Another reason was probably because fresh foods were so seasonal that you simply worked with what you had. Basements walls were lined with shelves filled with hundreds upon hundreds of jars filled with canned vegetables, fruits, and meats.
Another important part of an Amish home is the pantry. For us it was a 10' by 8' room. If you'll travel back to my teenage years and stand here beside me I'll open the door and we can take a look inside.
On our right is a huge chest type freezer, painted a sea foam green because our community doesn't allow anything white. It isn't a freezer for us though since we converted it to a refrigerator. A local Amish man had made a big stainless steel pan that was fitted into the bottom. Coils of Freon filled copper pipe were placed all the way up the sides of the pan and then it was filled with water. An ice compressor was run several times a week to keep plenty of ice there. Daddy had built shelves inside it and our food was kept nice and cold. We kept gallon jars of milk in the icy water. And anytime we were cooking something that needed to be cooled quickly all we had to do was float it in the water for a little bit. Next to the freezer is a cupboard. Inside it you can see an assortment of two pound packages of Jell-O , a gallon jar of popcorn, several cans of pineapples, bags filled with clear-jel and cornstarch and boxes of canning lids. Above the freezer is a window we keep open year round. During the summer it keeps the pantry cooler than the rest of the house, and during the winter makes it cold enough that you almost want to wear a coat if you have to spend more than a minute inside.
Now let's shift our focus to the rest of the room. Shelves seem to fill it right up. Three are built in an "L" shape and then the two top ones make a complete "U". On the floor under the shelves it appears as if a host of five gallon pails were all vying for a place to be and a few couldn't quite fit all the way under the shelf. Each one is filled and plays an important part of our everyday life. We purchase flour in a hundred pound bag and pour it in five gallon pails to store it. Fifty pound bags of brown and white sugar were also poured into pails. Another pail holds cornmeal that we made last fall, there is a pail filled with oatmeal, while the one next to it is full of salt. The last three pails hold molasses, corn syrup, and lard.
In front of us the bottom shelf holds a small pail filled with potatoes from our bin in the basement, a basket with a few onions, and our shiny stainless steel milking pail. To the left is a twenty five pound box filled with raisins, a gallon jar of molasses filled from the pail to make using it for recipes easier. A box holding neatly folded plastic bags to use for homemade bread and cakes, and a cheese press.
The shelf above it holds our baked goods, several kinds of pie, a cake, and half a dozen loaves of bread, the small part of the "L" holds the loaf of bread we started eating, platters of homemade butter and two little dishes of jam.
The next shelf has gallon jars filled with homemade granola and grapenuts, big bags full of graham cracker crumbs and containers filled with homemade cake mix and pancake mix. More gallon jars are filled with maple syrup. The next shelf holds big bags filled with noodles, containers filled with tea we had gathered and dried last summer, and several cases of saltines.
The top shelf holds our huge mixing bowls, canners, and the biggest cooking pots. And I'll let you in on a secret. The very back corner of the top shelf is where I hide the food I prepare for Sunday evening when LV comes calling, so that my brothers won't find it.
****Okay, back to the present. I really miss having a well stocked pantry like that. Our house now doesn't give me that option, but someday I hope to be able to enjoy that again.