Taste of Home Cooking School comes to Gilford for big show


GILFORD — Taste of Home Cooking School culinary specialist Amy Zarichnak grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has fond memories of making potato candy with her grandmother.
That's right, potato candy, which is a mixture of mashed potatoes, powdered sugar, milk, a dash of vanilla and peanut butter which is rolled up like a jelly roll and chilled before serving.
Zarichnak took center stage at the Gilford High School auditorium last night before a sold-out crowd of 600 cooking enthusiasts and demonstrated a wide range of recipes recipes including Buffalo chicken lasagna, crepe quiche cups, chilled chicken salad with honey jalapeno vinaigrette, sausage stuffed jalapenos, and sweet and sour pork wraps.
"I was thrilled to share my cooking knowledge with those at the show," she said.
She also remembers the Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl parties of the 1970s and says that when her family moved to a blue-collar rural area where her father had bought a gas station. Her father's idea of success was eating out at a really nice restaurant, many of which were 30 miles away.
"I enjoyed the trips immensely, from seeing new scenery to watching people who were, in my mind, really sophisticated to eating what I considered a very fancy meal. Although in reality, we were just at the hotel restaurant in a Holiday Inn."
She says those trips sparked her interest in food and even though she earned a communications degree at Penn State, after studying and living in England and Ireland, she never really felt that the marketing jobs she had were like a true fit for her.
After five layoffs in five years, she says she got the feeling that "God clearly wanted me to be somewhere else." She had applied to culinary school in 2009 but wasn't able to afford it. When she got a small windfall in late 2012, she enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America, where she graduated in 2014 with a 3.4 grade-point average and was also editor of the student newspaper.
She joined Taste of Home shortly thereafter and is now the Northeast culinary specialist for Taste of Home, doing about 30 shows a year.
"I love the Taste of Home brand. It's so comforting to me because it reminds me of the rural community that I grew up in, everyone sharing recipes and cooking for each other.
The show was co-sponsored by the Laconia Daily Sun and The Concord Monitor and is presented nationally by the National Honey Board, Eggland's Best eggs and the Original Copper Brand cheeses.

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Amy Zarichnak talks to a full house of 600 people at Gilford High School for the Taste of Home Cooking Show last evening. She travels the Northeast presenting about 30 shows a year. (Roger Amsden photo for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Prosecutor: Tell the jury -


MANCHESTER — A jury should know that former Belknap County Sheriffs Deputy Sgt. Ernest Justin Blanchette has been indicted elsewhere for two additional counts of rape against the same victim, said the Hillsborough North Assistant County Attorney who is prosecuting him.

Prosecutor Michael Zaino said in his motion Tuesday that Blanchette, 36, was indicted in Belknap County for two counts of raping the same victim in events that took place before the crime he is trying.

Under most circumstances, "prior bad acts" are not presented to the jury; however, Zaino said in this case it shows that Blanchette "groomed" the victim during those events.

Blanchette faces multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault for alleged sexual actions he took while transporting several different people to and from jails and courts throughout the state. He has not been convicted of anything and is free on $100,000 cash bail.

In Ziano's  pleading, he said that the jury should be able to evaluate on its own whether Blanchette coerced his victim by giving her cigarettes and allowing her to use his cell phone on Sept. 18, 2014, and again sometime in late 2014. Zaino said Blanchette knew these were things she was unable to get while in prison.

During the Sept. 18 encounter, Blanchette transported a prisoner, referred to as "BH," to a dental exam in Tilton. Zaino contends that he allowed BH to use his cell phone on her way there and she called a number of friends and family. Once there, he unhandcuffed her and allowed her to smoke one of two cigarettes she had.

After her appointment, she told police that he allowed her to sit in the front of the transport van without handcuffs. She said he started complaining about his marriage and she said she told him she wished she could have sex with her boyfriend.

She said that while in Belmont, he made an abrupt turn down a long dirt driveway to an abandoned house. She told police she thought he was going to handcuff her and put her in the back of the van, so she walked in that direction.

