AskDefine | Define pantry

Dictionary Definition

pantry n : a small storeroom for storing foods or wines [syn: larder, buttery]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

Derived from the Old French term 'paneterie', related to Latin panis "bread".

Noun

  1. A small room, closet, or cabinet usually located in or near the kitchen, dedicated to food storage. Since the pantry is not typically temperature-controlled (unlike a refrigerator or root cellar), the foods stored in a pantry are usually shelf-stable staples such as grains, flours, and preserved foods.

Translations

Related terms

Extensive Definition

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 http://www.biltmoreestate.com or Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio http://www.stanhywet.org 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, http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/books/book_26.cfm 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

pantry in Czech: Spíž
pantry in German: Speisekammer
pantry in Norwegian: Penteri
pantry in Uighur: كىچىك ئۆي
pantry in Turkish: Kiler
pantry in Russian: Чулан
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