Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bachman Bars

Bachman Bars
Recipe by: Barb and Wiz Bachman

Grease 9x13 pan
Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup White Karo Corn Syrup to a boil and remove

Stir in 1½ cups creamy peanut butter and 6 cups Special K cereal

Spread in greased 9x13 inch pan

Melt in a double boiler
6 ounces butterscotch chips
12 ounces milk chocolate chips
Spread over bottom layer.

I woke up on Saturday morning to the news that Wiz and her parents, Todd and Barb, had been touring the Drum Tower in Beijing when a 47 year old nutcase attacked the group, killing Todd (her father) and inflicting critical, life-threatening injuries on Barb (her mother) and the female Chinese tour guide.

I spent the day crying off and on. I did two interviews talking about Todd and Barb, one with Yahoo! Sports that is posted here. The other was with a good friend who is writing for her Tuesday column in the Orange County Register. I’ll post that link when it goes live.

Todd and Barb are amazing, wonderful people. Please indulge me while I make a pathetic attempt to tell you a little bit about about them.

Their youngest of three daughters played volleyball at UCLA. I worked with her during my first two and her last two years with the Bruins. She was the first student-athlete that I met when I started at UCLA. That recipe I put at the top of this post? Bachman Bars (OK, so the recipe card Wiz gave me at her senior banquet says “Special K Bars” but screw that. They’re Bachman Bars!) were present and consumed at every single banquet during those first two years I was at UCLA and the three years Wiz played prior to my arrival. After every Friday night match (roughly 5x/year) there was a social for family and boosters and most of the parents brought a dessert to go with the athletic department-provided food. At her senior banquet, Wiz handed out recipe cards for the bars.

I woke up yesterday morning and Chris (the Hubster) had heard that “relatives of the U.S. men’s volleyball head coach” had been attacked. Wiz is married to the men’s volleyball head coach, who is from New Zealand, so when that news was paired with “Americans were injured” Chris put the pieces together rather quickly. I couldn’t compute it until he said what I couldn’t accept out loud: It’s Todd and Barb.

After a series of frantic emails to people I know with the U.S. delegation in Beijing, emails to my former co-workers at UCLA in case they couldn’t connect the dots, and the confirmation that Todd was dead and Barb was in surgery, Chris and I talked and decided that we should keep our plans for Saturday. There was no sense in sitting at home and being sad. There wasn’t a damn thing we could do from Pittsburgh. For me, Saturday’s plans included a Hurricane Knitters gathering at PAKnitWit’s house.

When I was completing preparations to leave the house, I threw some tin foil over the peppermint brownies I was bringing to the gathering. I looked at Chris and said “Why do I want to stop everything right now and make Bachman Bars?”

Instead, I picked up WeirdyPants and got a Rufus fix at her house, then we made it over to PAKnitWit’s, where I was only physically present. I was in and out of the house all day, emailing and texting with former co-workers. Talking to the reporter from Yahoo! Sports for half an hour. And crying off and on.

I feel badly that I was a drippy wet blanket on what should have been a fun knitting day, but all the Hurricane Knitters seemed to understand. (thanks, guys!)

Todd and Barb attended all of Wiz’s college volleybal matches. All of them. That’s no mean feat when you live in Minneapolis and your kid’s home games are in Los Angeles. Once she started playing internationally with the U.S. National team, they frequently traveled abroad to watch their daughter play. This is why I truly believe that this was a completely random act of violence. Sure, they were probably identifiable as tourists, but so are 75% of the humans in Beijing this week and next. They were seasoned enough travelers that I'm certain they weren't wearing anything that would scream "Americans!!" to random homicidal/suicidal crazy people.

Todd and Barb were responsible for the end-of-year team video for pretty much all the years they were involved with the program. Wiz, as well as Todd and Barb, were invited to my wedding (they were in Italy with the U.S. Women’s national team and could not attend). I was invited to Wiz and Hugh’s wedding in December, 2006, but could not attend because I was in Hawaii with the Bruins women’s volleyball team.

They were parents to the whole team at UCLA. And to me, when my own parents were 2,500 miles away. Again, they were parents and "volleyball nomads," cheering on Team USA at as many matches as they could attend, all around the world. Their two older daughters live on the same street as they do in Minnesota, while Wiz and Hugh are in Southern California because of volleyball.