Once at the back of the van, she said he took off his duty belt and placed it in the van. She told police she became uncomfortable and said, "Is this really happening?" to which he allegedly replied, "It could if you want it to."

In her statement to police, she said he kissed her on the lips and then exposed himself. She said the two engaged in sexual intercourse. BH told police she felt that she couldn't say no.

She told police she went to the dentist again in late 2014 and this time Blanchette allegedly provided the cigarettes and allowed her to use his cell phone. On the return trip, she said there was an accident and Blanchette stopped to assist, so there was no time for any other actions. She told police that she was relieved to get back to jail because of what had happened previously.

On July 2, Blanchette transported her from the Belknap County Superior Court to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown. He again provided her with cigarettes and a cell phone. Once in Bedford, she told police that Blanchette drove to an abandoned house, where they again had sex.

"During all relevant times, B.H. believed that (Blanchette) was the boss relative to his position as a sergeant in the (Belknap County) Sheriffs Department and that no one would believe her word over his."

Earlier this month, Blanchette's attorney filed a motion to allow the jury to hear a snippet of a telephone conversation recorded between her and a friend while she was incarcerated that indicated she wanted to have sex with Blanchette because he was "sexy."

Blanchette's attorney confirmed yesterday that they are scheduled to pick a jury on Monday and that the hearings on the pending motions will be heard in the afternoon. The case is being tried in the Hillsborough North Superior Court in Manchester.

Students, GMI join to create walking path at PSS


LACONIA — Thanks to the diligence of the first-grade classes at Pleasant Street School, which was rewarded by the generosity of GMI Asphalt of Belmont, when pupils return from their spring vacation, the playing field will be encircled by a paved walking path where they can keep themselves fit and enjoy the outdoors.

David Levesque, principal of the school, said that the pupils, teachers and parents have been raising funds for three years and the first-graders brought the project to fruition by writing 60 letters, all embellished with illustrations, to GMI Asphalt explaining how by walking every day they would remain healthy and grow strong.
He noted that last year Pleasant Street School was recognized as the healthiest in state and through events like "Walk to School Wednesday," "Taste Test Tuesday," and regular morning recess has sustained a keen commitment to fitness and wellness among its students.

As the walking path was the work of the first-graders, it was their secret until they shared it with the rest of the school at an assembly yesterday. Warren Colby, with Marc Bourgeois, co-owners of GMI Asphalt, and Bourgois' wife, Renay, first met privately with the first-graders and their teachers — Mary Faria, Allison Walls and Caitlin Friend-Rushton — to answer their questions about the project.

"How big is it?" asked one boy. "One thousand feet long and eight feet wide," Colby replied. "What color is it? asked another. "Black," Colby said. "Can we paint PSS on it?" a girl wondered. "That's a project for you to do with your principal and teachers," Colby answered.

Then the pupils walked single file into the gym, spreading themselves across the front row to the applause of their schoolmates. Levesque reminded the pupils of the school's commitment to encouraging sound health and physical fitness, announced the construction of the walking path and expressed appreciation to the first-graders and gratitude to GMI Asphalt. "When you come back from vacation," he said, "it's all yours."

Colby stressed the role of teamwork in bringing the project about. He said that pupils did their part by eating healthy food and engaging in daily exercise and above all by working together to write the letters. His wife said when she opened the packet she spread all the letters out on a table for everyone in the office to see. "You did an excellent job," she said. "Your letters made me come here today." Colby said that company gives something back to the community each year and "the hard work they did and the healthy eating had me sold."

"Hard work pays off," Colby told the pupils. "It's an important lesson."

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Warren and Renay Colby of GMI partnered with the three first grade classes at Pleasant Street School to build a walking path around the playing field where the children, who attend the the school chosen healthiest in the state in 2015, pride themselves on eating plenty of healthy food and getting lots of physical exercise. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)