Just for fun: cooking for 100!

chicagoansSeptember 5, 2012

About a month ago my family and two other families cooked dinner at the new Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. I was looking at some of the pictures and thought it might be fun to post some of the kitchen shots here.

You TKO folks might appreciate this: when we first walked into the kitchen I said something about how great the backsplash is. My son (13 y.o.) rolled his eyes and said "Mom no one notices back splashes!" (Wanna bet?)

Short backstory: the mission of the RMH is to keep families together while their children undergo treatment or recovery at a nearby childrens' hospital. The RMH where we volunteered is affiliated with the new Lurie's Childrens' Hospital in Chicago. The house is gorgeous, new (opened in late June), has 86 guest rooms, a rooftop deck, and lots of other beautiful spaces. One of the friends we went with got us involved years ago through Hoops for Life (now Hoops for the House) basketball tournament to raise money for cancer research. DH was diagnosed with cancer 2 1/2 years ago, so the cause is even nearer to our hearts now.

Volunteers plan the menu, buy, cook, serve, and clean up, and we were in charge of an activity for the guests. (We had our kids run some games while we cleaned up.)

Since we were busy cooking for 100, I didn't take any pictures but my friend got these on her phone. You can see a bit of the kitchen and I'm regretting I didn't get more TKO shots for you!

The kitchen has 6 ovens: 2 big commercial ranges (under the large SS hood you see in the background) and 4 regular or residential type ranges. It has 2 commercial dishwashers (the kind that wash a load in a matter of a couple minutes), a few microwaves, a cool coffee maker that senses when a pot is empty (weight) and shuts of the burner, and other cool stuff.

Working at one of the two prep islands:

Cute kiddoes were in charge of salad and potatoes. They did great!

The long and awesome serving island. It has induction warmers built into the counter top (what the silver pans are sitting on) and two under-counter warming ovens (you can see one in the foreground.)

My totally cheesy smile (I was having fun!) with the awesome backsplash behind me:

The adult portion of the crew:

I so loved cooking dinner there! Looking forward to doing it again.

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What a wonderful, wonderful thing you did! I am not only so impressed, but so humbled and awed by you and your family.

PS I'd have noticed the backsplash, too! :-)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:36PM
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What a fantastic kitchen and what a great thing to do with your family!

I work in the Lurie building at NU and have watched the progress of the children's hospital from afar.

Thank you so much for volunteering your time for such a great cause.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:45PM
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What a great kitchen and awesome family. I wish your DH the best.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:11AM
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Thank you for your wonderful efforts. My family spent almost a month at the Denver RMH while my newborn son underwent-and recovered from open heart surgery. Looking at a calendar and knowing that dinner for my DH and 3YO DD was taken care of that night was such an immense relief. Your meal looked like it was prepared and served with a lot of love and believe me, those families appreciated it whether they were able to show it or not. Living away from all that is familiar while your child may be fighting for their life is stressful beyond my capabiliy to put into words. To have someone offer to take care one of your basic needs takes away one worry, one more decision at a time when every decision seems monumental. Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 1:40AM
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WOW....just WOW ! Your volunteering was a wonderful thing and what a great example for the kids in the group. They look so enthusiastic ! The whole concept of RMH is such a good one and unfortunately so needed.

You are right the backsplash looks great too and how perfectly designed the space looks. Someone put in a lot of good design ideas. Thanks for sharing ! c

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 1:45AM
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Another paid, um, backward? -- thanks to RMH volunteers.

That is, I've benefited personally too from your counterpart's efforts elsewhere and I sure appreciated it big-time. It's a good thing, much appreciated.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:45AM
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That's so great. I know someone on another forum who volunteers. It sounds like a great thing to do, especially for the TKO/Foodie crowd. The RMH nearest us is on the other side of Houston, so nearly an hour away. It's on the list of things I'd like to consider when the boys are both in college -- and I didn't even know they had such nice kitchens! LOL Glad to hear you enjoyed it, and I know it was much appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Thank you all for your nice comments. Clueless and Aliris I hope all is going very well for you now.

We received abundant and heartfelt thanks from many of the guests that night. It was humbling because we all enjoyed our time there and felt like it was a small (and fun) thing to do. One little boy gave me a handwritten card that I saved; it brings tears to my eyes. We also got lots of hugs... payment in spades for a bit of cooking!

I do feel like the kitchen was well planned as someone mentioned. They're open to suggestions too (we recommended an ice machine, as the one in the ref didn't really keep up with demand.)

And I'll give Costco some props; we were able to feed 100 people (and leave lots of leftovers) for less than $400. How 'bout that!

Definitely going back to do it again.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Beautiful family. You can be proud.

When my niece was killed 8 yrs ago, her son spent several months at Riley in Indy. We will be forever grateful to the RMH for their service during that difficult time.

Every time I drive thru McDs my change, large or small, goes into the bin.

Love the kitchen, BTW!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Induction warmers into the countertop! Oh MY!

Thank-you for volunteering. My DH does a lot of volunteering and toured our local RMH yesterday to see if his volunteering strengths would fit. The RMH is doing a major expansion and he may get involved.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:36AM
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