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Other People's Pantries #129

From Amy (Creative Space) in Petersburg, Virginia:

I envy others' pantries, because of their interesting organizational practices and inspired architecture. Mine is quite straightforward. Your blog has inspired me to re-organize, and these are the fruits of that labor.


The first picture is of the pantry in its entirety. Our house was built in the early 1800's, and this room was part of the second renovation in the long life of our house. Our sits on a park and was moved to its original location by mules. They somehow maneuvered the house onto logs and pulled it over two lots. The kitchen and bathrooms were all added after this, and after a fire, years of standing abandoned, and two more renovations, we bought it and gave it the latest changes.

The previous owners renovated in the late 1960's and made this room a breakfast nook, emphasis on the nook. There were teal and black asbestos tiles on the floor, the walls were white, and incredibly high cabinets were attached to the left side, opposite the window. It remains a mystery how they fit a table and chairs in there. We tore everything out to install a pantry at the back. My husband made the butcher block counter along the side where our coffee maker, toaster, and dog treats reside. The tile was peeled away to reveal beautiful wood floors in perfect condition.

(Yes, that is dog kibble scattered on the floor. My toddler busted through the baby gate to fling dog food around seconds before the picture was taken. I probably should have vacuumed, but well...life happens.)


These shelves are reserved mostly for my baking supplies and a fondue pot that doesn't fit in the kitchen. My main pantry supplies reside here, the items that I reach for most often. I've read on your blog about the systems in place that people have for remembering what supplies they need to buy for their pantries. I don't have the dedication to make a system stick, so I keep a pen and paper handy beside the place where my cookbook sits in the kitchen and when something gets low, I just jot it down on the paper. Eventually the list becomes the grocery list for the week.


Here is a view of one of my obsessions: cookbooks. And this was taken after I carted two bags of cooking magazines to recycling and donated a third bag of books to the library. What can I say? I am easily influenced by glossy photos of perfectly presented food.


This is the thing I'm most proud of at the moment. I cleared off these shelves in anticipation of canning tomatoes this summer. I am new to canning, but as the cook in the family, I'm trying to avoid cans as much as possible to cut down on our ingestion of BPA. Also, I'm trying to buy fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat from local and organic farmers. Finally we have some options in our area, and patronizing the local farmers markets is a priority of the week. Through our local farm stand, I'm getting a bushel of tomatoes this week to can over the weekend. Luckily my mother will be in town to coach me (and to lend a helping hand) through the process. After it's finished, I'm certain to be good and ready to shoot off some fireworks myself.


[A few weeks after Amy sent her photos, she sent this last one, with the following note.]

I wanted to share the fruits of my canning efforts over the fourth of July holiday. I must admit that I was disappointed by how few jars I ended up with, and as you can see from the empty jars in the picture, I expected quite a bit more. However, since it was the first time I had used my brand new canner and I am a novice in all respects to the process, it was fortuitous that my farmer friend forgot to set aside the bushel of Roma tomatoes that I had requested. I have 7 quarts and am pleased with the results.

I also forgot to explain the mysterious items on the top shelves. The pile of foil baking pans are for baking treats for friends and neighbors and for mailing to family far away. I always have something on hand that I can give away so that I don't have to worry about getting my pans returned.

The plastic bin at the very top is full of small glass jars. I've been collecting the random small jar that crosses my path for the last couple years and keeping them. At the time, I had no idea what I would use them for, but I'd wash them out and put them away in the pantry. Lo and behold, we are now contemplating (I haven't gathered enough fortitude to actually begin) cleaning out and organizing the basement. The jars are perfect for holding screws and nails and other small hardware that needs to be organized and protected from our damp old fashioned cellar. So I guess my random collecting wasn't so random after all.

On Saturdays, for more than two years, we've been peeking into Other People's Pantries all around the world.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


simply fantastic.

What a lovely pantry!

I loved helping my mom and grandmother can every summer. We canned tomatoes, pears, and bread & butter pickles. I wish my Boston kitchen had room for canning supplies!

Thank you! Candy-I think my canning supplies take up more room than the finished jars do. Luckily I had no idea it would work out that way before I started. When I came home with my canner and a large stock pot in which to blanch the tomatoes, my husband's first words were "where are you going to put that?" (I'm still trying to decide where to put it all, but I can't wait to can some more.)

Wow, I think you could be me a long time ago: we seem to share aesthetics and aspirations (I even live nearby, in Williamsburg). Except I never had any of the energy you have! ;)

What a great space!! I'd love to play with that much storage! The floors are gorgeous.

We lucked out with the floors in this house. Despite the fire (and you can still see the scorch marks underneath some of the cast iron radiators) all the floors were in excellent shape. Now why the previous owner decided on asbestos tiles and burgundy shag carpet, I will never know.

Leah - I agree that it takes a huge amount of energy and commitment to renovate, but we are so pleased with the results. Especially since we did almost all of the work ourselves. And we still have more to do!

Lovely, lovely. Thanks for sharing. I have created several notebooks for recipes - one for fish/seafood, chicken/mean, pasta/soups/stews, desserts. It has really helped me keep from heaping up newspapers and cooking magazines!

Can-Can - that's a great idea! I just need a minion to help me tackle the daunting prospect of all those magazines.

Your obsession is my obsession; cookbooks,
that is. As for my pantry, it's a constant
work in progress. Thanks for sharing!

Your pantry looks nice and organized. And I love the idea of collecting small glass jars -I'm as guilty!
I try to keep a dry-erase board to write down the inventory of my pantry and fridge. It works for me!

Fantastic house and pantry it sounds and looks like.
Your foray into tomato canning was probably just perfect. You be some much more experienced next time.

Love old houses with history! Your pantry has many many tales to tell of past meals and sharing. Keep up the canning! Thanks so much for sharing. PS Sorry I am late to drop by, I was helping cater a wedding of 150 guests yesterday.

What a rich history your house has! And what a lot of work you have done. I love that you kept it real with the spilled kibble. Thanks for sharing!

wow -your house has quite a history.

You have a nice pantry indeed - the cabinets and pulls look remarkably similar to mine. And that is the exact way I make my grocery list.

I think you have to work up to canning a bushel of anything. I worked in half bushels for a few years :)

WOW!- great entry - great writing. Keep on canning - although I don't do it myself I like to consider myself a cheerleader for people who do.
I also collect cookbooks (it is completely out of hand, numbering in the hundreds - yikes) and like you appear to be .. busting out of the kitchen bookcase. I committed to a full dining room bookcase and a spare room bookcase. It did loosen up some real estate in the kitchen!

I love your door pulls. Can you give me a link to them?? I want some!

Thank you, everyone, for the very nice comments!

Sandra - my husband ordered the door pulls from a custom kitchen shop in Stanton, VA. He is currently trying to remember exactly where so I can give you the link. He thinks that Home Depot and Lowe's might offer them now.

Carol - I am impressed with your commitment to your cookbook collection! If my dining room wasn't full of my crafting pursuits (in addition to the typical dining paraphernalia) I might follow your lead. ;)

Homegrown - I can never keep up with the kibble spills. Between a greyhound that's a lazy chewer and a toddler who is fascinated by the stuff...

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