There is no distinction between "son" and "son in law" for Todd and Barb. Wiz and Hugh were going to be in Beijing because Hugh's team was playing? Great! Let's go! A quote in one of the articles I've read said that Wiz was really excited for the Olympics because her parents were coming to Beijing and she'd have a good chunk of time to spend with them in China. That's indicative of the relationship Todd and Barb had with their kids, and it's a very familiar feeling to me, having spent eight years living thousands of miles away from my own parents and sibling.

I really don’t know what else to say. How to convey what special, genuine, wonderful people they are. I wish that there was something, anything, that I could do to ease Wiz’s burden right now. I simply can’t comprehend watching my father murdered and mother critically injured while I stood and watched, unhurt. I’m not a praying person, but I pray to whoever will listen for Barb’s recovery. The only thing that could make this whole awful thing even more awful would be if Barb doesn’t fully recover.

As long as I have known Wiz, she has always taken a camera everywhere she went. When Chris and I met her at Downtown Disney just before we moved east, we were on the road (and running late) when I realized that I had forgotten my camera. No worries, Wiz would have hers! In a funny twist of fate, Wiz had forgotten her camera that day as well, so we didn't get a picture of the two of us that day. So I share with you a photo of Barb, Wiz and Todd from Opening Ceremonies for the Athens Olympics. This was Todd and Barb’s 2004 Christmas Card, but I think my copy didn’t survive the most recent purge of stuff. Bachman’s, Inc., the family’s horticultural business in Minnesota, posted it on their website.

Barb, Wiz and Todd

The Bachmans are loved and respected. By me. By many people. I am heartbroken by this news and eagerly await each morsel of news and word from my friend if there is anything at all I can do to ease her unbearable burden.


Trillian42 said...

Oh, sweetie.


Anonymous said...

I only now just heard about what special people they must have been my prayers are with their family as well as to anyone whose lives they have touched.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting the recipe. I don't know you or the Bachman's but I just read about the tragedy on Yahoo's front page. After reading the article, I must say that I am so sorry to hear world lost such an amazing person and I hope Mrs. Bachman has a strong recovery. Also, after reading the article (and hearing so much about the bars) I am intrigued. Thanks again for posting the recipe.

Just one question, after everything is in the pan, does it go in the fridge? You don't bake it, do you??

Anonymous said...

Like many people, I have my own things to deal with in life, but they pale -- no, disappear -- in comparison to hearing about such a tragedy. From what I have read this morning, I cannot imagine kinder people. They obviously are among that special breed who know no boundaries to their love. Which makes this tragedy all the more senseless. If words of consolation from a complete stranger can help at all, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone who knows the family, and that I have been deeply saddened by what has happened.

DPUTiger said...

I must admit that I've never taken the time to make Bachman Bars, but I found the recipe almost first thing when I got home from Hurricane Knitters yesterday. I'm guessing that putting the bars in the fridge might help set the chocolate/butterscotch faster, but I don't think it's required. I do know that you don't bake anything, just the boil/double boiler bits cooking-wise. I do know that part. :)

Looks like I'm gonna get a slew of anonymous comments on this post. If you can, it would be great if you let me know how you found me. I'd appreciate it! :)

LaurieG said...

Hugs to you. I'm so sorry for their family's, and your loss.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and their family! What a tragedy this is....It sounds like they have touched so many people and what a mark they have made in this world! I will be making these bars this week for my volleyball playing daughters!!

mehitabel said...

Hugs to you, from the bottom of my heart. I've lived through this kind of tragedy often enough to know that the shock will wear off, the pain will subside, and you'll just always have a hole in your heart where these special people have been. Hold tight to the memories and honor them that way!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for the recipe.

scrapper al said...

Hugs to you! Thank you letting us know a little more about the Bachmans. Your post really touched me.

How did I find you? I read an online article about the Bachmans and did a Google search for "Bachman bars." Your link was one of the top five or six. This is the quote that drew me to your blog, "(OK, so the recipe card Wiz gave me at her senior banquet says “Special K Bars” but screw that. They’re Bachman Bars!" I knew you would be honest and not pull any punches with that. :)

TAFKAMA said...

this is definitely a tragedy, but as far as the bachmans inventing that recipe, that is not correct. my grandmother has been making that same dessert for 40 years, before special-k existed you had to use corn flakes. she got the recipe from an old cooking magazine in the 60s.

