Bean, Milo (Mike) - Salt Lake Tribune newspaper article - February 21, 1982
Contributor: finnsh Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Cooking is ‘survival’ and more
by Donna Lou Morgan
AMERICAN FORK - “I GO BY my taste,” Milo (Mike) Bean said. “If I want a piece of pie, I get busy and make one. If I want a piece of cake, I get out my measuring cup and the ingredients and make a cake. I bake all my own bread, and put together a good stew anytime. I cook to survive,” added this forever young 83-year-old.
It hasn’t always been this way. Up until 12 years ago, Mr. Bean’s wife did most of the cooking for him, although he said he did work alongside her in the kitchen at times. “After her death, I simply decided I would have to cook. I had no choice. I could never exist on hamburgers from the drive-in all the time. They ‘doll’ them up too much. The only way I was to survive was to cook for myself.”
When Mr. Bean began cooking again his thoughts went back to his growing-up years. “I remembered when I was about 15 years old watching and helping my mother cook for ranch hands when we were living in Nevada,” reflected this Provo native. “But what I could recall didn’t help too much. As I tried to reproduce her dishes, it would occur to me that mother had added a bowl of cream to a recipe. Then the realization would hit me that I didn’t have her particular bowl - so how was I to know exactly how much cream she stirred in. It was the same with her ‘2 sifts of flour’ or a ‘tad’ of this or that.
“Then I would think about how she often opened the oven door of her wood stove and put her hand in to test if it was a ‘slow oven’ for baking. Of course, she had no thermostat. And, sadly I found, I didn’t have her touch.
“MY ONLY GAUGE for making mother’s specialties was to experiment until I could reproduce the wonderful taste of the cakes, pies, breads and main dishes she had made for me as I was growing up.
“And, even if I do say so myself,” he smiled, “I’ve done a pretty good job.”
To look at the irresistible treats Mr. Bean had prepared was to know “pretty good job” was the understatement of the year. His Homemade Bread had beautiful texture and delicious flavor. His Raisin Nut Cake was superb. And the Cherry Pie this terrific cook had made boasted one of the flakiest, finest pie crusts ever.
“My favorite dish is bread and milk,” Mr. Bean commented. “That’s the main reason I make my own bread because it HAS to be homemade bread and milk,” he pointed out.
“I MAKE FOUR loaves at a time, then freeze them. When I get down to two loaves, I get busy and make another batch. I’m never without homemade bread. Haven’t bought a loaf at the store for 12 years.”
Mr. Bean’s culinary activities have competition when springtime arrives. “As soon as I can, I get out golfing two or three times a week. And I insist on carrying my golf clubs. No cart for me,” he laughed. “I’m too young for that!”
“I’ve decided there are three stages in life: young, middle aged and ‘you’re looking good.’ I’m in the ‘you’re looking good’ stage,” he mused.
SUMMERTIME FINDS MR. Bean caring for an enormous garden. “It’s important for me to plant and grow an array of vegetables in my garden and plenty of fruit in the orchard so I am able to can and freeze enough to keep my year’s supply of food forever replenished. My wife and I always kept our year’s supply of food and I’ve continued to do so.”
Always on Sunday, any time of the year, Mr. Bean invites his daughter, Mickie and her husband, Kenneth Lewis, Pleasant Grove, with his five granddaughters, for Sunday dinner. “I get up early Sunday morning and put the roast in the oven. Then I make pies or cakes and put on the vegetables when it gets time. All the grandkids like to come to grandpa’s house for Sunday dinner,” Mr. Bean added proudly.
Recently Aimee Dawn, 4, the youngest of the Lewis’ offspring, spent a day with her grandfather helping him make Raisin Nut Cake. According to her mother, each of the girls has had this privilege many times in their lives.
“Dad is so patient and sweet with them,” Mrs. Lewis said. “He has taken the time to show each how to make pie crust and other specialties. The girls love to work with him in the kitchen. And they think he’s the best cook in the world!”
MR. BEAN SMILED as he said, “I just cook to satisfy myself. If someone else likes it, that’s okay, too.”
The following recipes sent by excellent cook, Milo Bean, American Fork, will bring satisfying goodness to your dining table. Enjoy!
Homemade White Bread
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups milk, scalded
4 tablespoons shortening or oil
4 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons salt
8 to 10 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar added. Scald milk; add shortening or oil, 4 tablespoons sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm.
Add dissolved yeast to lukewarm milk mixture with 5 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth and well blended. Add remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn dough to grease on all sides. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down. Cover and allow to rise again until doubled.
Divide dough into four portions; make each portion into a tight ball. Allow to rest 10 minutes.
Form each portion of dough into a loaf. Place in greased 9 x 5-inch loaf tins. Cover and allow to rise until almost doubled.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bread is done. Remove from oven; cool on wire racks. Brush with butter while hot, if soft crust is desired. Makes four loaves.
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
1/3 cup cold water
Sift flour with salt into mixing bowl. Divide shortening in half; cut half into flour-salt mixture, then add the rest, cutting in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cold water; blend lightly with fork just until all flour particles are moistened and mixture begins to leave side of bowl. Roll out as desired.
“When I make a Cherry Pie, I simply take a quart of the sour cherries I have canned, thicken the juice and add a bit of sugar and flavoring.”
Raisin Nut Cake
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon soda
3/4 cup raisins (ground)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 large eggs
2 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
Boil water and add soda and ground raisins. Allow to stand while mixing remaining ingredients.
Beat sugar, shortening and eggs until fluffy and well mixed. Add flour, salt and vanilla with raisin mixture; stir in chopped nuts, blending thoroughly. Pour into greased and lightly floured 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done.