The Chicago Fridge

Food cooling on porch

Steaming hot chili cools off in the Chicago Fridge.

Like many of Chicago’s mid-century homes, we have an enclosed porch (AKA 3-season room, bonus room or Florida room) off of the kitchen at the rear of the house. Ours is in need of an overhaul, but when we asked our general contractor to jack up a corner of it, he cautioned us that what we thought might be a $400 job, could turn into an expensive rebuild.

We decided to live with the ramshackle look a bit longer. It’s vintage chic, right?

Even in its rundown condition, the room has its uses. Even, nay, especially, in the 4th season. The uninsulated room is like a second, giant refrigerator. But it wasn’t until Jen saw me place a setaming bowl of chili on the porch to cool that I heard the room referred to as the Chicago Fridge.

We often place hot items out there to cool rather than overwork our fridge. In the dead of winter, we can freeze things, too.

Now that it’s warming up and we can use the room as more than an extension of our refrigerator (and garage and mudroom), I’m dusting, scrubbing and organizing it. I’ll be back soon with pictures.

Do you have one of these fab little bonus rooms?


10 Responses to The Chicago Fridge
  1. Jen
    April 3, 2012 | 9:44 am

    I do indeed! LOL! Need to go out and scrub it up for the proper season. I grew up with one, missed having one in Colorado (never really got cold enough), and am kinda glad I have it back.

    • admin
      April 3, 2012 | 9:19 pm

      Uh, yeah, a good sweeping isn’t cutting it. It’s turning my rags black.

  2. Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)
    April 3, 2012 | 9:46 am

    I wish I had a room like this! It’s perfect for a root cellar, chilling beer, and cooling cookies!

    • admin
      April 3, 2012 | 9:19 pm

      4-6 months out of the year, at least. I think it might get colder than a root cellar. You’ll understand why when I post pics.

  3. Melanie Fuqua
    April 3, 2012 | 9:59 am

    Couldn’t do Thanksgiving without it! Also my greenhouse for almost year round lettuce. Makes an excellent threat to kids,”Do you want to live on the back porch? You know it’s cold out there.”

    • admin
      April 3, 2012 | 9:17 pm

      LOL, my husband has a whole crop of seedlings out there right now. It does make it easier to handle the cool weather holidays.

  4. megryansmom
    April 3, 2012 | 10:30 am

    Loved it when I lived at home. Windows on 3 sides, perfect for reading in the summer, spring and fall. What? I was a huge bookworm growing up.

    • admin
      April 3, 2012 | 9:18 pm

      Now that it’s warming up, I need to get out there with my laptop. It’s wonderful.

  5. How to Make Schmaltz in Five easy steps
    April 4, 2012 | 11:43 am

    […] of which, after mixing up a couple of batches of matzah balls, pictured below cooling in the Chicago Fridge, I’d realized our crowd had grown too large for the tricky logistics of serving soup. So much […]

  6. jennifer gray
    April 4, 2012 | 10:53 pm

    We built our mudroom by enclosing part of our deck–the Diet Pepsi is delightfully ice cold all winter long back there! We have, on occasion, exploded a can or two.