites and most popular typical Franco-American meals. Enjoy. – Rita Dube, Lewiston.

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