Kathy Speichinger

Kathy Speichinger enjoys cooking for her family and school community. She farms with family near Belle, Missouri. 

BELLE, Mo. — Kathy Speichinger had a lot of resources to help her learn to cook.

“I was in 4-H,” she says. “I think everybody learned to cook in 4-H.”

She also learned to cook from her family members, like her Grandma Lindbloom and her mom.

Speichinger cooks for big family dinners, neighbors and events at school. She and her husband, Lawrence, farm with their family in Osage County, and she teaches at nearby Belle, Missouri. They raise cattle in the rolling terrain of the region. They now have two kids and two grandkids, and she enjoys cooking for them and their life events.

“When our daughter got married, we had barbecue brisket,” Speichinger says.

Someone suggested chicken would be cheaper, but Speichinger wanted brisket for the special occasion.

“It says ‘Speichinger Angus’ on the sign out front, not chicken,” she says. “I wanted to make sure she had good food for her wedding.”

Speichinger works as the business teacher and Future Business Leaders of America advisor at Belle, and she leads cooking efforts for the organization’s fundraisers and events.

Her recipes come from a variety of sources, including traditional family recipes and an old cookbook she received from neighbors for whom she used to babysit. The Internet is also a good source.

“I put in the search box what I have in the refrigerator,” she says.

She uses old family recipes for pickled green beans and peppers, and she really likes cooking pies. She gets ingredients for pies from the apple and cherry trees on her farm, or by picking pecans in the nearby Osage River bottom. Her fresh strawberry pies are also popular, along with her peach pies and cobbler.

Speichinger says her favorite part of cooking is eating, especially eating with friends and family — sharing the food and the experience.

Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.