Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Tracy Bachmann | February 6, 2018

Dear Camp Highlands Families,

Sharon has been at camp since she was 3 years old. She’s the mastermind behind the delicious homemade food at Highlands.

Once Mike and I turned the pages of our December calendars, camp was almost always on our minds.

We wrote about, made calls about, and constantly thought about every detail of the coming summer. Who will be able to return? Who won’t be able to return? (Oh, shoot!) Possible new campers, and campers referred to us by our camp families were always so appreciated! Andy and Tracy are the ones that have camp on their minds. How lucky all we Bachmanns feel, to have camp be such an important part of our daily lives.

One of my jobs at camp is planning the menu and ordering the food for our meals. A favorite meal for everyone is our Sunday Dinner following our Sunday Morning Assembly. Turkey and all the trimmings are a tradition every Sunday at camp. Yum…!! It makes me hungry just to think about that! Most days, when you walk to the middle of Junior Hill, you can catch a whiff of the mouth-watering smell of turkey and freshly baked yeast rolls. That has everybody ready for the bugle to blow, and Lodge bell to ring for dinner.

People often ask me how many turkeys I order each week for that Sunday meal?

The answer is 8, 21 to 24 pound turkeys. The cooks put the the turkeys in the ovens very late Saturday night. The next morning the Lodge family arrive at 9:00 AM, ready to pull the meat off the bones. Those turkeys are put in a warming oven and then separated into piles of white meat and dark meat and the broth is poured over the meat to keep it moist. Oh my….it is so good! We always make a little extra so that we can use the turkey in one of the other camp favorites…

Tracy, has asked that I share one of our favorite Camp Highlands recipes. This one is great for chicken or turkey that maybe you have leftover in your refrigerator or freezer. This recipe was given to me years ago by my dear Western Springs friend, Ann Shay. Her children and grandchildren came as campers and their family came for more than 13 years for Friends and Family camp. During camp, the campers and staff members when passing me on the path will say, “Sharon, when are we having turkey tetrazzini?” It is so good!

Easy Turkey Tetrazzini
I put this recipe in a 9 x13 pan, but you could also use a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
When I make this at home, I purchase a roasted chicken at the grocery store and put all the meat in my casserole. Bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until it is bubbly. It will serve 8 to 10 people.

8 oz. thin spaghetti, broken in half
Chicken broth
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 c. of milk
2/3 c. of mayonnaise
1/2 c. of celery diced small (optional)
2 c. of cooked chopped turkey or chicken
1 can diced mushrooms drained
2 T. of pimento (optional, for color)
2/3 c. of Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook the spaghetti in chicken broth. ( I add some water)Drain well. Mix the mushroom soup, milk and mayonnaise until well blended. Add celery, turkey or chicken, mushrooms, pimento and half of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Put the rest of the cheese over the top toward the end of the baking time.

Valentine’s Day is coming. Mmmm…this would be a great dish to try! I hope you will enjoy this. If you do, we’d love hearing from you on how it turns out.

I hope that your summer calendar includes a visit to Camp Highlands this summer. Maybe you will be driving your son to camp? Maybe you will be able to get away at the end of camp to come for the Family Picnic and the Program that follows. Maybe, you will come and stay at the Highlands Lodge during the camping season, or at the beginning or end of camp? Maybe your family will stay after camp is ending for a few days or a week of Friends and Family camp? Whatever, you and your family can arrange…I hope Camp Highlands will be on your minds for your son, and your extended family and friends. I believe more than ever that a summer, or part of a summer at Camp Highlands is a wonderful place for a boy to be. I hope this day finds you and your family well and enjoying this unusually cold winter. I’m glad that I can be in Gainesville, FL for four months. It has been very cool here too, but no complaints from me, I love hearing the birds chirping away outside my bedroom window in the early morning, and…..oh my, it is SO NICE to feel the warmth of the sun, even on a chilly day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your families!

Sending love from Gainesville,
Sharon Bachmann


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Andy Bachmann | July 5, 2016


Flag in Dining Hall

Our flag from 1908 (Camp was 8 years old by then!) hangs proudly in the dining room

The Fourth of July is a little funny around here. Really, it’s just like any other day–except that we have the boys board buses to head into Sayner for a front row seat at the Sayner firework display. Although it’s SUPPOSED to be a surprise, truth is most of them already know. But that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Yesterday morning I had an all camp contest to see who could tell me the year and presiding President was when the flag that hangs in our Dining Hall hung over the capitol. There are 46 stars.

Believe it or not, a number figured it out. Whether it is because they are history buffs (which a few folks are) or because they remembered from our Teddy Roosevelt Theme Day last year, in total 14 boys got it right. (The answer is 1908, Teddy Roosevelt; but it’s special because the 46th state was admitted to the Union on the 4th of July of that year. Cool, huh?)

