A food blog from NHPR news, digital, & programming staff, exploring food & food culture around the state & the New England region. On-air features air Thursdays on All Things Considered and Saturdays during Weekend Edition.

Michael Samuels


Some predict we're on the verge of a 'coffee revolution' here in NH, and a small Bedford-based roaster is leading the charge.

Jackie Newgent RDN, CDN via Flickr/CC -

Chances are at least a few of us have once again vowed to eat healthy in the new year. And, chances are, those of us who have made that resolution will run into a big challenge: how do you eat healthy when you're eating out?

Susan Laughlin of New Hampshire Magazine has been pondering this very question, and she has some encouraging tips - mostly related to soup.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

This month for Foodstuffs I’ve been talking with New Hampshire bakers about what they do at the holidays. This week, it’s my turn. And I’ve got a very special baker working with me - my two year old son, Owen, who has a special message for you:  “Hello, people! I’m making cookies people!’

courtesy Erin Gardner/Wild Orchid Baking

This month on Foodstuffs we've been focusing on baking, and we wanted to make sure to talk with Erin Gardner of Wild Orchid Baking in Dover.

mutant log via Flickr/CC -

Temperatures are set to reach the single digits this week in Durham, home to the main campus of the University of New Hampshire - but at least one house in town will be plenty hot.

Durham town administrator Todd Selig says he won himself a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce in a friendly wager with Hammond, Louisiana mayor Mayson Foster. The wager was over last weekend's football playoff game between the UNH Wildcats and the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions - a game, it should be noted, that was played in a venue called Strawberry Stadium.

This month in Foodstuffs we’re talking to bakers, and today we talk with a woman in Manchester who bakes for charity.

Since 2007, Martha May Fink has used bake sales, physical and online ones, to raise tens of thousands of dollars for charities that address hunger – and all in her spare time, nights and weekends.

She talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about how she started her bakesales, and her tips for baking during the holidays.

For many of us the science of chocolate begins and ends with that great literary and cinematic candyman, Willy Wonka, who insisted chocolate was only best when it was churned by waterfall.

Of course, Wonka lived in the world of pure imagination, but the science of chocolate is pretty interesting in this world as well, as a group of Granite Staters found out in a recent "Science on Tap" event in Manchester.

Brady Carlson

All this month Foodstuffs is looking at baking – something many of us do around this time of year. And we’ll meet a range of people who bake at the holidays for a range of different reasons. For some innkeepers and bed and breakfast operators in the White Mountains, baking cookies is good for tourism.

That’s the idea behind the annual Inn to Inn Holiday Cookie and Candy Tour, which takes place December 14th and 15th.

Diettogo1 via Flickr Creative Commons

Admitting to eating a bowl of cereal for dinner is like disclosing that you are lonely, lazy, or waaay to busy. Similarly, not having the whole family sitting around the table for a hot dinner of protein, a vegetable, and dessert feels like some kind of failure. When did how and what we eat become codified as right, proper, and essentially American?  How did factory work, television and advertising shape the varied diets carried by centuries of immigrants into the breakfast, lunch and dinner most of us eat today?

Abigail Carroll is a food historian and author of Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, which explores the history of America’s eating from the Colonial era to the present.

puzzler4879 via flickr Creative Commons

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and every year around this time, our thoughts and stomachs go out to food. Long before deep fried turkeys, gelatinized cranberry sauce, and boxed stuffing there was the inaugural Thanksgiving feast at the Plymouth plantation. So what was on the table that day? Abigail Carroll might have an idea. She’s a food historian and author who has studied the Colonial and Native American diet extensively. We spoke with her earlier this month about her new book,Three Squares: The Invention of The American Meal.

New Hampshire’s food system is growing and changing, and that means old jobs are evolving. Farmers, for example, are doing marketing and media along with planting and harvesting. And there are new jobs in the food system as well, including this one: Hotel Beer Master.

Rachel Rohr / Courtesy UNH

One of the challenges apple growers face is a fungal disease known as apple scab. New research at the University of New Hampshire might yield a better approach to preventing its spread – an approach, by the way, that includes the use of special imaging cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as UAV’s or drones.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons:

Portsmouth has long been considered one of the state’s food hotspots, and with Restaurant Week Portsmouth getting underway, we thought it was a good time to check in on Portsmouth’s food scene - a scene that got a huge boost in the 1970's from a chef called James Haller, who founded the Blue Strawbery restaurant.

In the spirit of thinking about how we eat over what we eat, a team at Cornell University conducted a study to see how we can make the buffet—that most tempting and often fattening arrays of food — into part of a balanced breakfast.

Dr. Andrew Hanks is a researcher for the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Halloween is upon us, and Granite State Candies, a third generation candy shop in Concord and Manchester, has been making custom chocolates for the Holiday even though Halloween is not necessarily the time when shoppers splurge on that special treat.

Disheartened Jack-o-Lanterns
Jason Dean / Flickr Creative Commons

With pumpkin season in full swing, many Granite Staters are enjoying baked goods, snacks, and beverages flavored with this signature fall fruit.  And then, of course, there's the annual rite of pumpkin carving. Weekend Edition host Amanda Loder talked with The Heart of New England e-magazine's Marcia Passos Duffy about how to wring pumpkin flavor out of post-Halloween jack-o-lantern remains.

