Friday, July 03, 2015

Pantries, larders and disappearing words

click photo to enlarge
When I was young the words "pantry" and "larder" were often heard. My parents used both of them, interchangeably, and I knew they signified a small room adjoining the kitchen where food was stored. Only when I was older, and picked up a little French, did I realise the derivation of the words - the pantry was originally the room where bread was stored, and the larder was the store for meat, probably initially, bacon. However, houses gradually stopped being built with this specialised room-cum-cupboard, complete with stone or concrete shelf, and food storage passed to a group of small cupboards in a fitted kitchen. Today, in the UK, we are at the point where pantry and larder are no longer everyday terms.

I was reflecting on this recently when visiting an old house in the care of the National Trust at Canon's Ashby in Northamptonshire. I'd entered a low, basement-level room that had been set out to show how it was originally a food store. I pondered whether it was a pantry or a larder and concluded that it was neither, being too large for such a humble designation. It was presumably chosen as a food store for its cool, cave-like qualities, a place where food suitably stored would have an extended life in the lower temperatures it offered.

The National Trust had set it up quite nicely with a good selection of jars and pancheons. There were even hares and pheasants (presumably stuffed) hanging from joists, and if you look carefully you'll see a couple of rats (also stuffed). The light and subdued colours of the room were very appealing and I came away with a couple of shots that I quite liked, of which this is one.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On