What’s YOUR Comfort Food?

Comfort foods. We all seem to have them and we all seem quick to characterize them, too. Try asking a group at your next gathering. You’re bound to hear: “Something warm!” “No, cold!” It’s gotta be salty!” or sweet…smooth…crunchytangy…whatever that magical something is that manages to make us feel soothed. Like we’re safe, secure, and at home.

Such is the anticipated sensation when word gets out that Stacey’s meatloaf is to be served in the messhall. Vegetarians aside (who’ll have their own yummy version), most carnivores among us respond like Pavlov’s favorite subjects when the bugler blows “first call.”

MeatloafBlogSMAnd so, during these winter months when perhaps a little comfort food is called for, Stacey offers her tricks of the trade to bring some smiles to the table. Perhaps it’ll make you feel right at home, just like you’re back in the messhall at Pemi.

And now, in Stacey’s own words…

Meatloaf is an iconic American recipe that people either love or hate, with generally no in between. Since meatloaf is versatile and can be prepared in many ways, those who love it seem to have found their “perfect” recipe. As always, I stress the importance of each family’s taste profile and preferences. Use only the ingredients that they will love.

This recipe is similar to the one served at camp. The only difference is that I have pared it down considerably. We use 120 pounds of ground beef at camp for one meal!

Meatloaf

3 pounds of ground beef. (I like ground chuck)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups bread crumbs
2 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 peppers, red or green or both, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 TBS Kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups ketchup, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar

• Preheat oven to 375.

• Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté onions, peppers and celery until golden, add garlic and sauté until garlic is fragment and lightly colored. Set aside to cool.

• Mix ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, milk, parsley, 1 cup of ketchup, salt and pepper. Add the cooled vegetables. It’s easiest to mix with your hands. A bit messy but you can control the mixing so much easier.

• Mold the meat mixture on a baking pan. A long, flat loaf will cook faster and more uniformly. Bake for about 45 minutes until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of at least 155. Time may vary due to your oven. At this point, remove it from the oven and pour off any fat from the baking dish.

• Mix the remaining ketchup and brown sugar and brush on the top of the meatloaf. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

• Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Meatloaf can be created from many different ingredients. Experiment and create a recipe that will please you and your family! The ground meat can be any of the following, alone, or mixed with the ground beef: ground pork, ground turkey, Italian sausage and even ground venison (if you do use venison, add a bit of pork for the fat content because venison is very lean.)

Seasonings can vary, too. Are you planning a thematic meatloaf? Once again, choose those ingredients that your family will enjoy!

Likewise with vegetables. Choose the ones that you will enjoy. The only rule is use fresh and cut into small pieces. Always sauté them. The heat will bring out the flavor and color. This is also a great sneaky way to feed those fussy eaters some veggies!

Binder is important to the meatloaf, essential for holding it all together. I use breadcrumbs. My mother used oatmeal. Some people use crushed cracker crumbs, some use whole bread or croutons. It’s your choice entirely. Just remember to even out the ratio between bread and liquid.

Enjoy experimenting. Perhaps you, too, will create that “perfect” family recipe in the process!

~ Chef Stacey

 

Like Son, Like Father

When alumnus Jim Thomas and his wife Nicole, residents of Boulder Colorado, came to pick up their son Ailer (9) after his first summer at Pemi, we happened to be recording interviews to update some videos for our new website. Jim, as an alum, was a natural candidate to interview, and he gladly offered his perspective on what it felt like to have his son experience the place that had meant so much to him as a boy.

Knowing that Nicole, when we’d first met her, had been somewhat reluctant to send Ailer to Pemi, I asked her if she would like to offer a few words. Somewhat hesitantly, she clipped on the mic. The camera started rolling, and I asked the question, “So what was it that allowed you to let go of Ailer?”

Nicole’s response took us by surprise. Her story was moving; an unexpected—and yet perfectly understandable—angle of “letting go.”  She generously agreed to write a version for the Parent Contributions category of our Pemi Blog…

_______________________

During my very first visit to meet my boyfriend’s parents, my now husband wanted to show me around the house. When we got to his childhood bedroom he went straight for the bookshelf, grabbed an old binder, and started turning the pages. We sat together and he showed me his old nature journal. Flipping page after page, he proudly showed me the dried-pressed leaves, told me about the plants they came from, and explained that he was a Pemi Brave. 

This was my introduction to his ‘first love,’ Camp Pemigewassett!

I never went to camp as a girl; instead I visited my grandmother for a few weeks each summer. So the idea of going to camp was very foreign to me.  But Jim was full of life and I could see him light up as he talked about his experiences at summer camp. He talked about Pemi like it was his.

JimAilerAs time went by we got married and started having a family of our own. Jim and I are the kind of parents who love to explore and try new things with our children.  I adore the way Jim teaches our children and takes time to be with them in nature. I asked him if he used to go camping with his parents. “No I haven’t camped since I was at Pemi.”

And so it would go; “Pemi” would just show up. We might be sailing, for instance, and someone would ask Jim where he’d learned how. “At camp” was always his answer.  Or a coworker might comment on Jim’s capabilities in so many areas, and he’d say, “I am not an expert at anything but I can do most things pretty well because of camp.”

Jim is the kind of guy who is happy to try new things. I love this about him. We often talk about the big influences and moments that have shaped our lives.  I have to say at first I was surprised to hear Jim say that he is who he is because of his time at Camp Pemigewassett.

