Lucy's practical pantry is an extension of her kitchen where she enjoys more counter space and good eastern light. In true New England farmhouse fashion, it was built on the northeast corner of the ell where it is cool in summer and like a natural ice box in winter.
One thing I'd like to do more regularly on my blog is to feature more pantries and kitchens. As you can imagine, if you have your own copy of The Pantry (or even if you don't!), it was impossible to feature all of the pantry photos and pantry quotes I might have liked to have done. I still photograph pantries when I can or write down pantry-related quotes in books I am reading or old magazine articles I come across. One thing is for certain: pantries have always been well-loved, much used, practical spaces. Some people, like Lucy Davison, have never done without one.
I met Lucy several years ago when driving around Henniker, New Hampshire with my husband and boys. He saw his old friend Shirley (or "Shirl"), Lucy's husband, out haying across from the old Quaker meetinghouse, and we stopped to visit. That winter, while I was still researching and writing The Pantry, we had them to dinner and I spoke with her about pantries and kitchens and food (three of my favorite topics). Lucy was a former school teacher before she married Shirley in her late 30s. Since the 1970s they have shared an old New England farmhouse together, complete with an ell kitchen, a well-used pantry, and an old wood-burning Glendale cook stove that she uses most of the year. She reminds me, in her practical self-reliance, of my Old Order Mennonite friends and others in Kentucky who have always put up food from their sustenance gardens.
Lucy has many old-fashioned cottage garden flowers: the rampant valerian (or "Garden Heliotrope"), blue lupine and, over on the east side of the kitchen, the largest bed of "Golden Glow," in the rudbeckia family, that I've seen before. It blooms later in the summer (and I brought a clump to Kentucky from my own New Hampshire garden).
Lucy cans and freezes throughout the summer from her prolific garden and prides herself on not having to go to the store too often (they also have chickens for meat and eggs and raise a few cows for beef–they also used to have dairy cows). They more or less live in their kitchen, as they are in the photograph (taken on my recent trip to New Hampshire), and from windows on either side, to the east and west, they can see who is driving by or who is coming to their door.
In The Pantry in "The Farmhouse Pantry" chapter I wrote about Lucy's pantry (but did not include photographs because of space and design limitations):
For several decades, Lucy Davison has put up the bounty from the garden at the New England farm she shares with her husband, Shirley, 87. Their farmhouse has a long, narrow pantry with shelves and a large workspace in front of a sunny window. "I love a pantry," Lucy says. "I do my baking preparations in there because we entertain in the kitchen–you just leave the bread and the old milk cup and dirty bowls. You can take off your apron and close the door." Their kitchen has a reliable Glendale stove where she does her extensive canning: tomatoes, pickles, all kinds of jams and jellies.