A pantry is a room where food, provisions or dishes are stored and served in an ancillary capacity to the kitchen. The derivation of the word is from the same source as the Old French term "paneterie"; that is from "pain", the French form of the Latin "panis" for bread.

In a late medieval hall, there were separate rooms for the various service functions and food storage. A pantry was where bread was kept and food preparation associated with it done. The head of the office responsible for this room was referred to as a pantler. There were similar rooms for storage of bacon and other meats (larder), alcoholic beverages (buttery) known for the "butts" of barrels stored there, and cooking (kitchen).

In America, pantries evolved from Early American "butteries", built in a cold north corner of a Colonial home [more commonly referred to and spelled as "butt'ry"] , into a variety of pantries in self-sufficient farmsteads. Butler's pantries, or china pantries, were built between the dining room and kitchen of a middle class English or American home, especially in the latter part of the 19th into the early 20th centuries. Great estates, such as Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina [] or Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio [] had large warrens of pantries and other domestic "offices", echoing their British 'Great House' counterparts.

Butler's pantry

A butler's pantry or serving pantry is a utility room in a large house. It is usually located adjacent to the kitchen or to the wine cellar and usually contains counters ("benches" in British English) or tables and sinks and may or may not be used for storing food.

Common uses for the butler's pantry are storage, cleaning and counting of silver [European butlers often slept in the pantry as their job was to keep the silver under lock and key.] The wine log and merchant's account books may be kept in the butler's pantry. The room is used by the butler and other domestic staff; it is often called a butler's pantry even in households where there is no butler.

The Hoosier cabinet

"Main article: Hoosier cabinet"

First developed in the early 1900s by the Hoosier Manufacturing Company in New Castle, Indiana, and popular into the 1930s, the Hoosier cabinet and its many imitators soon became an essential fixture in American kitchens. Often billed as a "pantry and kitchen in one," the Hoosier brought the ease and readiness of a pantry with its many storage spaces and working counter right into the kitchen. It was sold in catalogues and through a unique sales program geared towards farm wives. The popularity of the Hoosier would herald a gradual shift towards increased cabinetry and workspaces in the American kitchen until they, like the pantry, became all but obsolete. Today the Hoosier cabinet is a much sought-after domestic icon and widely reproduced.

The Asian Pantry

Traditionally kitchens in Asia have been more open format than those of the West. The function of the pantry was generally served by wooden cabinetry. In Japan a kitchen cabinet is called a "Mizuya Tansu". A substantial tradition around wood working and cabinetry in general developed in Japan, especially throughout the Tokugawa era. A huge number of designs for Tansu (chests or cabinets) were made, each tailored towards one specific purpose or another.

The idea is very similar to that of the Hoosier Cabinet above, with a wide variety of functions being served by specific design innovations. See the Tansu page for a more complete listing of different designs and more extensive information.

The Modern Pantry

The pantry is making a comeback in American and English homes as part of a resurgence of nesting and homekeeping since the late 1990s. It is one of the most requested features in American homes today, despite larger kitchen sizes than ever before. There is a charm and nostalgia to the pantry, as well as a practical, utilitarian purpose.

Books on Pantries

Chapters of earlier books, particularly written during the era of domestic science and home economics in the latter half of the 19th century, featured how to furnish, keep and clean a pantry. Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe in their seminal "The American Woman's Home", written in 1869, [] advocated the elimination of the pantry by having pantry shelving and cabinetry come into the kitchen. This idea did not take hold in American households until a century later, by which time the pantry had become a floor-to-ceiling cabinet in the post-War kitchen. During the Victorian period and until the Second World War when housing changed considerably, pantries were commonplace in virtually all American homes. This was because kitchens were small and strictly utilitarian and not the domestic, often well-appointed, center of the home that we enjoy today (or that our Colonial predecessors had). Thus, pantries were important workspaces with their built-in shelving, cupboards and countertops.

In the last chapter of "These Happy Golden Years", Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote a descriptive account of the pantry that Almanzo Wilder built for her in their first home together in DeSmet, South Dakota. It details a working farmhouse pantry in great detail which she sees for the first time after her marriage to Wilder and subsequent journey to their new home.

Pantry raids were often common themes in children's literature and early 20th century advertising. Perhaps the most famous pantry incident in literature was when Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer had to do penance for his getting into his Aunt Polly's jam in her pantry: as punishment, he had to white-wash her fence.

See also


External links

* [ "The Pantry-Its History and Modern Uses" by Catherine Seiberling Pond (Gibbs Smith, Publisher: 2007)] This design book is an unprecedented domestic history of the emergence of the pantry in American homes over the past 300 years.
* [ Everything Pantry is an informational site for kitchen enthusiasts with a fondness for the kitchen pantry. Vintage butler's pantry to modern pantries are covered, including the walk-in pantry and closet pantry.]
* [ Hoosier cabinets on eBay]
* [ Solid wood contemporary Tansu Pantry Furniture and Cabinets at Greentea Design - Information and well photographed collection]
* [ Tubney House History - Dating back to 1479 with some floor plans showing buttery, pantry and kitchen evolution within]
* [ Pantry Design]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pantry — an Bord einer Beryll Yacht Als Pantry wird im deutschen Sprachgebrauch auf Yachten die meist kleine Kombüse oder Anrichte bezeichnet, die auf Englisch jedoch galley genannt wird. Kleine und auf das Nötigste beschränkte Einbauküchen in kleinen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pantry — Pan try, n.; pl. {Pantries}. [OE. pantrie, F. paneterie, fr. panetier pantler, LL. panetarius baker, panetus small loaf of bread, L. panis bread. Cf. {Company}, {Pannier}, {Pantler}.] An apartment or closet in which bread and other provisions are …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pantry — (engl., spr. pänntrĭ, v. franz. paneterie, »Brotkammer«), Anrichtekammer für den Schaffer und Aufbewahrungsraum für das Eß und Trinkgeschirr, auf Passagierdampfern und Kriegsschiffen …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pantry — Pantry, Anrichteraum der Schiffsmessen für die Speisen und zur Aufbewahrung und Reinigung des Tafelgeschirrs …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Pantry — (engl., spr. pänntrĭ), Anrichteraum und Aufbewahrungsraum des Tafelgeschirrs auf Seeschiffen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pantry — (engelsk), spisekammer, anretterværelse på oceandampere og krigsskibe …   Danske encyklopædi

  • pantry — (n.) c.1300, from Anglo Fr. panetrie (O.Fr. paneterie) bread room, from M.L. panataria office or room of a servant who has charge of food (lit. bread ), from L. panis bread (see FOOD (Cf. food)). Sense in English has evolved so far that its roots …   Etymology dictionary

  • pantry — (izg. pȅntri) m DEFINICIJA soba za serviranje prije donošenja jela na stol (na brodu); smočnica, ostava ETIMOLOGIJA engl. ← stfr. panetièrie: soba za kruh ≃ lat. panis: kruh …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • pantry — [n] kitchen storage room buttery, cellar, chamber, closet, cupboard, larder, store room; concept 448 …   New thesaurus

  • pantry — ► NOUN (pl. pantries) ▪ a small room or cupboard in which food, crockery, and cutlery are kept. ORIGIN from Old French paneter baker , from Latin panis bread …   English terms dictionary

  • pantry — [pan′trē] n. pl. pantries [ME paneterie < OFr < ML panetaria < L panis, bread: see FOOD] 1. a small room or closet off the kitchen, where cooking ingredients and utensils, china, etc. are kept 2. a small room between the kitchen and… …   English World dictionary

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