THE WALK-IN PANTRY. A LOVE STORY
Much has been written lately about the relationship of man and shed.
And, in particular, its importance as a sanctuary where a bloke can find solitude and respite from the world of women. Where, surrounded by jars of screws, tins of bolts and a Pirelli swimsuit calendar, man can potter, tinker and contemplate the human condition.
There’s now an Australian Men’s Shed Association with 500 sheds across the land registered as a place where the male of the species can gather, and as the organisation says: “If you looked inside one you might see a number of men restoring furniture, perhaps restoring bicycles for a local school, maybe making Mynah bird traps or fixing lawn mowers or making a kids cubby house for Camp Quality to raffle.” Good on them.
It’s a place to find mateship and promote good mental health for blokes.
I have always suspected that men are genetically programmed to live in a shed. Nothing I enjoy more than hearing a man say : “I’ll be in the shed, if you need me.”
I’ve found that I rarely do.
If he emerges, hours later, with something useful, like a set of sharpened kitchen knives or a mended spice rack? All the better.
With the promotion of dual occupancy, smaller housing blocks and flat dwelling, the traditional backyard shed has been lost to a new generation of Australian men. However, we women are doing it tough too. We mourn the loss of our walk-in pantries. They’ve been down-sized for that new room full of home computers, video games and gym equipment.
The joy of the walk-in pantry! What a loss to womankind.
My sister’s got, not only a walk-in pantry, but a walk-in cool room too! I envy the hell out of her, but since she lives on a farm and there’s often an entire dead cow in there, I don’t suppose I can complain.
But, geez, I’d love a big walk-in pantry.
My late Great Aunty Claire’s pantry was a wonder. She was a strong, resourceful and industrious woman who lived at Bamganie in the Western District of Victoria in Henry Bolte country.
Tucked away at the back of the kitchen, her pantry was a sacred space. Dim and mysterious, lit by a single globe, with shelves from floor to ceiling.
And every shelf was full.
The fruit from the garden was candied, crystallized and glaceed, pickled, preserved, made into relish, sauce, chutney, curd, butter, marmalade, cordial, cheese, jam and jelly. There were biscuits in tins, slices in trays, sponges under lace covers and pies in deep dishes.On another shelf were potted meats and pastes, spiced vinegars and dried herbs, and above that, bunches of dried flowers, strings of garlic, plum puddings, Christmas cakes and tantalising jars of coconut ice and toffee…sadly out of reach.
When I was a kid I thought I could have died and gone to heaven locked in Great Aunty Claire’s pantry.
Except for the fact that there was so much food in there I would have lived to be a hundred and they would never have dragged my bloated body through the door.
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