This is where I should tell you a little about me. I am the kind of mom who slept with our kids until they were two. In fact, much to my husband’s dismay, it still warms my heart when the kids ask if they can sleep in our room.  My friends think I am the ‘crazy’ mom. You know, the kind who looks forward to summer vacation and feels sad when her kids go back to school.  Let’s just say if there are such things as invisible umbilical cords I still have them. So when our son became old enough to go to camp I was not interested one little bit. I mean who in their right mind would send their kid half way across the country for three and a half weeks? Gasp! SEVEN?!?!?!!

JimAilerfacesKnowing our son was camp age, however, got me thinking. But rather than dwell on him and my reluctance to send him away, I found myself thinking about my husband, Jim, and how much I appreciate who he is in the world, in our community, and in our family. And for the first time I started to make the connection between his camp experience and the man he is today. Then I remembered the joy and spark I saw in him every time he talked about being a boy at camp.

Something changed; something shifted for me.  Reflecting on my love for my husband and how much he means to me created a new context for thinking about what the camp experience might mean to our son. The confidence to try new things; the ability to feel successful and strong; excitement for nature and the world around you; diplomacy and kindness when working with others; an understanding of being independent. And the strength to believe in yourself.  Wow! Who wouldn’t want THAT for her son?

We did it. Our son had his first summer camp experience and now, when I see the spark and joy on his face every time he talks about his summer camp, I am all the more thankful for Camp Pemigewassett.

 ~ Nicole Thomas 

 

(For all the Moms and Dads out there with a camp background who are married to someone who never went to camp, this approach just might come in handy when the topic of summer camp for your son or daughter comes up at the dinner table. As they say, “Love conquers all.”)

~ Dottie Reed

 

One Mom’s Thoughts on Letting Go

From Junior One to Senior Two

Pemi for me began one evening in August 1998. I was standing at a Cape Cod party, eight months pregnant. An attractive man, about 15 years my senior in blue blazer and tie approached me. Jim, my new neighbor, offered to get me lemonade and then quickly asked if I was having a boy or a girl. Stunned by the familiarity of the question, I stiffly smiled and asked, “Why?” and then for some reason (mainly because he looked kind and normal), I divulged, “…oh, I’m having a boy.” Jim smiled. He paused. He replied, “Well then you need to send him to Camp Pemi.”

I didn’t know Jim from Adam. Jim went on before I could say a word: “Christine, they speak ‘boy’ at Pemi; you’ve gotta send him.  I was a camper, then a counselor. My son was a camper and next year he’ll be an AC (assistant counselor). It is a very special place. Trust me.”

I had known Jim for less than 45 seconds. He was giving strict advice to a mildly neurotic first time pregnant woman about her unborn son.  Yet there was something so easy about the way he talked about Pemi. I felt trust. In the years that ensued I became great friends with Jim and his family and was often regaled with his fun stories (“the year of the big storm!”) about Pemi.

Seven years later I began to really consider Pemi as a sleep-away camp for Harry. A respected teacher at Harry’s private school, who had previously been a counselor in Pemi’s Junior Camp, was my next contact. Andy told me he’d wanted to take a position with the best boys’ camp in New England. He had driven all over and met with many camp directors. Pemi stood out above the rest as a place not only with pristine, beautiful surroundings, but with bright, kind, committed counselors. He told me Pemi was a “great place for a boy to grow up, and a great company of men to grow into.” I could not imagine a better recommendation.

Even with all of this reassurance and vetting, letting go of the firstborn son was difficult. I wondered who would do all of those things Mommy does?  Could an eight year old really care for himself? Would his counselor be attentive to his specific needs? As a single parent I was focused on getting everything “just right.”

But what holds us back as parents is the unknown. There is always a “first” – the first born, the first time that child experiences something big and new, and the resulting parent’s stress and conflict about the unknowns while trying to honor their own high standards of parenting a child.

HarryDayOne

Harry’s first day at Pemi, 2007

The process of letting go was tough, no matter how confident and peppy I acted for Harry. During a weak moment I told him that I felt like a Spartan mother dropping her son at the edge of the wood in order for him to come back a man. He reminded me that Spartan boys left at six so we were ahead of the game.

When we arrived at Camp, I uncharacteristically (and deliberately) broke a rule: the Pemi dictum of not making the son’s bed. The counselor was incredibly kind. He knew I needed more time to say goodbye, and after a quiet conversation I still remember today, I knew the junior counselor (really a newish adult himself) was capable and ready to care for my son.

Trust is central at Pemi; they thank you for entrusting your sons with them and they understand that it takes more than a few recommendations from well-meaning people to allow you to let go and hand over something so precious.

Harry's final year as a camper, 2013

Harry’s final year as a camper, 2013

Today Harry could fill pages if asked to write about his positive experiences at Camp.  He will talk to anyone who will listen about the supportive place where you can try anything and not be afraid; about he time that he lost his toothbrush in the pond, or woke up before dawn to count loons, the finer points of Frisbee Running Bases, and the time TRJR found him at the lake tangled up in fishing line after trying to cast a line for fish.   Little does this son know that his Mom nearly inhaled every letter he sent home talking about pickles at lunch or “send more socks.”

The act of letting go is a constant theme in this complicated business of rearing children.  It’s not a straight line.  But when Harry and I arrived yesterday and walked into Senior Two (waterfront real estate with a fireplace!) I knew “we” had made it.  Harry couldn’t stop smiling.  After all those years of pick ups and drop offs, there wasn’t any stress.  Not only did Harry arrive as a confident Senior, I did too.

 ~ Christine Tuttle

NOTE FROM CAMP PEMI: Many thanks to Christine for launching a new category for the Pemi Blog: “Parent Contributions.” We welcome your personal stories of parenting a Pemi camper. Please email your words of wisdom, humor, or insight to camppemi and, if possible, include an image or two.

