DEAR SUN SPOTS: I know this is last minute, but I wanted to share with all you great Maine cooks out there that the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook is inviting everyone to submit your favorite family recipes, food stories, photos of family and friends cooking and eating together, and handwritten recipe cards. These items, as many as you would like to submit, will be gathered together into the book along with historic and contemporary Maine food photography and illustrations.

According to the website, “the book will create a beautiful testament to cooking in Maine, by and for our amazing food community, and will surely become a treasured gift of Maine’s Bicentennial celebration for everyone who loves to cook, or eat.”

— No name, no town

ANSWER: The deadline is Jan. 10 to submit. Before you do, be sure to read all the fine print and make sure you understand it. You can find the form here:  .

If you just want to buy a copy and support the making of this cookbook, there’s a Kickstarter crowdfunding page to preorder. Find more information here:

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I had some delicious peanut butter fudge at Christmas and the experience reminded me of how much I like it! Do you have a recipe to share?

— Elaine, no town

ANSWER: This brings back a good memory of my mom making peanut butter fudge for us kids on snow-day afternoons. It was such a treat! Here is the Marjorie Standish recipe I use. It makes a lot and is a real winner.

Stir together 1 pound sugar, 1 pound brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt with ¾ cup milk in a large saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and allow to boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in 18 ounces chunky or smooth peanut butter (not the natural kind), 1 (7½ ounce) jar Fluff, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour into two well-buttered 8- by 8-inch glass pans (or line the pans with parchment paper). Allow the fudge to set until hard before cutting into squares.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: A baggie containing an upper partial denture plate was left in my white Kia Soul in error (probably mistaken for another similar car in a parking lot) and I’d like to reunite it with its owner. Could you put the word out? I can be contacted at 782-3824. Thank you.

— Paul, no town

ANSWER: Well! I’ll love to hear the rest of this story!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I really love winterberries and have noticed how prolific and lush they are this year. I never see any birds or animals eating them. Are they poisonous? I didn’t think they were.

— Aggie, Norway

ANSWER: This species of holly that looks so beautiful against the dark green firs and white snow of winter are a food source for over 40 species of birds, while  moose, deer, and rabbits like to munch on the stems and leaves. If you really keep an eye on any bushes you have near your home, you’ll eventually see some activity.

Those bright red berries that look so festive are toxic to humans, however, so keep them away from children.

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 [email protected].


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