Friday, November 26, 2010

A Pantry In Boston

Widener Library (Wikipedia)
A long time ago we lived in an apartment in a 1920s house in Boston. It had high ceilings, and each kitchen pantry cabinet was so tall that you had to stand on chairs and things to get the dishes down from the top shelves. The floor was red and white linoleum, and there was a funny narrow butler's pantry off the kitchen, the only pantry I've ever had. It was my absolute favorite part of the whole place. Better even than my study, a room with windows on three sides.

My 1920s kitchen had 1920s appliances - no stainless steel kitchen sink for me, but who cared, when there was a special little room full of built-in cabinets, and narrow drawers, and shelves for all the cans and bottles and bags you could possibly want? Why, the kitchen cabinets could just be for dishes and glassware and cutlery. Because the pantry was where all the imperishable food went - if you were lucky wnough to have a pantry, that is.

That year I made gingerbread people that looked like the people I gave them to, and tried to write a thesis about Victorian novels (that did not work out as well as the gingerbread) and wandered around Harvard Square looking in bookstores. And I went to Widener Library to read old 1950s magazines in huge binders, in a particular dark nook with a single table and some chairs - with no kitchen chair pads or indeed any pads at all. I sat at the table with my 1950s magazines, with shelves and shelves of dark books watching me. It was like a pantry full of books, I suppose.  I especially remember one ad about how wonderful sugar energy was for kids - and a pictorial about women coping with kids who looked like sugar was the last thing they needed.

It was a strange year in a lot of ways, and hard too, and it seems like such a long time ago. But that butler's pantry - I can still see it in my mind, even if the rest of that apartment is dim as that odd corner of Widener. I love the kitchen I have now, but still: someday, I'll have a pantry again. I'm quite sure of it.

6 comments:

Blondie said...

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving honey! Make sure to enter my Christmas Giveaway if you haven't already! Today is the last day!

www.blondeepisodes.com

Kori xoxo

Jan said...

The first house I can remember had a butler's pantry (even though we were lacking a butler). After we moved I wanted to know where the butler's pantry was in the new house.

I still want to know why they aren't in houses anymore.

Sarsaparilla said...

That sounds like a dream of a kitchen to me. I hope you get your pantry back again someday!

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend...

Lidian said...

Blondie - Hope you had a great holiday! I'll check it out on your blog :)

Jan - I agree, I think they should be mandatory.

Sarsaparilla - Hope you have a terrific rest of the long weekend! :)

Decades a Go-Go said...

I love Butlers pantries! I so hope my first house has one...as much as I love midcentury stuff, I totally believe it can work in a more historic house... I love contrast and combining different eras...

P.L. Frederick said...

Panties are awesome. So are pantries.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)