Summer 2013: Newsletter # 3

Hello again to all of our gentle readers. It’s been an eventful week, replete with all the usual activities and also with our annual Fourth of July celebrations and a big athletic day thrown into the mix. The weather continues to keep us on our toes but, once again, there’s not a whole lot that we haven’t been able to do, especially if we’ve been willing to wait out a shower or two and be flexible with our schedule. Today, for example, we’re sending out two backpacking trips that had originally been slated for yesterday (an Upper 4-day to the Carter Range to the northeast of Mt. Washington and a Lower 3-day to the Kinsmans this side of Franconia Notch), four additional overnights (Lower 3-days to Mts. Moosilauke and Osceola, a trip for Upper 4 to Greenleaf Hut in the Franconia Range, and a short hike for Junior 3 up to the Pemi Shelter), and a lunch trip across the lake to Flat Rock (for Lower 1). Lots of boys have been very patient as they’ve waited for the right weather window to get off on an exciting jaunt, and we’ve been extremely impressed by the way they’ve coped with the hard realities of sensible planning.

IMG_3035After a wonderfully indulgent half-hour delay for wake-up on the Fourth, we kicked off the Big Day with our annual Pee-rade. All cabins participated in what is always a dizzyingly creative potpourri of floats/skits that treat the history of the camp, the nation, and the globe – and occasionally risk a glimpse into the post-apocalyptic future of Pemi. The entire Junior Camp made a bid to re-enact the Revolutionary War, half of them dressed in Patriot Blue, half in Tyrannical Scarlet. After being enjoined by what we think must have been an a-historical referee to engage in “a nice clean war,” the two sides clashed thunderously together until cooler heads prevailed – leading to a truce sealed when Kevin Miller and Marco Zapata laid aside their imaginary weapons and shook hands in explicit preparation for being allies in WW II. Given the number of Brits we have on our staff, it was good to see our past national differences so happily set aside.

IMG_3043Amongst the Lower Lowers, Cabin 3 garnered the esteemed judges’ top honors with a highly-topical skit about the Pemi Investigative Agency (yes, we’ve heard about the NSA up here) foiling various murky activities about camp. The highlight was Rafe Forward popping out of a laundry bag to bust a ring of clothing thieves. Also worth noting was the inaugural appearance in Pemi “lore” of Heather Leeds, one of the lynchpins of our office staff. Played in the skit with chilling verisimilitude by Jackson Morrell, Heather can now rest assured that she has achieved mythic status at Pemi. Laurels amongst Upper Lowers were snatched by Lower 5 with “A Pemi Infomercial,” documenting all sorts of institutional mismanagement from Waterfront Head Paige Wallis being more interested in texting than minding the safety of her swimmers to staff members crippling innocent campers in a fierce game of Frisbee Running Bases. Nick Ridley’s boys, led by smooth-voiced narrator Lucas Gaffney, earned a big bag of Skittles for their efforts. Sadly, all of them have been named by Danny in a defamation suit about which you should soon be hearing in the national news.

IMG_3080Upper 3 snatched up a motif from Danny’s earlier Sunday Meeting talk about the musical influences in his life and traced the history of “The Pemi Five” all the way from a 1908 a capella group through the foundation of The Silver Cornet Band. Music does live on at Pemi, and Henry Eisenhart’s boys parleyed that truth into scads of sucrose. Fortunately, the judges were weighing acting talent more heavily than musical chops, as Miles Davis has nothing to fear from Kevin Lewis’s trumpet playing – nor Carlos Santana or Eric Clapton from Caleb Tempro’s or Owen Fried’s chops on guitar. Finally, Senior Three jammed authentic Pemi History into a tried-and-true Hollywood formula with “The Pemi Justice League,” casting things as recent as the Mystery of the Disappearing Pickle Barrel (ask your sons!) and as ageless as our rivalry with Camp Tecumseh into the mode of Super Hero vs. Arch Villain confrontation. Special kudos go to Hugh Grey as the spitting image of Head of Staff and Former Trippie Jamie Andrews – and Matt Kanovsky as a bug-net clad preserver of the natural world. All in all, this year’s Pee-rade made it clear that imagination, energy, and irreverence live on in equal measure in the seething brain of The Pemi Kid!

oreoThe afternoon involved the entire camp being divided into six teams (mixed age-groups, with Juniors pitching in with Seniors as equal partners) playing a round-robin tournament in various whiffle-ball venues and competing in such arcane activities as dice-stacking (five at a go, arrangeable only with the assistance of the plastic cup in which they came) and Forehead-to-Mouth Oreo Transfer (look, Ma! No hands!). Maybe you had to be there! The afternoon was sunny and warm, and a good time was had by all – everyone, btw, slathered in sunscreen and hyper-hydrated.

That evening, in the Messhall, Danny awarded silver Revere Ware bowls to the campers and staff for whom this is the fifth year here. We’re always especially happy to recognize folks for whom Pemi has been such an important and constant enterprise. This year’s campers were Andrew Appleby, Noah Belinowitz, Sam Berman, Nick Case, Dylan Cheng, Alex and Jon Duval, Crawford Jones, Hugh Jones, Andrew Kanovsky, Kevin Lewis, Alex Marshman, Tom Moore, Greg Nacheff, Reed O’Brien, Nick Oribe, Dash Slamowitz, Caleb Tempro, Nicholas Gordon, John Stevenson, Graham Cromley, Bryce Grey, Henry Jones, and Nick Toldalagi. 5-year staff veterans included Buck Baskin, Nick Davini, Dorin Dehls, Heather Leeds, Stan Barlow, Nathan Tempro, and Brandon Hendrickson.

