Pantry Memories

Storing Food and Feelings in Swedish Homes



food storage, emotional practices, reflexive nostalgia, pantry, root cellar, Sweden


In recent years, references to “old-fashioned pantries” and “classic root cellars” have regularly popped up in real estate ads across Sweden as a potential selling point for people seeking new homes. The use of the words “classic” and “old-fashioned” indicates a shift in the thinking about traditional food storage spaces. In this article, we explore the recontextualization and emotionalization of traditional food storage spaces in Swedish society. We base our analysis on an open-ended questionnaire on food storage, preservation, and household preparedness directed to Swedish households. We investigate how our respondents have recounted and shaped embodied memories in the act of writing about past food storage: the different spaces, times, people, practices, emotions, and objects. Viewing these acts of remembering and writing about past food storage as emotional practices has led to an understanding of how emotional experience in the past is reinterpreted in the present. Seeing these acts as emotional practices illustrates the relational nature of emotions, where longing for past food storage spaces is one way to reflexively deal with contemporary issues by managing everyday life. Finally, we argue that reflexive nostalgia helps to create and interpret emotions – making past and present food storage meaningful.

Research Articles



How to Cite

Marshall, M., & Pétursson, J. Þór. (2022). Pantry Memories: Storing Food and Feelings in Swedish Homes. Ethnologia Fennica, 49(1), 26–49.