The “Pantry”. Rethought, indeed. Not every home has the luxury of a separate room appropriately deemed as “The Pantry”. But alas, small spaces or kitchens that are void of a separate area to store the kitchen essentials of dining and culinary fares must creatively find storage to house the key items and surplus effectively.
“Let there be a place for every article, and when not in use let every article be in its place.”
-Mrs. Elizabeth Ellet, written in ‘The Practical Housekeeper’,1857
Of course, a brief history…
The actual word “Pantry” is termed as “a small room or closet in which food, dishes, and utensils are kept”. The word “pantry” comes from the Old French word “paneterie” derived from the latin word “Panis” and “pain” which is the French word for bread. In Medieval times food and supplies were stored in specific rooms and bread was stored in the “Pantry”. Who knew? Following this kitchen division, during the 17th and 18th centuries colonists in New England built rooms off kitchens for food storage called the “Buttery”. It was during the 1800’s, however, that the era of the “Butler’s Pantry” is said to have begun in England as well as America. The “Butler’s Pantry” was a small pantry between the kitchen and the dining room where china and silver were stored and meals were often plated. Elegance and luxury, indeed.
It is interesting to note that in American’s 1869 Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote in their seminal, The American Woman’s Home, promoting the idea of bringing the pantry into the kitchen with the addition of more shelves and kitchen cupboards. However, that ingenious idea would not be utilized for nearly another century. As a departure from the pantry “room”, it was during the 1900’s the American wooden Hoosier cabinet would become an instant icon in American kitchen and serve as a pantry. Yet in the 1920’s and 1930’s the idea of a “breakfast nook” begins to replace pantries all together in kitchen design, furthering the merge of the pantry with the kitchen. Alas, the brilliant idea of Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe would finally see its formation with extended cabinetry and cupboards in kitchens.
Indeed, the pantry as we know it today has certainly evolved to be housed in a myriad of forms. The pantry today is certainly utilized based upon the surrounds and space that we have within our personal interiors. Although the term “Pantry” includes food storage, it is the display of household basics, such as bowls, china, dishes, glassware and kitchenwares, that my focus is upon. Attractively on view. Whether on view behind glass cabinets, open and exposed shelving or hidden attractively behind a closet door in small spaces, the storage of pantry items can certainly be a creative endeavor that can bring an attractive visual appeal to one’s space. An organized ease of seeing one’s essentials and inspiration to use them more frequently, indeed.
Yet to reiterate, what is stored must be pertinent and essential. To store what is not necessary is simply using valuable square footage. Simply stated…
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak” -Hans Hofmann
Perhaps each year, when the urge hits us to “Spring Clean” after the blur of the holiday’s have passed, we have looked at our collections of dishes and kitchen wares and have realized that edits lie ahead. Yes, less is more. But in the world of culinary fare, there are those that loudly claim more is more. That said, organized, grouped and readily accessible those essentials will most certainly find more use and visual pleasure when attractively set before you. “On Stage”, indeed. Rethink. Edit. And attractively find a nook, a shelf or align those pantry shelves!
Consider the “Pantry”. Whether you are creating a space with shelves or only have room for a simple rolling cart, find inspiration in how to use what you have. Since we only have the space that we have– maximize it! Rethink with an organized format with an attractive and visually appealing presentation, onward! You may just be inspired to entertain and enter the culinary world more often. Remember, edit first. Remove the unnecessary, so that the necessary may speak-And be used!
Cheers to organized entertaining ahead!