Fun Facts to Feed Your Foodie Knowledge of NH
While New Hampshire is home to a host of premier culinary destinations serving up innovative fare and locally inspired cuisines today—the state’s impressive culinary roots go far beyond the last hundred years. Check out these 11 cool culinary facts and take a bite into New Hampshire’s rich history.
1. While many are familiar with Stonyfield Farm’s incredible organic yogurt, not many know the reason the company was started in the first place. Stonyfield originally began cultivating yogurt in order to help fund the founders’ organic farm school—which was aimed at keeping local family farms in business and growing healthy products. What started as seven cows being used to teach students has now turned into a dairy enterprise, with the farm producing dozens of organic products including milk, cream, smoothies, and frozen yogurt. Bonus fact: Stonyfield yogurt cups are recycled into toothbrushes and razors.
2. French fries may have been born in Belgium, but they were perfected in New Hampshire. The Pitco Frialator, invented in 1918 by J.C. Pitman, revolutionized the art of deep frying and made fries a culinary staple across the United States by finding a way to filter excess food particles away from intense heat.
3. But let’s back up a bit. Without potatoes we wouldn’t even know the salty irresistibility of French fries. Good thing those Scots and Irish families brought them over from Ireland in 1719, and planted the country’s very first potato in Derry, New Hampshire
4. In the late 1800s—before the modern luxuries of electric refrigeration to protect perishables like milk and meat were available—there was the ice box. The Fresh Pond Ice Co., based in Brookline, New Hampshire was one of the world’s largest ice distributors in the 1890s through the early 1930s. Ice from Lake Muscatanapus (now Lake Potanipo) was harvested each year and used to keep ice boxes cool all over the world. The company ceased operations in 1935 when the facility burned down and the ice business became obsolete following electric refrigeration. But fascinatingly enough, artifacts from the company’s heyday were found by a diver at the bottom of the lake in 2010…
5. For over 150 years, New Hampshire’s White Mountain Freezer Company has brought the joy of homemade ice cream to families by manufacturing old fashioned, easy-to-use hand crank ice cream makers, made from New England white pine.
6. Back in the mid-1800s when textile, wood and paper mills boomed here in New Hampshire—an influx of French Canadian workers migrated to the Granite State. Along with them came a strong French culture, introducing culinary treasures such crepes, poutine, and escargot.
7. But let’s get back to the present day. It may surprise you to hear that New Hampshire is home to the world’s longest candy counter! At Chutters in Littleton, 112 feet of counter space makes home to a treasure trove of timeless candies, sweets, and irresistible confections.
8. Speaking of world records—in 2009, an Italian restaurant (Nonni’s Italian Eatery) set the record for the world’s largest meatball at 222 pounds and 8 ounces!
9. Also in 2009, Gourmet Gift Baskets in Manchester, New Hampshire set the record for the world's largest cupcake. The sweet treat was made with 800 eggs, took 12 hours to bake and weighed 1,223 pounds.
10. This one may seem slightly off topic, but don’t forget: behind every morsel of food you eat is a hardworking farmer. And the trusty Old Farmer’s Almanac, based in New Hampshire, has helped farmers with planting recommendations and weather predictions to make food happen since 1792.
11. There’s a steak bomb shop on every corner in New Hampshire. Well, almost. While no can quite pinpoint who “owns” this must-try dish, we can all agree that the steak bomb is to New Hampshire what the cheesesteak is to Philly. The New England version is a delicious hot sub stuffed with steak (some say shaved, some say tips), salami, melted provolone cheese and other fixings like onions, peppers and mushrooms. Enjoy!