And What I Think About It...
This bit of houseplan was drawn in 1900. It was part of this week's Dover clipart sampler. The full floorplan shows a house with 2-1/2 stories and a full basement. The kitchen is located at the back of the first floor.
Notice that the kitchen has two pantries. The pantry at the head of the back stairs would be a perfect place for canned goods. The pantry at the entry to the dining room would be a good place to keep crackers, cold cereals, condiments, table spices, and all the items needed to set the table.
Earlier this year, I attended a tag sale in an old home that had a pantry between the kitchen and dining room. It was a "butler's pantry", I guess. I didn't photograph it, but it was a short hallway with a floor-to-ceiling cabinet along one entire wall, much like the built-in cabinets in the dining room. It probably functioned as a final staging area for the serving of the meal.
My Grandma Barb had a walk-in pantry off her kitchen when I was a little child, and I remember it smelling like graham crackers. My friends Sammie and Rick have a walk-in pantry in their 100-year-old home in Nebraska. I have lived in some homes that had nice old-fashioned features (such as a laundry chute), but I've never had a pantry.
I could really use a pantry. Even though I have a L-shaped bank of cabinets against 1-1/2 walls of my kitchen, I need some shallow, open shelves, like those in the back pantry in the floorplan above. (Floor-to-ceiling shelves aren't drawn in, but I'm sure that's what was there.)
In my kitchen (in our 1960's ranch house), I keep the cans in one of the lower kitchen cabinets. It's hard to see them and hard to find what I want, and it's hard to reach the ones that are in the back corner on the bottom shelf. If I had a pantry, I'd keep the cans in it!
I don't know why the idea of pantries was given up, apparently over the years between 1920 and 1950. I have been trying for years to think of a way to retrofit one into my kitchen or even into my utility room, but there really is nowhere to put it.
I notice that walk-in pantries are being built into some of the new homes. I'm glad their usefulness is recognized again.