Cool Culinary Facts

Over the years, New Hampshire chefs have been recognized on a national stage for their innovative techniques, locally sourced ingredients and flavorful cuisine, making the state an undisputed culinary destination. What came before New Hampshire’s celebrated chefs and world-class restaurants? Here are 11 cool culinary facts to nourish your knowledge.

1.  New Hampshire-based Stonyfield Farm may be known for its delicious organic yogurt, but did you know the whole reason they got started in the first place was to fund the founders’ organic farm school? They started with just seven cows in 1983, and now, over 30 years later, produce 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.  Before the refrigerator became a household necessity for storing perishable food items, such as milk and meat, there was the ice box. The Fresh Pond Ice Co., based in Brookline, New Hampshire and one of the world’s largest ice distributors in the 1890s through the early 1930s, kept ice boxes cool with harvested ice from Lake Muscatanapus (now Lake Potanipo). The company ceased operations in 1935 when the facility burned down and the ice business became obsolete following electric refrigeration, although 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.  As textile, wood and paper mills boomed in the mid-1800s, there was an influx of French Canadian workers to New Hampshire. Thus, with a “Little Canada,” a new food culture sprang up in the state, featuring favorites like crepes, poutine and escargot.

7.  Littleton, New Hampshire is home to the world's longest candy counter. That’s right. Chutters offers 112 feet of ooey, gooey goodness.

8.  In 2009, an Italian restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire set the record for the world's largest meatball It weighed in 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!