Here at Camp Highlands we celebrate the gifts of independence. Not in a, “Rah, Yay, America!” way, but in a way that is perhaps a little more in tune with the character of independence that fostered such actions to make this country great so many years ago. The gift of self-rule; self-control and personal responsibility are high on our list of what celebrating independence is all about.

Another contest I had (and will continue to have until Wednesday noon) is to see who can memorize our 18 Honor Camper Qualities and recite them in front of everyone in the Dining Hall. It’s a daunting feat; one that Hans F., Brewster H., Declan M., Jack R. and Quinn B. have already taken on, and accomplished. Impressive acts of initiative and leadership that are serving to inspire us all.

This is the kind of independence we cherish at Camp Highlands. When young men aren’t afraid to take on a task and see it through to completion, for the honor, pride (and ice cream) the accomplishment merits.

How lucky we are.

Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.


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Tracy Bachmann | July 30, 2014

Smallest to tallest

Today I ventured into no-woman’s land. That’s to say, I ate lunch in boy’s camp. [Side note, did you know that women were not allowed past the infirmary until 1966? That’s a whole other blog post!] And OH, how much fun did I have?!

First of all, lunch was incredible. Pork loin cooked to perfection (thank you Lois), mashed potatoes, apple sauce, broccoli, bread and pumpkin cake for desert. I *tried* to avoid the cake, but Lordy, it was just too good.

The bugle calls the waiters to lunch ten minutes early. They line up in the kitchen, trays of food in hand, and once the rest of camp is in the dining room, the waiters process in.

Smallest to tallest.

Boys line up in order from smallest to tallest!

Waiters line up in order from youngest cabin to the oldest cabin.

And I have to tell you guys, I got choked up. I watched the smallest boy, a young man that I don’t know much at all, walk past me – carefully, wobbly, balancing the tray of food for his cabin. Next, the Colt division, slightly more confident. Then the Labrador puppies of camp, the Juniors (their bodies haven’t quite caught up to their feet, you know?!) sort of gallop past. And finally our oldest waiter. Senior, Davis Altorfer, *fourth generation* Highlands man and a boy I’ve known since he was *this big*, strolled through the door, confidently wielding his tray, looking around, laughing. It was like I saw the face of *my* son pass quickly by, through the ages to ultimately end up six feet tall, with a goofy bandana around his head (but totally rocking it, you know?!). You don’t know when these moments are going to sneak up on you, but man-oh-man. It got me today.

All weepiness aside, there are incredible moments in that dining room, hidden away from us lady-folk, specially reserved for campers and staff men. Moments like when Kent Taylor was recognized by Kent Overbey for climbing the stone fireplace blindfolded and then teaching a class to graduate Adventure/Ropes. Like when the boys that got stuck in the kitchen just before announcements reappeared from the kitchen and everyone clapped for them! (So funny!) Like when Andy blessed the mysterious aroma of the garlic bread (what?!). We all know that breaking bread with people is sacred, but I’d offer that at Camp, these meals are extra special.

The boys haven’t realized it yet, but they’re changed beings after this third week. As we ease into the last week, it’ll sneak up on them. And they’ll be processing the changes that have taken place this summer all year long. Camp just gets under your skin that way.

This summer. This life! It MOVES, folks. Here we are ten days out from the end of our 111th summer. I don’t want it to stop! We have so much further to hike! So many more balls to throw. So many more times to jump into Plum. But it’s looming out there.

For now, I’ll sit lakeside, talk to my future Senior campers in the boating bay and discover the mystery of garlic bread. I’m not ready to pack up yet!

And on that note…

I ❤ CH // tracy b.

6 Responses

  1. Carol Viliani Bachmann says:
    July 30th, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Tracy, thank you once again for your down to earth, comedic and inspirational mom thoughts. I so look forward to it them:)))

  2. Becky says:
    July 30th, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Crying over here…

  3. Scott Altorfer says:
    July 30th, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Beautifully written, Tracy! I can sooo picture Davis from your description.

  4. Kevin Robertson says:
    July 31st, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Ok Tracy, I just craughed (cried/laughed?) for the first time. Didn’t know those two emotional responses could be elicited from a blog. If only there were cyber tissues.
    And now I’m hungry.

    Thank you. Really.

  5. Kristin says:
    July 31st, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Tracy—You got me!! Wasn’t expecting the tears……the beauty of camp….

  6. Jose Cubillos says:
    July 31st, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks so much for your posts. Laura and I read them religiously as they always bring smiles to our faces just thinking about our boy and how many awesome experiences he is having. We can’t wait to get to Camp next week and see everybody. Thanks again for the wonderful writing. Jose.