Wrapping up the day was the annual Fourth of July Vaudeville, ably hosted by Ian Axness and Teddy Gales. We’ll be sparing with details, as this letter is threatening to run long, but we must mention that the 106th embodiment of the Pemigewassett Silver Cornet Band lived up to every expectation. Among stellar camper soloists were Noah Belinowitz on saxophone, Matt Edlin on French horn, and Emmanual Abbey on drums. Other noteworthy camper acts included Robert Loeser singing “America the Beautiful” (when does Robert ever not stop the show?) and Reed O’Brien with a remarkably skilled piano improvisation. Chopin or Keith Jarrett, watch out. Finally, and almost literally bringing down the house, this year’s iteration of “The Little People” (now known as the Pemi Peewees) made camp history: four wee ones, two boys as always (played by staff brothers Nick and Ben Ridley) and, for the first time ever, two girls (Paige and Bryce Wallis). The theme was Merriwood Day – that flirtatious time of year when our older campers fraternize with the lasses up the valley at an excellent girls’ camp – and the effect of it all was a split-screen look at the fevered preparation on both sides of the gender line. We’re not sure if a Pemi audience has ever laughed harder.

We’ll leave our account of the past week at that. Now for a brief word from Danny on one of the more interesting recent developments in the camp program.

Greetings from Lower Baker! It is hard to believe that we are beginning our third week at Pemi and that plans are already well under way for end-of-first-half festivities like the Birthday Banquet and mid-season awards. Despite the somewhat unpredictable weather of these opening days (as we say in New England, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes!”), the first two weeks have been incredibly busy, with our four program areas – Athletics, Arts & Music, Trips, and Nature (so beautifully coordinated by Assistant Director extraordinaire Ken Moore) – all re-establishing themselves as vibrant facets of life here at Pemi. As I walk from the playing fields to the waterfront, from the Nature Lodge to the Art Building, and from music lessons to the archery range each day, it is inspiring to see our talented teachers sharing the expertise and love of their particular activities. Indeed, after envisioning just this scene all winter, it is quite uplifting to see it in action!

One of the most exciting opportunities we offer our boys each summer is the chance to take occupations with staff members whom we refer to as “Visiting Professionals,” the veteran and professional teachers, craftsmen, and scholars who come to Pemi each summer for a “visit” and to share their passion and knowledge in their field of expertise. Most of our Visiting Professionals are teachers, retired teachers, or professionals in their field who would love nothing more than to spend their entire summer at Pemi but who can commit only to a shorter stint because of the demands on their time back in their “real lives.” So, feeling mutually that it’s a “win/win” to have these folks here for part of the summer, we bring them in, tell the boys about the opportunities that await them, and then witness and enjoy the infusion of energy, wisdom, and skill these highly skilled and energetic people bring to Pemi each summer.

Who are these Visiting Professionals, you ask? In the past couple of summers, we’ve had visits from people like Andy Bale, who teaches photography at Dickinson College, Trey Blair, head baseball coach at Kentucky Country Day School, and Phil Laundry, who runs a fly-fishing business in and around his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. In 2013, we are fortunate enough to have four Visiting Professionals join our learning community: Dave Huippi, Jim Dehls, Stephen Broker, and Conner Scace. Let me tell you a bit about each! 

SteveBrokerSteve Broker is a retired high school and college ecology teacher and current state bird recorder for the great state of Connecticut. Steve joined the Nature Program and spent the first week at Pemi teaching ornithology and an occupation called “reading the woods,” which taught the boys how to unravel the history of our beautiful wooded area through the lingering clues of prior settlement and development, the natural environment, and wetland ecology. Stephen was introduced to Pemi many years ago, as his father Tom was the Waterfront Director here in the 1930’s! When asked about his return to Pemi this summer, Steve offered this: “It was a thrill to finally follow in my father’s footsteps. He always spoke so reverently about his days at Pemi. I look forward to returning next summer and hopefully for many summers beyond.” Sounds good to us, Steve!

DaveDave Huippi comes to us via Northfield Mount Hermon School, where he teaches math and is the varsity boy’s lacrosse coach as well. Dave’s past includes stints coaching and teaching at both the Salisbury School in Lakeville, CT and the Bement School in Deerfield, MA after having played lacrosse for sixteen years at Milton Academy, Trinity College, and for Finland’s national team beginning in 2005. “I’ve heard so much about Pemi from my friend and colleague at Northfield Mount Hermon, Charlie Malcolm. There’s nothing I enjoy as much as teaching lacrosse, no matter what level my players are. It is a pleasure and honor to join the Pemi community for three weeks this summer!” It’s great having Dave with us, especially given that claim to get as much of a charge out of teaching boys who have never held a lacrosse stick as from coaching advanced players.

Jim Dehls is a former Pemi camper and counselor (1959-1965 and 1968) and now parent to daughter Dorin Dehls who is back for her fifth summer at Pemi. Jim’s passion is music, and while at Pemi this week he will be teaching drum circle, assisting with Gilbert and Sullivan, and teaching a cappella. Jim taught high school chorus in Groton, CT for 25 years and is presently the Director of Music at Christ Church Episcopal in Pomfret, CT., where he also teaches private voice and piano lessons. Jim says about his time at Pemi, “I get more back than I give! I love the place so much, how nice for me to be able to re-join the staff again after so many years away!” Jim, by the way, was a primo water-ski instructor in 1968 and one of his goals for this week is to get back out on a slalom ski after years and years on dry land. That’s just the kind of spirit we love to see in Pemi alums!