TAFKAMA said...,1910,155169-224198,00.html

the are called o henry bars

Anonymous said...

Replying to your question of how I found you:

I was so interested in trying out these famous "Buchman Bars" that I did a search for them on Google and found this post. I search on Yahoo first but nothing came up.

-Michelle M.

DPUTiger said...

Dude, get a grip. I never said they invented the recipe. It's how our little group of people knew the recipe. Especially since most people in California had never heard of "bars" before.

If that's the nicest thing you can say about a family tragedy? .....

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, DPUTiger...they will always be Bachman Bars to me! Making them to share will be one way I can keep their spirit alive. What a tragedy. I don't know them, but I do know I would have admired them had I the honor to be a part of their lives. My payers go out to the family.
I found you just like scrapper al did.

Anonymous said...

I read the story today and my heart just broke. The Bachman's sound like amazing, genuine people and those that knew them along with those who didn't just lost a wonderful and kind spirited man. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. May the mother recover and the daughters find some peace through this tragedy and emulate the same goodness their father's memory has touched the lives of a mourning nation. God Bless.

errs said...

That was a beautiful eulogy. Hugs to you.

Amanda said...

{{Hugs}} hon. That was beautiful. You are all in my thoughts, and I'm sending healing vibes Barb's way...I hope and hope for this family...

Jenn said...

I think I'll be making Bachman Bars to take to Connecticut with us.

I can't even begin to imagine what Wiz is going through right now. Such a shame.

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing the recipe. I will definitely be making some, and I'll be thinking about these wonderful people while I do.

I know you felt really helpless yesterday, but from what the Yahoo writer wrote in that article, you clearly conveyed how amazing the Bachmans are. You did good.

Anonymous said...

Found you on Google ... this was the first entry listed.

I don't play volley ball, am not from California or Minnesota, and I don't have a relative that attended UCLA ... but ...

We will watch the olypics tonight from our home in Texas and root for american athletes, we will make bachman bars, and pray for friends and family of the bachman's.

Thank you for taking the time to eloquently share with the rest of us.

Mama Bear said...

I read about the Bachman's on Yahoo Sports and I did a google search for 'Bachman Bars' just like Scrapper Al. Your link was the first on the list and I was immediately drawn to it. Thank you for sharing both your memories and the recipe. We will be watching the Olympics and praying for Mrs. Bachman's recovery.
No matter what they have been called in the past I will always think of this treat as 'Bachman Bars'.

treesy said...

Like several people have already mentioned... I read about the Bachmans in the Yahoo Sports article and since I'm a cookbook/recipe fiend, I had to find the recipe for the Bachman Bars. I Googled "Bachman Bars" and found your blog. My heart goes out to you and everyone else who knew the Bachmans. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. So thankful for the recipe. I wil make them in their honor from now on. My 14 year old daughter plays volleyball and I love the sport. I, too, read the article on Yahoo and immediately went to google to search when you said “I want to stop everything right now and find the recipe for the Bachman bars.” My heart goes out to you and the whole volleyball community. Such a senseless tragedy.

Jess said...

I'm so sorry.

Yvonne said...

Oh, Amy, you're amazing. I was hoping you'd have the recipe for the Bachman Bars. (To the folks who are all uppity-up about the title of the bars...they couldn't be Oh, Henry bars...there's no peanuts or caramel or nougat!! And who cares if the Bachmans didn't invent was a tradition for them to bring the bars to the banquets, and obviously that's what earned them the moniker of Bachman Bars. But I digress.)

You were fine yesterday. If I were in your situation, I'm not sure that I would have had half the composure that you did. I probably just would have been a puddle.

Your post is a testament to your inner strength and your love for the Bachman family. My heart goes out to them, and to you for losing a part of your "extended" family.

Many hugs.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for everyone's loss. Poor Wiz. I can't even imagine.

I have relatives in the Twin Cities and I believe some of them might know the Bachmans personally. What a tragic and senseless loss.

(I've heard rave reviews about the Bachman florist company - They can plan and plant floral gardens in your yard that have a variety of flowers that keep on blooming all season, one kind after another, and always wanted to check it out.)