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Tracy Bachmann | November 25, 2012

Leftovers a la Highlands

At Highlands, every Sunday is Thanksgiving dinner. And that means that every most weeks, we have turkey leftovers. Much to my delight, that means one thing. Turkey Tetrazini.

We here in the Bachmann household devoured our turkey, but I’m seriously considering roasting another bird so that we can enjoy Lois Craig’s delicious recipe.

Turkey Tetrazini (Camp Highlands style)

6 oz. spaghetti, broken in half
chicken broth for cooking spaghetti
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cup cooked turkey (or chicken), diced or chopped
1 (2-oz.) can mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons diced pimento
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or Parmesan)

Cook spaghetti in broth; drain. Mix the soup, mayonnaise, and milk until well blended. Add spaghetti, celery, mushrooms, pimento, chicken, and half of the cheese. Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 350° oven for 45 minutes.



2 Responses

  1. Scott Altorfer says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 12:42 am

    We just made this Turkey Tetrazini, and it transported Reed, Davis and me back to the mess hall for a delicious, hearty dinner. Thank you for posting it, and, Lois, thanks for developing such a great recipe!

  2. Shane Hoerbert says:
    January 18th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    My mom personally called Lois this winter and we were pleased she was willing to share with us her recipe for her famous sweet potato casserole which my family and I enjoyed over the holidays! Lois is the best!

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Tracy Bachmann | August 4, 2012

Feeding Highlands

Not many camps can boast the kind of food we eat here at Highlands. At many camps, food is prepackaged, frozen and fast. At Highlands, meals are homemade. Meatloaf is mixed (70 lbs. at a time), cakes are made from scratch, and hundreds of pancakes are lovingly flipped – for groups of 150-180 people, three times a day! WOW. And the woman that makes it all happen is none other than CH Hall of Famer, Lois Craig. For 24 summers Lois, with her team of kitchen assistants, has been fueling the bodies and minds of our young men. We thought you might like to get to know her a little better.

TB: Lois, I’ve never known Highlands without you, and I’ve been here for 15 years. How long have you been coming to camp?
LC: This summer will be my 24th summer. My parents were good friends of Snow and Mim (Sharon B.’s parents). After graduating from Illinois State University, I started teaching home economics in the small town of Bath, Ill.. I started cooking for camp that summer of 1974 and continued until 1976 when I met my husband, Dale. We visited a number of times when my kids were growing up. On a camping trip with our two kids Lindsay and Andrew in 1990, I was really surprised that so many of the people I had worked with in the 70’s were still here! Kent Overby took Andrew, and sold him on being at camp. And I have been coming back since 1991.

TB: What’s your favorite thing about being on staff?
LC: I really enjoy working with a great group of people and spending my summers out of central Illinois.

TB: There are so many great things that you prepare, I’d be hard -pressed to pick a favorite. What’s your favorite meal at camp?
LC:  Meat loaf is my favorite, and penne pasta with meatballs is a close second.

TB: I always knew you loved to sew, knit and bake, but I was shocked to learn you played the flute!
LC: And the piccolo! I played in high school and college. I always thought it would be funny to play Brahms lullaby instead of Taps at night!

TB: You mentioned to me you like to read. What about TV?
LC: I just finished “Catching Fire” the second book in the “Hunger Games” series, and NCIS is the only TV show I try not to miss.

TB: I know it’s hard to beat being the head chef at Highlands, but if you could trade places with any person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
LC: I would like to be Guy Fiere for a week. I love to travel, and to do that and eat great food at the same time seems incredible!

TB: Ok, last question. Finish this sentence: Not everyone knows…
LC: I’d been to 48 states, and many parts of Canada and Mexico by the time I was 16. My husband of 35 years, Dale and I added Alaska to that list. I have yet to go to Hawaii. Another thing that not everyone knows is that I have two brothers and two sisters and I’m the only one who never went to camp.

TB: Well we fixed that didn’t we!? Thank you so much Lois for your commitment to Highlands. You are truly one person we couldn’t live without here at Camp!

Do any of you CH fans have special memories of Lois? Maybe you’d like to throw out a big THANK YOU? We’d love to hear about them on the blog. Leave us a comment!

  • Lois with her husband Dale
  • Lois and baker, Marcella, stand with their beautifully decorated Camp Highlands birthday cakes
  • Lois making french toast for 150 and the great spread for the end of term banquet

Remember, if you have questions on the end of term festivities, take a look at yesterday’s post.

One Response

  1. Tim Bachmann says:
    August 7th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Lois, I’m looking forward to a week in the Doc Monilaw Dining Room three times a day!! And I know everyone coming to Friends and Family is too, most especially my fellow alumni. Thank you for being such a steadfast (if not stoic) presence in the most important role in camp! No food – no camp. No great food – no great camp. Cheers to you.

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