Conner Scace is no stranger to teaching at Pemi, having worked here the past three summers. This year, Conner’s teaching and schooling schedule prevented a full summer in Wentworth, but we are thrilled to be able to take advantage of his expertise as an entomologist once again. During the year, Conner is studying to teach science full-time in the classroom. “I wish I could be here full-time again this summer, but I am so excited to at least be able to spend three weeks at Pemi, despite the demands on my time!” We share in his excitement – and only wish you could see how excited Conner is able to get your sons about this or that species of ants. Talk about energizing our awareness of even the tiniest denizens and elements in our valley!

So, while we feel very confident that our day-to-day summer staff provides excellent instruction every day for the boys, this infusion of professional instructors for a few weeks each summer is quite the boon. They bring not only their expertise but also, in each case, a real love of education and an appreciation of all that Pemi does so well.

Well, we reckon that about does it for this week. Farewell for now. When next we write, our first-session boys will almost unbelievably be home – and our second session campers will have just arrived for their own 3½ weeks. We can’t wait to greet them, but we will assuredly miss our companions of these most recent slightly dampened weeks. Here’s to a wonderful rest of the summer for all.

— Tom and Danny

 

Packing For Pemi…Through The Ages

In honor of the annual ritual of “packing for summer camp,” it seems timely to dig into the archives to appreciate two packing lists from Camp Pemigewassett’s early days. Not only do they offer a glimpse into another day and time, but, when juxtaposed to today’s packing list, they provide good fodder for conversation on what was included and what wasn’t—then and now.

Draw whatever conclusions you want!

 

1908

Session length: 9 weeks. Tuition: $175.00

 

1908Cover

1908PackingSM

1956

Session length: 8 weeks. Tuition: $475.00

 

1956CoverList

2013

Session length: 3 ½ weeks or 7 weeks. Tuition: $5200 or $7900.

 

Packing_List3column

Chef Stacey Strikes Again: A Cake To Die For

"Bean Soup" editors compose a personal limerick for each birthday boy and girl.

“Bean Soup” editors compose a personal limerick for each birthday boy and girl.

 

Pemi’s annual Birthday Banquet takes place the night before our first session campers depart for home. The feast honors all those campers and staff whose birthdays occur during the summer season, and each and every birthday boy or girl is individually celebrated with a personal limerick, read aloud, and later immortalized in Bean Soup. Of course everyone in the mess hall sports proper banquet apparel: “a collared shirt and your least wrinkled clothing.” Cabin members reunite at “their” table after two rotations of sitting elsewhere, scarcely believing that a mere three weeks before they were unrelated individuals, since by this point they’ve become a band of brothers sharing bonds that inevitably develop when living in simple, close quarters.

It will come as no surprise that Chef Stacey worked her magic last year with a spectacular meal followed by decorated cakes for each table (count, ’em, folks, that’s 25 birthday cakes!) Given the numerous comments from campers and parents who appreciated Stacey’s Thanksgiving tips and biscuit recipe, it seems timely to ask Stacey if she has a favorite cake recipe (why timely? Because Stacey’s birthday is quickly approaching—March 30—but shhhhhh we didn’t tell her that we knew this when we asked for her recipe!).

Below you’ll find Stacey’s recipe—which sounds about as lip-smacking, deliciously-decadent as can be—presented with her trademark detailed instructions (not only is she a great chef, she’s an educator at heart).

But first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, STACEY! Breaking with the tradition of summertime-only limericks, here’s one especially for you:

  Pemi ’13, we’ve great things in store!
  In the messhall, gourmet treats galore!
  Breakfast, dinner, or lunch
  ‘twill be heaven to munch
  Meals by Stacey – last name Saville-Moore!

 

And now, the following comes to you from Chef Stacey:

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Fudge Filling
(otherwise known as, “This is the way to die, cake”)

My parents owned a diner in upstate NY that slowly morphed into a family-style restaurant. My mother wasn’t much of a baker, but she could make a mean chocolate cake. She got the mayonnaise cake recipe from a good friend who later opened up his own restaurant after our family place closed its doors. I have modified the recipe to add a chocolate fudge filling and a chocolate icing that is amazing. Sometimes I change it up a bit and add a layer of raspberry preserves over the fudge and ice the cake with raspberry icing. The sky is the limit with this cake. It is so incredibly moist that it is just as delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream or served plain with some fresh fruit. Notice that there are no eggs or oil in the recipe because mayonnaise already contains both.

Enjoy!

 

Please don't lick the screen.

(Please don’t lick the screen)

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup mayo
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Set oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9″ cake pans. (I use rounds because it makes a better presentation, but use whatever you choose.)

Cream together sugar, mayo, water and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift all other ingredients together. Stir together all ingredients until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Test cake layers by touching lightly with your fingertips. If the cake springs back then it is done. Put cake pans on rack to cool for about 15 minutes, then flip onto rack to cool completely.

Fudge Filling
12 oz chocolate chips (I prefer semi sweet because the chips set a little better. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever flavor you prefer.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 TBS butter
1 cupped chopped pecans (This is an optional ingredient also, you can omit the nuts or replace with dried chopped fruit, marshmallows, or shredded coconut, use your imagination and your family’s taste preference!)

Melt everything but the nuts in a small saucepan on low to medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mix is fully melted and smooth, add the nuts or other ingredients. Spread to cool on a greased cookie sheet. When the fudge is of spreading consistency, spread on the bottom layer of the cake. Place top layer on the fudge and frost with your favorite icing.

