Some Good Pantry Tips
“On high shelves, store boxes on their sides so their labels can be more easily read through the shelf mesh from below.” Lillian Muller of Rogers, AR
"Install a blackboard on the inside of your pantry door to jot down the things you need. Before you leave for the market, snap a photo with your cell phone. Instant, super easy, grocery list." Amy, Christy and Terry at Eleven Magnolia Lane.
What is a Butler's Pantry?
Since 1900 the meaning of the word "pantry" has changed. Today it means a place where food is stored, and usually refers to one or more cabinets or a closet adjacent to the kitchen.
In the late Victorian age the room where food was stored was the "larder". The pantry was a serving area located between the kitchen and dining room. Often it was not much more than a wide hallway equipped with ample countertop space and, commonly, a sink.
Typically the butler would fetch the cooked food from the kitchen, dividing it into serving portions, arrange it on dishware inviting, then serve it. The pantry usually had swinging doors at both ends which helped keep kitchen noise, heat and odors away from the diners.
With the simplification of house design that occurred during the Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century, the butler's pantry was largely eliminated and replaced with built-in cabinetry inside the dining room for storing dinnerware, linens, glassware and silverware — all the things formerly stored in the pantry. Improvements in cooking technology, such as the natural gas or electric cookstove made isolation of the kitchen from the dining area much less important to dining comfort.
Today the tendency is to call any walk-through pantry a "butler's" pantry, but this term is not strictly correct unless it includes a counter-height set-up and serving area, and possibly a small sink. In a modern household, the serving area makes a convenient landing zone for loading groceries into the pantries — at least until you finally get around to hiring a butler.
Some Pantry Terminology
Has nothing whatsoever to do with butter. It is an old English term for a room (or more likely a shed) where food was stored in large barrels called "butts", hence "buttery".
Typically a cabinet or closet just off the kitchen or in the dining room where dishes and serving ware are stored.
A small, room for storing food. Used primarily in Britain to mean pantry. Archaic: a well-ventilated room for storing perishable items. The more modern term is "cold pantry". Read more about cold pantries below.