The Farmhouse Pantry

Thursday, October 1, 2009


From Prairie Home Breads by Judith M. Fertig:

In The Midwestern Country Cookbook, Marilyn Kluger remembers her 1930s childhood in southern Indiana before electricity eventually reached rural communities after World War II and the era she described came to an end. Here she recalls the farmhouse pantry.

The pantry next to our kitchen in the farmhouse had a look of delicious plenty. It’s pine-sheathed walls were lined with sturdy shelves that sagged gently under the weight of sparkling jars of garden vegetables, fruits, and jellies, the overflow from the cellar. Deep covered bins for pastry flour, bread flour, sugar, and cornmeal stood along one wall. On the table under the window were flat pans filled with fresh tomatoes from the garden or potatoes from the cellar, baskets of brown-shelled eggs, shiny tin pails of leaf lard, and earthenware crocks brimming with cream-topped milk. On the windowsill bloomed rose geraniums with the scented leaves, and blue-flowered chives.

I have an obsession with old-fashioned pantries. I can just see in my minds eye the 1930’s pantry that Marilyn Kluger describes in this passage. I’m sure I’ve been there but alas that pantry has never been my reality. Currently, my physical pantry is located in my garage. That is actually pretty convenient since the kitchen opens to the garage. I’ve set up stainless steel shelving to hold my overflow, lesser used kitchen equipment as well as my canned goods and large bins and canisters of dry goods and such. It is a system that works pretty well. After all PANTRY (defined as a room or closet in which food, groceries, and other provisions, or silverware, dishes, etc., are kept) doesn’t have to be that step back in time that my minds eye would like it to be. It is purely utilitarian in theory and is really more about what you have stored there than the actual space where the storing is accomplished. If I take a step back from my *ideal*, I can honestly say my pantry has "a look of delicious plenty".

Recently, I was introduced to Catherine Seiberling Pond’s Blog. It is lovely and I have enjoyed reading about her farm life. I have ordered her book In The Pantry and eagerly await its arrival. Look for a review soon and visit Catherine. You won’t be sorry you did.