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup water
4 TBS butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken into small pieces
4 to 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Heat water, butter, and chocolate, stirring until chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and stir.
Sift 4 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, stir the mixture and beat until frosting is the desired consistency. Add more sifted sugar if needed. Frost top and sides of cake.

Cake should be refrigerated until ready to serve.

~~~~~~~~~

Ahhhhhhhh...

Ahhhhhhhh…

Thanks for the recipe, Stacey!  

~ Dottie Reed
with limerick by TRJR

Read more about Meals at Pemi!

Assistant Director Ken Moore Joins Pemi Full-time

To shake up an old cliché (is there any other kind?), we have some sad (but not bad) news and some good (make that great!) news!

We start with a heartfelt goodbye and thank you to Nikki Tropeano, Pemi’s inaugural Alumni Coordinator, who recently launched a new career as a State Farm Team Agent near her home in Alabama. From building our database of alumni contact information to overseeing the digitalization of old Bean Soups, to managing Pemi’s 105th Reunion, Nikki’s year of tireless effort, enthusiasm, and eye for detail built the foundation for Pemi’s exciting future plans for alumni engagement. We’re certain you join us in wishing her all the best in her new endeavor. We all count on seeing her back at Pemi.

KenMooreThe great news? We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that Kenny Moore has joined the ranks of year-round Pemi employees, adding the oversight of Alumni Relations to his Assistant Director portfolio. Ken will continue as Head of Program, the task he’s fulfilled so dynamically over the past several years, and will take on some other added responsibilities, including oversight of social media, enhanced work with off-season Open Houses, and recruiting for Pemi West. We feel extremely fortunate to have secured Kenny’s full-time services and can’t wait to see the energy and innovation that are sure to come from full time involvement.

We asked Kenny to give us a brief Pemi bio, and he responded with his characteristic passion and thoroughness. Why not let him speak for himself?

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Junior 5 - 1992sm

1992. J5 cabin photo. Ken is front and center, with his ever-present smile.

I started at Pemi in 1992, first session in Junior 5 with Ray Hearey as my counselor.  I remember him fondly, Ray being a Harvard man and my parents being Harvard grads as well. It was a good cabin placement for me.  I spent the next summer as a first-half camper, and in my third year, I came full season to Pemi and had Colin Brooks as my counselor in Lower 4.  (He would be my counselor in S2 as well.) Three more summers rounded my camper seasons at six, all told, three as a first-half boy and three full-time.  I spent the majority of my time on the waterfront, swimming, sailing, and doing a bit of knee-boarding. [Colin’s influence?]  My last summer as a boy, 1997 in the Lake Tent, was superb.  I took advantage of the trip program, journeying with Reilly to Maine twice, for the Allagash and Katahdin senior trips. Those two expeditions provide some of the most vivid memories of my cabin days. Reilly also led an infamous canoe trip down the Connecticut River that ignited an everlasting bond between James Finley and me.

The Lake Tent gang, 1997.

The Lake Tent gang, 1997.

In 1999, I began my counseling career in Lower 5 as Josh Fischel’s assistant counselor.  That summer Chris McKendry, my future cousin-in-law, was a camper in L-5 as well!  Josh’s demeanor with the boys and his tremendous patience provided an invaluable model for me as a young counselor trying to find his style.  My other major counseling influence would be Colin Brooks, Josh and he making up a unique duo for sure! Initially, it appeared that I would focus on Archery, but soon enough, in 2002, I began my career as Head of Waterfront, which lasted until 2012.  In 2002, I also became a Division Head in the Junior Camp, living in J-3.  It was a memorable summer for me, highlighted by my selection as the Joe Campbell Award winner by my peers on the staff. 

After three summers as a counselor in the Junior Camp, I then served as Upper Division Head in 2003 & 2004 and finally as the Division Head in Senior camp in 2006.  In 2007, I graduated from cabin life, serving a more administrative role as Assistant Athletic Director, working on organizing Pemi’s massive athletic schedule.  In 2011, I became Assistant Director and Program Director overseeing occupations, teaching, and scheduling.  

In my new full-time Assistant Director role, I am very excited to be working throughout the winter with Pemi boys of all ages, from alumni to prospective campers.  Pemi provides boys with an excellent framework for being productive, accomplished, and caring citizens of their community.  Our values of independence, responsibility, and cooperation translate directly from campers’ days by Lower Baker to their future careers and relationships.  I look forward to fostering close and fulfilling personal relations with all members of the Pemi community and to connecting alumni back to the institution and to each other.  Friendships made at Pemi last a lifetime, as I am so well aware as I look to my own close-knit group of friends, Brian Mitchell, Rob Follansbee, and Porter Hill, to name only a few.  I was incredibly fortunate to grow up with a special group of Pemi boys, who in turn became veteran staff members and passionate educators. It’s exciting to think of how many others like me could tell the same story.

My goal to help alumni re-connect to Pemi is first and foremost.  Theirs will be a crucial role in continuing the mission of Camp as we move further into our second century.  Utilizing social media, and other Pemi publications, will aid the process in new and exciting ways – and remind all to carry our values into the outside world.  In sum, I am absolutely thrilled to undertake this initiative, advancing Camp Pemigewassett and its mission, educating boys to take a fulfilling and rewarding place in an-ever changing world.

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We are thrilled as well. Please join us in welcoming Kenny to 24/7/365 Pemi!

 

 

Pemi’s Mission in a Rapidly Changing World

This past fall, 17 members of the Camp Pemigewassett family* gathered near Boston to discuss Pemi’s past, present, and most importantly, Pemi’s future. The agenda – crafted as a result of in-depth, one-on-one conversations between facilitator Nat Follansbee and each participant prior to the weekend – was ambitious, relevant, and varied, and kept the group engaged for two full days and then some.

