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Jessica is the NH.com Editor and Producer. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Chester College of NE, and a M.Ed. specializing in Adult Education from Plymouth State University. She is happily married and a proud mama of two perfect little boys and is motivated to alert New Hampshirites to the hottest goings-on in the state. Her interests include cracking the spine of a good book, writing, painting and cuddling with her babies on the sofa while some terrible reality TV hums in the background.
NH “Cheese-Food” Recipe Competition!
Monday, January 14, 2013
New Hampshire does macaroni better than Yankee Doodle with a feathered-cap!
Get your sporks ready! NH's Third Annual Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off returns for another helping of cheesy goodness! Courtesy of the Granite State Dairy Promotion, the Bake Off will be held on Saturday, January 19th from 2pm-5pm at the Courtyard Marriott, 70 Constitution Ave., Concord. Judged categories include Best NH Made: Made with 100% milk and cheese from NH dairy producers. Best Traditional: You know, the kind grandma use to make. Any dairy product or brand may be used. Most Creative or Exotic: You name it, as long as its macaroni and cheese based, you can enter it, any dairy product or brand may be used. Finally, Best Restaurant/Café: Open to restaurants, cafes and eateries. Admission tickets are $10 at the door for those hungry patrons who would like to taste their way through the entries and vote for "The People's Choice Award." Kids 10 years and under enter free!
This year, The winner of the "NH Made" category will have his or her recipe prepared by Master Chef Jeffrey Paige, and featured on the menu of Cotton Restaurant in Manchester, NH! The winner of each category will move on for their chance to be crowned the "2013 Grand Champion of Macaroni and Cheese."
In addition to all the macaroni and cheese you can eat, there will be raffles with great prizes. Ski tickets, portable DVD player, NH Made items, a stay at the Inns at Mills Falls, and many more exciting items.
Macaroni has a very elusive history. Pasta origins are attributed to an ancient-culture laundry list including: the Etruscans, the Chinese, the Greeks, and the Romans, as well as the Arabs; and the etymology of macaroni is just as uncertain.
One of my favorite Web sites, the Online Etymology Dictionary (I'm a nerd; what can I say?) dates the word macaroni back to 16th century Mediterranean linguistics, possibly from the late Greek word makaria, meaning "food made from barley." There is also a note regarding 18th century use to mean "fop or dandy" or fashionable, hence Yankee Doodle's stylish headwear!
Yankee Doodle didn't bring our favorite noodle-dish to America, though; Thomas Jefferson did! Jefferson returned home from a visit to France with recipes and a pasta machine and served macaroni and cheese at an 1802 state dinner. Perhaps the greatest spike in cheesy-popularity came from the Kraft Foods Mac & Cheese release in 1937 during the Great Depression. The dish became widely popular and was very affordable since shoppers could get two boxes for one food ration stamp. The original Kraft Macaroni box was yellow and wouldn't become our infamous "blue-box" until 1954, almost two decades later!
As evidenced by the NH Dairy Promotion Bake Off, and popular Food Network TV shows, everyone has their own way of making their macaroni the cheesiest! In 2011, before the very first Mac & Cheese Bake-Off, we asked NH.com Facebook Fans for their favorite Macaroni & Cheese Mix-In recipes, the responses were mouth-watering!
This year we've surveyed again; here are our 2013 Macaroni poll results:
Macaroni: Yellow or white cheddar? Which do you prefer?
This year's clear winner was white cheddar cheese with a 53% preference! Yellow cheddar followed closely though, with 40% of the votes while 6% enjoyed either cheese.
When you make boxed Mac & Cheese, do you prefer the powdered sauce or Velveeta?
Velveeta took the lead with a 67% preference over a 17% tie between a preference for powdered sauce and Annie's Homegrown Brand! During last year's poll, Annie's had been a landslide write-in! Looks like 2013 prefers a saucier mac & cheese!
Do you cook your mac & cheese on the stove-top or bake it in the oven?
The results are in, and this year will be a homemade year indeed! Oven-baked mac & cheese stole the show with a remarkable 83% of the votes! Stove-top mac received 0% preference! The only competitor this year was a write-in for Trader Joe's frozen mad with a 17% preference!
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