The Art of the PantryI wish I could say that I have a beautiful pantry worthy of hi-res photography in a glossy lifestyle magazine. Sadly, my pantry is anything but picture worthy. However, it’s full of fabulous ingredients. Some I use occasionally, others I use nearly every day. I love to discover new and wonderful treats that can accent or anchor my menus like Spanish Marcona Almonds, authentic White Tuna packed in oil from the Bay of Biscay, or Orecchiette Pasta made famous in Puglia, Italy (also famous for trapping all the wonderful sauce bits in its indentations). I love to find just the right aromatic element to add vibrancy to a flavor profile, like Horseradish Mustard, Sea Salt Preserved Capers, or Organic Orange Blossom Honey from Italy. My pantry also has items that don’t require starting from scratch, like Palmier Mini Elephant Ear Pastries, and Dulce de Leche with Chocolate Sauce. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate both the subtle and startling differences between artisan, hand crafted, and small batch pantry items compared to their bulk food brethren.

For the record and by way of a little history, the “Pantry” was at one time a dedicated room, distinctly designed for a particular stage of food preparation and clean up. The kitchen was for cooking, while food storage was done in a separate storeroom. According to Wikipedia, food preparation before cooking was done in a larder, and dishwashing was done in a scullery or pantry, depending on the type of dish and level of dirt. Sounds very Downton Abbey doesn’t it? Since the scullery was the room with running water, it had a sink, and it was where the messiest food preparation took place, such as cleaning fish and cutting raw meat. The pantry was where tableware was stored, such as china, glassware and silverware. If the pantry had a sink for washing tableware, it was a wooden sink lined with lead, to prevent chipping the china and glassware while they were washed. In some middle-class houses, the larder, pantry and storeroom might simply be large wooden cupboards, each with its exclusive purpose.

The pantry is making a comeback as part of a resurgence of nesting and home-keeping since the late 1990s. It’s one of the most requested features in American homes today, despite larger kitchen sizes than ever before. There is a charm and nostalgia to the pantry, as well as a practical, utilitarian purpose. The modern day pantry is for non-perishable foods that are easily accessible from the kitchen for items used both regularly and occasionally.

In our quest to inspire and simplify your life in the kitchen, TheBrownLounge.com has partnered with ChefShop.com to offer you a convenient and easy way to perk up your pantry with some of the specialty, artisan, and hand crafted ingredients that make our menus so vibrant. Check out Holly’s ChefShop Pantry to see some of my favorite things! Best of all, you’ll get 8% off your first order when you use promo code “Brown” at checkout!