All of our conversations—whether in the meeting room, during coffee breaks, or over group meals—were energetic, informative, positive, and productive and were often (not surprisingly) laced with good humor. But perhaps the most critical dialogue took place when the group, ranging in age from 17 to 67, tackled the task of articulating Pemi’s mission. Why do we exist? Who do we serve? How do we do it? What are the key words that best define Camp Pemigewassett? Part of the exercise involved looking back at our long history, considering what it is we’ve traditionally tried to do and why we’ve done it. Part of it involved looking forward and thinking about how Pemi might best respond and contribute to a rapidly changing world. We knew that an objective look at ourselves and clear identification of our mission would provide an invaluable roadmap for all future decision-making.

Below is the result of that session. It is posted on our web site and serves as a touchstone for all of us at Camp Pemigewassett as we move towards this summer and beyond.

Camp Pemigewassett’s Mission

Since 1908, Camp Pemigewassett’s abiding mission has been to inspire and support boys aged 8 to 15 as they find their own distinctive paths in becoming self-reliant, caring, and successful young men with a passion for all that they do.

For over a century, Pemi has balanced tradition and innovation to fulfill our mission in the context of an evolving world. Today, we continue to realize that mission in the following ways:

CAMPERS of differing backgrounds from all over the world live simply in small and inclusive cabin groups. These close-knit camper families meld with the larger Pemi community in ways that foster key civic values, such as respect for others, integrity, responsibility, sustainability, and generosity of spirit. Our varied program teaches and nurtures practical skills while it encourages the self-challenge, creativity, and resilience that develop a boy’s self-confidence. From the beginning, Pemi’s culture has been one of good humor and joy.

Pemi recruits STAFF members who are dedicated to the development of the whole camper, and we train them carefully with an eye to the most informed thinking on the social, physical, and emotional well-being of boys. Our staff’s enhanced leadership, mentorship, and communication skills serve our campers and parents well and become vital traits for staff to carry into future roles and relationships.

For PARENTS at home, Pemi offers support and guidance, sets clear policies, and communicates honestly and dependably as parents navigate the profound challenge of “letting go” – a crucial aspect of their partnership with Pemi and one that is essential to launching their sons on the first stages of their own life journeys.

Pemi serves as a practical and inspirational resource for ALUMNI of all ages as they carry “Pemi” back into their schools, communities, professions, and ongoing involvements. Alumni in turn form a vital network of kindred spirits and lifelong friends who welcome and support our “graduates” as they find their own way in the world beyond our mountain valley. They are our most potent and inspiring examples of the enduring benefits of the Pemi experience.

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Special thanks to Nat Follensbee, of The Loomis-Chaffee School, who guided the discussions. Participants included Board members Penelope Reed Doob, Peter Fauver, Fred Fauver, Danny Kerr, Roger McEniry, Tom Reed, Jr., Fred Seebeck, and Ander Wensberg, joined by Deborah Fauver, Dottie Reed, and 7 of the 9 members of the fourth generation of the founding Reed and Fauver families, Megan Fauver Cardillo, Sky Fauver, Jonathan Fauver, Alison Fauver, Abigail Reed, Sarah Fauver, and Alex Fauver.

Chef Stacey Dishes Up Thanksgiving Tips

Humor has long been a hallmark of Pemi, and anyone who attended the 2012 Final Banquet will long remember what may have been the best prank ever delivered by a Pemi chef.

“Parade of Turkeys”

As Pemi alums will recall, the sacred “parade of turkeys” launches both the Birthday and Final Banquets. The Pemi chef is responsible for roasting 25 hefty turkeys, one for each table of 10 hungry people. A musical crescendo hails the big moment, whether piano, trumpet, voice, or bagpipes. With the doors to the kitchen uncharacteristically closed but with the entire messhall filled with the aroma of Thanksgiving, the expectation is palpable. Suddenly, the “out door” swings open, and 25 waiters emerge, each with his silver platter weighted by a golden-crusted turkey. Marching in line, each waiter does a full circuit of the messhall before delivering the prize to his table.

Stacey’s Final Banquet prank

This year, however, Chef Stacey Saville-Moore—new to Pemi in June and quick to pick up on the role of good humor in the community—roasted 25 two-pound Rock Cornish game hens. When the waiters emerged carrying their miniature turkeys, confusion momentarily filled the messhall until everyone erupted in laughter and leapt to a standing ovation. Stacey peeked out from the kitchen with a smile full of delight and satisfaction. This was one of those “once in a lifetime” pranks, and those of us who were there are likely to remember it for a long time. Needless to say, the waiters delivered their game hens and returned to the kitchen, bringing out some of the most beautiful and moist turkeys that have ever graced the messhall.

Now that Thanksgiving truly is upon us, it seems only fitting to get some advice from the expert. Stacey shares her favorite biscuit recipe and offers tips for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Thanks, Stacey!

I have now been married for over 30 years and marrying a southern man can be somewhat of a task when you are a newly married bride and must compete with the table of the southern granny.  My husband’s granny was a wonderful little spitfire, reminiscent of the granny on the Beverly Hillbillies, but Doug’s granny was as straight-laced as they come, and certainly no moonshiner. However, she did love to feed her family. The very first time I met her, as a very nervous nineteen year old, she made me feel welcomed and loved. She also fed me a meal that seemed to never end. I always think of her hospitality when I feed people around my own table.

She shared many recipes with me and I treasure them, but she did not have a biscuit recipe. I watched her make biscuits several times but could never quite get them the way she did. So, after many a year of trial and error, I have put together a recipe that my husband approves of, and more importantly, one that I am proud to serve at my table. I must also say that my chef instructors heartily approved of this biscuit when I served them in culinary school. A+

