Room by room: The pantry

Room by Room: The pantry

Poet Emily Dickinson would write poetry whilst sitting in her pantry. Her cousin Louise Norcorss wrote:

  "I know (she) wrote most emphatic things in the pantry, so cool, so quiet, whilst she skimmed the milk"

The pantry in my childhood home was big enough for my mother to iron in it! It was the coolest room in the house on a hot summers day. It was also the room that the carcass of the cow would be hung before my dad cut it up for freezing and it was where the milk was separated.

Lots of things can happen in pantries!

This is a fabulous pantry, I would love one like this!! Its not mine, my pantry is not a room, just a series of cupboard and baskets.

We all have different places to store food, some small, some large and some in many different locations. 

I don't own a pantry as such, my food is stored in a variety of places. Whilst a pantry or larder would be wonderful to have, my home just doesn't have the room to fit one and so I have come up with alternatives and made do with what I have. It works for me!

The important factor about having a place to store food is that we don't have to spend half our lives at the grocery store buying food. A pantry is an ideal place to keep the excess canned, bottled and dry goods that we need for our home cooking.


Mrs Elizabeth Ellet wrote in 1857
 "Let there be a place for every article, and when not in use let every article be inits place"


Pantries have been around for a very long time, whilst a little different to modern day pantries, they still served the same purpose, a place to storing food. However with the growth of processed foods and easy access to the supermarket, by the 1950's pantries were on their way out. Women no longer needed to store as much food as they use too, as they could just pop down to the local supermarket and buy what they needed.  When my house was built 40 years ago, pantries were not common in homes, however today most new homes have a walk-in pantry of some description. In fact many modern homes have very large pantries that not only store food, but large appliances etc..


So what should you keep in the pantry?

This is likely to vary from household to household, my pantry includes:

  • Grains and legumes (flours, rolled oats, lentils, bulgur, pearl barley, pastas and rice, couscous etc..)
  • Sugar (white, brown, caster, coconut)
  • Oils (olive, sunflower, veg, coconut)
  • Vinegars
  • Dried beans
  • Spreads (vegemite, peanut butter etc), honey, homemade jams, maple syrup
  • Cans (beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, coconut milk, baked beans, tuna etc)
  • Nuts
  • Sauces (soya, oyster, tomato, Worcestershire,  etc...)
  • Spices and herbs (lots!)
  • Seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin
  • Chocolate (various sorts)
  • Condiments (pickles, mint sauce, mayonnaise, mustard etc)
  • Curry pastes
  • Onions, potatoes, lemons, limes etc.
  • Long life milk/cream
  • Stock
Etc....

The purpose of my pantry is to avoid the supermarket during the week - so when I run out of something I always buy two or three packets (i.e. pasta) so I have plenty of spare!


If you don't have a pantry - an old fashion dresser is a great option (which is what I use) or this cupboard is a clever idea. Picking one up second hand makes it an inexpensive addition to the kitchen. Places like Ikea sell every possible option for storage from baskets to shelving to containers. Places like Pinterest are full of pantry ideas for small to large kitchens. Find what works for you and start to stock.  If you don't have much of a pantry, start by adding one or two items each time you do the shopping, e.g. buy several packets of rice or beans. Look out for what is on sale as this will help with the cost.

And don't forget to clean out your pantry at regular intervals, it is amazing what is hiding at the back trying hard not to be found!




*****

Comments

  1. A pantry is wonderful...and the pictures you have are beautiful. We enlarged ours a few years ago...and love it.... and would enjoy enlarging it again. :) Are they ever really big enough? :)

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    1. No they aren't !!!! I know people who have converted their laundry into a pantry !!

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  2. I love this period! Found your lovely post at The Not Just Homemaking Party.

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  3. Hello Jo, I think this was so good! I am so thankful for my small pantry; and you are right about having enough so we do not have to run to the store everyday! I wish that all homes had a built in pantry.A wise woman really needs to have this kind of storage. Hugs, Roxy
    I also enjoyed the poem...

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    1. I can never understand people who have very little food stored and have to make multiple trips to the supermarket (not my favourite place to visit). It's just a waste of valuable time :) have a lovely weekend .

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  4. Having a practical pantry with lots of supplies is so important if you like to cook and bake from scratch - I am so thankful for my pantry! :)

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    1. Whilst I would love a pantry - what I have works (I have had to be creative!!) so that is all that matters :)))

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  5. I have a tiny kitchen, but it has a pantry, which is a huge blessing!

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    1. My kitchen is small and I do have a very well designed cupboard which does a great job but it isn't quite like a walk-in pantry. Regardless what I have works!!

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  6. I love, love, love that first pantry. And always dreamed that my own home would have one... But.... it doesn't =)
    Still, what I have works, and I am thankful for a warm kitchen (in winter especially) and glad to have a place inside, that I can prepare yummy food in!
    love,
    Bets

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    1. I will never have a pantry like that either but what I have also works !!! We make the best of what we have :)))

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  7. I would love a pantry like the top photo, but then who wouldn't. I have a small indoor pantry cupboard but my husband also closed in some of our car port and turned the small room into another pantry. I keep a freezer and fridge out there, and all my preserves go on the shelves. We need more shelves but that will come over time. I also like to keep my home brew and ginger beer there, but if the lids blow it can be messy. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays.

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    1. My mother once stored the ginger beer in the linen cupboard (when we're children ) and you can guess what happened one summer!!!

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    2. Yes, that must have been fun to clean up (not). Blessings

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  8. I have pantry envy! I have always dreamed of a walk-in pantry. At the moment, I have no pantry at all, which means pantry items are stashed in all different cupboards. One day!

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    1. Jayne, I think we are in the same boat - I also have pantry envy and will always have it as I will never have a walk-in pantry!!! I bought an old-fashion dresser for storing food and that is working really well (and looks nice too) and have use baskets for storing things like additional bags of pasta and rice. It works quite well, but I sometimes discover that I have lots of something as it was hidden away and not seen!!

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  9. Visiting from The Modest Mom. What an awesome post, I would love to have a big pantry too! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by - it seems to be a common desire to have a large pantry!!

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  10. I am so thankful for my walk-in pantry. Lovely to store extra dishes and appliances in too. We also keep what we call our "Y2K" (remember that?) storage downstairs, so we have extra in case of big snowstorms and lack of transportation, etc.
    My grandparents had a lovely pantry, which I remember smelled so good. I loved going into it, and seeing all the fun things we didn't have in ours (like peppermints and other candy!).

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    1. Fortunately we don' have extreme weather so don't need to store too much food for emergencies, but I do like to have enough that i can avoid the shops for the entire week, longer if I really need to. I loved my parents pantry, it was full of surprises and because it was cut into the side of the hill, one wall had rough stone which was interesting for a young girl!!

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  11. I love your idea about using a repurposed dresser. I have a nice sized pantry right now, but we are considering downsizing to a smaller home, so your idea would be a good solution! Stopping by from Small Victories Sunday.

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    1. I bought one that wasn't overly expensive and from the 1940s (so war time and not fancy - more rustic) and I love it - I have all my glass canisters on display and have found it very useful.

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  12. We have two pantries now... one formerly the "only" one... and our new next-to-the-fridge fancy one :). We got tired of not having enough space for all the kitchen supplies.

    {Pinned and Visiting from #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup - hope to see you link up again!}

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