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An authentic pantry from the 1940s featured in a farmhouse in the Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham, UK. Picture © North News & Pictures Ltd.
The History of the Pantry
European settlers brought the pantry to the Americas. Some early American kitchens incorporated pantries in the form of open shelves, while others had separate rooms that were like large walk-in cupboards. All were basic and utilitarian – useful rather than beautiful. Other homes took a college-dorm-room approach and lacked any dedicated area for food storage.
The 20th Century - Today
A modern version of a streamlined walk-in pantry features open shelves and cabinets. Picture: Pinterest.
During the next century, kitchen cabinets became increasingly popular although larger homes continued to incorporate separate pantries. Indeed, this was a worldwide phenomenon in the so-called Western world (and particularly on farms), probably until at least the 1950s. From the 1960s, floor-to-ceiling cabinets became commonplace in American kitchens. And from the 1990s, the separate pantry became popular again. In fact, a survey carried out by the National Association of Home Builders in 2005 stated that walk-in pantries were the leading kitchen feature homeowners requested!
An original Hoosier Cabinet. Picture: Wikipedia.