Stacey’s biscuits, fresh from the oven

BISCUITS

4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
3 TBS baking powder
1 Cup Butter, chilled (yes, I said butter, no substitutions)
2 eggs
1 Cup milk

• Sift together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

• Cut butter into small cubes and either use your hands or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mix. (I use my hands because I can flatten the pieces of cold butter into discs, which helps the biscuits rise into layers as they bake) If you are using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas.

• Add milk and eggs and stir by hand until dough comes together.

• Form dough into a large mass and put it onto a floured surface. Gather it together and pat out with your hands. Do not knead this dough. The more you handle biscuit dough, the tougher the biscuits will become. Also, you do not want the bits of butter to soften or melt. Roll your dough into about a 1/4 inch thickness (about 1/2 inch for thicker biscuits) and cut. (For authenticity use a baking powder can with the ends cut out, but any round cutter will do.) 

• Place the biscuits on an ungreased sheet pan. I like to keep a small amount of space between the biscuits to give them a bit of a crunch all the way around, but some people like to let the biscuits touch. It is totally a personal preference. If you do let the biscuits touch, allow for a little more bake time, just a couple of minutes should do it.

• Bake for about 12-15 minutes in a preheated 450 degree oven. Just let the biscuits turn a little golden.

• Serve warm with butter, jam, apple butter, molasses or maple syrup.

Behind the scenes at Final Banquet

ROASTED TURKEY

Never have I roasted as many turkeys as I did at Camp Pemi! (at the same time anyway!) I do not stuff my birds with any type of stuffing. I used to stuff my bird with a sage and pork stuffing made with breadcrumbs, the way my mother did. Then I married a southern boy and he was raised on cornbread stuffing. So now I serve both of these stuffings on the side and stuff the turkey with fruit.

Before roasting said bird, I rinse the turkey in and out and pat dry with a paper towel. Stuff all empty cavities with fruit of your choice. I like to use a combination of apples and oranges. Quarter the fruit and stuff. No need to peel or seed the fruit. Roast your turkey according to directions.  I start the turkey off at a high temperature to brown and crisp the skin, and then turn the oven down to slow roast. Always, always cook your turkey to an internal temp of 165 degrees. Now, to basting… do I baste? Yes, yes and yes! Now here is the quandary; what to baste with? Keep it simple. Olive oil. That’s all there is to it. Brush that beauty with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a little cracked black pepper and some sea salt, and pop into the oven. Then, every 30 minutes or so, brush with more olive oil. If you cook to an internal temp of 165 and slow roast your bird with a fruit stuffing, it will be tender and juicy.  Remove the turkey from the oven when done and let rest for about 15 minutes, remove and discard the fruit and carve. The turkey, I promise you, will be delicious!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 ~ DGReed

Read more about Meals at Pemi!

 

What is it About Camp Friendships?

I see it at every major life event—weddings, graduations, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, any time family and friends gather to celebrate a significant milestone—that huge smile and even bigger hug when one very long time camp friend sees another. The immediate connection and feeling of absolute familiarity take over, transcending time, geographic limitations, and the busy pace of our lives. Yes, camp friends are our best friends, one of the many, many benefits of the years a boy or girl spends at a summer camp like Pemi.

As the years roll along—and thanks to the 21st century opportunities offered through social media, email and Skype—I have been able to keep in even closer contact with my decades old camp friends than I ever thought possible. So, recently, I wondered why are these camp friends my best friends? Not only did I marry a “friend” whom I met at camp more than 25 years ago (Julia and I really did begin as friends), but my children’s God Parents are camp friends, my weekend get-always are very often to visit camp friends, the largest contingent of friends I have on Facebook are camp friends, and the idea of missing a camp reunion and the opportunity to spend a few more precious days with these best friends—at the actual place where these deep bonds were formed—is not an option! So, what gives? Why are our camp friends so often our best friends?

I have a few theories, including the uncomplicated life we enjoy at camp that affords us the time to develop these close relationships, the success and growth we experience side-by-side, and quite simply, that camp is a place we can return to for so many summers. Indeed, many of us were lucky enough to begin camp at eight or nine years old, and we continued through our school and college years, into our young adult years and even beyond. These are all sound premises, but admittedly, I don’t have an exact answer to this very happy reality.

In his book “Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow,” author Michael Thompson interviews a group of five woman in their forties, all with families of their own, who first became friends at a summer camp. Together, they’d progressed through the ranks of young camper, senior camper, counselor in training and head counselor. Thompson, too, could not find an exact answer as to why camp friends are so often our best friends, but he came up with a few theories of his own after speaking with this group. These include the ritual activities and traditions at camp, the freedom and opportunity to be the person you want to be at camp, the shared love of camp, and the physical intimacy of the unfettered cabin life that campers enjoy. Each of these theories makes sense, but the sum, of course, is far greater than the individual causes, to the degree that even Thompson admits there is something else going on here that perhaps no one can completely identify.

So what are your theories? My guess is that if you are reading this you’ve been in touch with a camp friend very recently (I know I have) and that you’ve also developed and maintained these deep camp friendships over the years.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this wonderful reality of the summers we spend at camp! Fire away!

~ Danny Kerr