Aaron Joel Santos / Novus Select via

The scoville scale is used to measure how spicy as pepper or chili is. The jalapeno can have a rating as high as 8,000 units, and for many sensitive palates, that’s plenty. The world’s hottest peppers approach an incredible 1.5 million scoville units – so hot, a tribe in northeast India consumes them for sport. Best-selling science writer Mary Roach visited the Naga tribes to observe their competitive and cultural history with the scorching Naga King Chili.  Roach is author of many books – most recently is Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal… and she wrote about the Naga King Chili for Smithsonian magazine.

thegardenbuzz via Flickr/CC -

When we say giant mushroom, we mean it - a two foot long, 30 pound mushroom found in Salem.

Shaina Gates / NHPR

The Pattersons, Matt and Erin, live off a quiet road in New Ipswich.

Dirt driveway on the left, beige house in the middle, pumpkins on the right.

“So this is it,” says Erin. “This is Lola.”

Lola is the prize of the patch this year. She sits heavy in the garden, bigger than you can get your arms around.

More yellow than orange, the pumpkin is hidden behind a partition of burlap.

lynn.gardner via Flickr/CC -

New Hampshire food has been moving in plenty of new directions lately, but some old traditions are carrying on in this part of the country too, including the church bean supper.

Susan Laughlin is food editor for New Hampshire Magazine; she took part in a supper in Boscawen and wrote about the experience in the October issue. She talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what she expected to see at the dinner and what she found instead.

She Shimmers via Flickr Creative Commons

Fall in New Hampshire means fairs, foliage – and getting out to one of the state's 300-odd apple orchards to pick your own. Elaine Starkey is out at Butternut Farm in Farmington, with her sons and grandkids, to do just that.

"They usually have donuts, but we got here a little late."

'Pick Your Own Apples' now means not just picking the fruit, but also hay rides, corn mazes, petting animals, And enjoying other seasonal products, like cider, pies, and yes, donuts. 

Brady Carlson, NHPR

Organizers expected a nice, somewhat modest turnout for the first try at a New Hampshire Coffee Festival. But then, putting a sign out on Main Street that essentially says “free coffee” has a tendency to over-deliver.

“I literally cried in awe of the turnout and the people coming downtown to celebrate the Coffee Festival with us," promotions committee member Lori Chandler said.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

If you’re looking for an uncommon food experience, very few are as rare as Steam Cream, a small batch of ice cream produced in New Hampshire only once a year.  

Farming...In Space!

Sep 16, 2013

If you think there are too many food deserts in cities across the United States, try finding some fresh produce in outer space.  Naturally, NASA makes sure astronauts living on the International Space Station don’t go hungry, but since it costs about $10,000 to send a single pound of food to the I.S.S., you can bet they don’t see a lot of leafy greens.

That cost is just one reason growing fresh food in outer space is a crucial step in the future of manned space exploration.  Jesse Hirsch is a staff writer for Modern Farmer, where you can find his article, “Space Farming: The Final Frontier”. 

Brady Carlson, NHPR

This time of year is full of food fests, including a preponderance of Greek fests.

Food is, of course, a central part of Greek culture, and as we found at a festival in Laconia, that means a look at the food can reveal something deeper.

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

When it comes to food I can be a bit of a cheapskate. If I can’t tell the difference between two similar products, the first thing I look at to determine which to buy is the price tag. But sometimes, being a frugal shopper means more than picking the right brand – sometimes it’s about getting your hands dirty. 

Take pistachios for example. I always buy them with the shells on.  Why?  Because they’re cheaper. Presumably, consumers are paying extra for the privilege of not having to split a thumbnail cracking them open. But when we asked around the office at our Concord studios, it turned out there were lots of reasons people choose to buy whole pistachios.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

My toddler, Owen, and I agree on most things when we go out for breakfast. We prefer booth seats over chairs, sharing is always encouraged at the table, and we always go for crayons and coloring books when they're offered.

The one difference? He, being two years old, prizes consistency in his breakfasts - the more similar they are to the last breakfast outing, the better. In fact, he doesn't use the word "breakfast" for these trips - "I wanna go out for pancakes," he says. 

Part of the effort to curb child obesity in the US has been to rethink vending machines – in particular, those offering sugary drinks at schools. The theory is that students make healthier choices when they have healthier options in front of them.

And new research from Dartmouth College shows the contents of those machines are changing – less sugar, more bottled water. But not every school is changing in the same way.

Michael Samuels

Now is the time for fresh, local corn, and farm stands are doing a brisk business as summer comes to an end.

The Vault DFW via Flickr Creative Commons

As the summer winds down, so will demand for lobster and its market price. Maine lobstermen are bemoaning low wholesale prices, but far from shore, say New York City’s Lobster Joint, market price today for a roll is $19…a boiled lobster will cost your $34. Today, the crustaceans are coveted, and symbolic of wealth, class, and extravagant living. Not so long ago, lobster was considered lower than the ocean floor on which it dwells. Here to trace its climb up the social ladder from grub for the poor to high-class delicacy is Daniel Luzer, Web Editor at the Washington Monthly. We found his article, “Low Lobster Got Fancy,” in Pacific Standard.