The history of larders / pantries
While we use the terms “larder” and “pantry” interchangeably these days, historically they are different things.
A larder is traditionally a cool area for storage of food which keeps best at lower temperatures. They have been used for centuries to store provisions such as butter, milk, pastry or meats.
The term “larder” derives from the fact that they were originally used to store raw meat which had been covered in lard (fat) to preserve it.
The shelving and worksurfaces in larders are made of thick stone (usually marble) or slate. These are often constructed into external walls, which stay at a cooler temperature. Original larders are usually found on the north or west sides of the house which get less sun.
Hundreds of years ago, when pantries were first used, they were stores for bread. The word “pantry” derives from “pain”, the French for “bread”. A traditional pantry may also include a stone shelf, sometimes called a “thrawl”, which would be used as a larder to keep food cool.
Over time, pantries became more popularly used for storing tableware, while food was kept in rooms simply called “storerooms”.
In recent years pantries have seen a resurgence in popularity and tend to be used to stock storecupboard foods which don’t perish.
What is a larder cupboard or pantry cupboard?
The design of modern homes and a move to more open plan living has meant that few kitchens now have walk in pantries. But families still need somewhere easily accessible to store food and other kitchen essentials.
Larder cupboards are a perfect compromise for modern living. They don’t require the space of an additional room but can still provide ample storage for even the largest family.
Aside from the practicalities of having a larder cupboard, they also add a beautiful design feature to your kitchen. From the outside they can blend in with your other cabinets, but when you open them, they reveal a cornucopia of elegant storage features.
Storage within a larder cupboard
Larder cupboards can be configured in many ways to suit your storage requirements. Here are just a few of the features which can be incorporated:
Easy “at a glance” storage, particularly useful for larger items.
Pull out drawers or baskets
Shallow drawers are any easy way to find smaller items such as herbs. Deeper drawers or baskets are ideal for storing vegetables or bread.
This is a stone shelf (usually marble) which naturally remains below room temperature. This centuries-old storage solution is ideal for produce such as butter and eggs which need to be kept at a slightly lower temperature.
The best larder cupboards make use of every inch of space and the inside of the doors are no exception. Racks can be used to store spices, vinegars, oils, smaller food packets or even your tin foil!
Example kitchens with larder cupboards or pantry cupboards
Here are just a few examples of kitchens designed to incorporate a larder cupboard:
- A reduced depth pantry cupboard in an art deco style kitchen.
- A large pantry cupboard for a contemporary family kitchen.
- Traditional family kitchen with a single width pantry cupboard.
- Contemporary, gloss white kitchen with an integrated pantry cupboard.
- A bright, white family kitchen with a double width pantry cupboard.
- A smaller kitchen design which still finds space for a pantry cupboard.