Thanks for the recipe. I found you by googling Bachman bars. From that story I saw on Yahoo.

Someone asked, do you just put these in the fridge ? (not bake them)

I'm going to keep this recipe in their honor. Does anyone have the old "Seven Layer Bar" recipe ? Sorry for the off topic, but that's how I found your blog.

Bless the Bachmans and their friends. I pray for a quick and full recovery for Barb, and for peace to come to Wiz, along with lots of cherished memories that last forever.

Anonymous said...

After reading this horrid report of such a great loss on Yahoo, I did the search for "Bachman Bars" and found this post. Keep your precious memories close. Thoughts and Prayers to all of you that suffer this senseless loss.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the Bachman's kindness with this symbolic recipe. My thoughts go out to their family and extended volleyball family.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to an extraordinary family. My thoughts and prayers are with you and them. And, not for nothing, I send good thoughts your way for having to deal with all the idiots who'll be popping into your grief with moron comments about the author of the dessert recipe. Honestly, people, does it really matter?

turtlegirl76 said...

I knew you'd have the recipe. That's great that you're sharing it with everyone. That. combined with such a wonderful tribute as you wrote, truly honors the family. My thoughts and prayers are with them and hoping for a full recovery for Barb.

Anonymous said...

Very touching tribute. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the Bachman family. An incredible family, to say the least. And thank you for posting the recipe. How cool it would be if everyone made the bars, and shared them with others all next week? :) Thank you, again, for this post.

Anonymous said...

(Oh, yeah... I forgot to mention I found you by googling Bachman Bars, after I had read the Yahoo interview)

Jen said...

This is a wonderful remembrance for what sounds like a wonderful family. They (and you) are in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Hey DPUTiger,
Sorry for your loss. I'll try the bars on my next day off. You would think that China would be the safest place on Earth. I guess a nut can get you anywhere. This sucks. Love Karl J. Grossman
Elgin, SC USA

Anonymous said...

Yeah, likewise. Found you by googling bachmanbars,

Anonymous said...

DPUTiger, First of all, I would like to forward my "Deepest Condolences" to the friends and family of The Bachman's. Also, for a speedy recovery for Mrs. Bachman's, mind body and soul... as she will need as many Prayers as possible during her life long recovery.
It was such a tragic event, that NEVER should have happened... to any family... anywhere!

Thank you for posting "The Bachman Bars" recipe. It will always be a "Bachman Bar" to me!

I'm sorry, I just have to speak my mind after reading the reply by: Tafkama @ 4:42pm "They are called an O'Henry Bar".

"Food For Thought"
To everyone who reads this post... and the posts before it... just because a recipe might have originated by someone else, it's the "MEANING" of the gift, that someone missed (Tafkama). It was given by their family, out of love. Not because of the ingredient listed or whose bar it belongs to.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with the Bachman family, friends, and everyone who has been able to know the family. My heart goes out to them.

Found your blog the same way, googled "Bachman Bars" after reading the interview. The name is definitely staying whenever I attempt the recipe.

splashvizsla said...

our hearts go out to the bachman family and their extended volleyball family. what a tragedy and to have it happen when you were on a trip of a lifetime. we'll be making BACHMAN BARS, as they will always be known to us, and have them while we watch the games. best wishes for a full recovery for barbara too. p.s. i found the recipe by googling bachman bars.

Incognito said...

It doesnt matter who invented them or what they are "really called" the Bachmans sound like such incredibly sweet and caring people. After hearing (reading) so much about these bars, I found myself really wishing I could try on the off chance somebody "in the know" decided to post it online, I went agoogling for it.
I am definetly going to try the "Bachman Bars". Thanks SO much for posting the recipe!

I was incredibly sad to hear what happened. My heart nad prayers go out to all their family and all their friends!!

Yvonne said...

Me again...uplifting to hear that Barbara's condition has been upgraded to "stable". Still keeping the Bachmans, their extended family, the Volleyball team, and you & Chris in my thoughts.

froggie doodle said...

Sending prayers of healing for Barbara and comfort for the family. Thank you for your tribute to a wonderful family and the Bachman Bars.

froggie doodle

PS- Googled like scrapper al.