Beamon focuses on flavoring food
Retired National Guard staff sergeant Macon Beamon said his favorite aspect of cooking, especially while serving his country, was making soldiers and friends feel like they had a good, solid meal.
“I had an experience during my service in California where each cook, including me, had to feed around 1,500 people,” Beamon said. “A lot of cooks when they fix the meal just make the food and don’t really try to make it tasty. I like to make it good for them.”
Beamon was born and raised in Carthage and was drafted into the National Guard in 1970. He started as an E3 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant. He was transferred to the Philadelphia Unit of the National Guard and stayed there until his retirement in 2010.
Beamon enjoys spending his retirement cooking and spending time with his wife Hattie and three children, Lekishia, Brian and Yolanda. Their fourth son, Byron, passed away in a car accident.
During his time in the National Guard, Beamon loved to cook and even won the Connelly Award (an award designed to improve food service operations and recognize the best mess halls in the Army) thanks to his cooking and excellent food service in 2004.
Beamon said he began cooking for his mother before he left home to serve his country, and continued to cook during his service.
“When I cooked in the military, my favorite dish was a good pot roast,” Beamon said. “Another dish I loved to cook was a special spaghetti meal, along with beef stew, salad, and mac and cheese. One of my desserts was a pineapple upside down cake, which is what ultimately won the Connelly Award.”
Beamon said he always enjoyed making soldiers feel like they were having a good, solid meal.
“Nowadays, my son cooks and makes food for me and my wife, but I’ll get together with him and we’ll cater meals to people,” Beamon said. “I like to grill a lot now and make things like ribs, chicken, and steaks. I also enjoy making cakes, and a good pie every now and then. I like to cook for my graduating class as well, and we have things like chicken, fish, ribs, salad, a pot roast, and more.”
He said the biggest thing to remember while cooking is to properly season food, such as how much salt you put on something.
“That’s one thing a lot of people don’t realize,” he said.
GRILLED HAMBURGER STEAK
(Makes around 100 portions)
37 lbs., 8oz beef patty mix, ground and thawed
4 1/2 tbsps salt
1 tbsp black pepper
Combine ground beef, salt and pepper, and mix until blended. Shape into steaks approximately 1 inch by 4 inches which, weighing around 6 ounces each.
Grill steaks for around 8 minutes on each side or until done.
DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE (Makes around 100 portions)
2 1/2 quarts flour
2 1/2 quarts granulated sugar
2 1/3 tbsps salt
3 1/3 tbsp baking soda
4 1/2 cups cocoa
1 3/4 cups dry nonfat milk
Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa, and milk into a mixing bowl. Add shortening and water to dry ingredients. Beat at low speed for 1 minute until blended, and continue beating at medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Combine eggs, water, and vanilla and add slowly to the mixture while beating at low speed. Scrape down the bowl, and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.
Pour batter into a greased 18 x 26-inch sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Frost if desired.