Peggy likes recipes that yield more than a single meal


by Sandy Bond

“The absolute best part of my career as a speech language pathologist in the school system is the children,” Peggy Gereau said.

Peggy has had a career with the Oahe Special Education Cooperative since she received her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Northern State University at Aberdeen in 1983. The cooperative offers a variety of special services including early childhood services, resource room instruction, physical therapy, occupational therapy and psychological services. The staff services a population ranging in ages from birth through high school at the seven member schools of the cooperative.

Since 1927, the month of May has been observed as National Speech and Hearing Month, a time to raise public awareness of hearing and speech and language disorders and also to recognize the contributions that speech and language pathologists make to enhance the quality of life for the population at large and including children in our school system.
The daughters of Wilbert (Bandy) and Viola Hettich, Peggy and her older sister Mitzi (Patterson) grew up in Selby where their dad was a rural mail carrier and their mom was the Walworth County Deputy Register of Deeds.

After graduating from Selby High School and beginning at Northern, she had planned to become an elementary teacher, she said. After completing a sophomore aiding experience, she realized she would rather work with students in a small group or on an individual basis.

When considering the job of a school speech pathologist, people may think of an individual who may stutter.
“That’s true, but the job also encompasses a lot more. I’ve had children in my case load with many different challenges,” she said. “Some of them have articulation issues that may cause them to mispronounce sounds which may make it difficult for them to be understood. Some have language disorders which may limit their ability to understand the spoken or written words. Others may have autism, a neural development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication.”

One of her youngest clients has been a 10-month old and the oldest, 21 years old.

“No two days are quite the same,” she said. “It keeps you on your toes,” she said.

She, her husband Rick and daughter Kelli, 22, and son Rhett, 19, live in Selby with their 16-year old cat, Sawyer. Rick was recently recognized for his 25-year tenure as a social studies/physical education teacher and coach at Bowdle High School. Kelli is attending Northern State University and lives in Aberdeen. Rhett has just completed his freshman year at Black Hills State University at Spearfish but is home for the summer.

Her mentor in the kitchen has always been her mom who is a phenomenal cook, especially with preparing German food and her delicious chocolate chip cookies, she said.

“I generally cook pretty basic meals,” she said. “Because of food allergies and family preferences, our meals are pretty plain. Meat and vegetables are a staple.”

The slow cooker, she said, gets a lot of use, because the meal is ready when they get home from work.

“I also try to make foods that can be used for two meals,” she said. “For example, when I make a roast in the Crock-Pot, I will strain and save the broth from the roast to make homemade beef noodle soup another day.”

One of her worst cooking experiences occurred relatively recently when she prepared one of her daughter’s specialties: homemade chicken strips.

“Kelli told me, ‘You need to bake them until they look done.’ Needless to say, they ended up being chicken jerky.”

She has an eclectic assortment of favorite reads. Although her favorite authors are Jodi Picoult and Patricia Cornwell, she also enjoys reading books on the bestseller list.

With the advent of summer and the end of the school year, Peggy will begin another season working at Mr. Bob’s Drive Inn.

“I started out as a carhop when I was in high school,” she said, “and I still enjoy preparing the food and meeting the wide variety of people you encounter when working with the public.”

– Sandy Bond –

Coated Popcorn

1 1/3 cups sugar
2 sticks margarine
1/2 cup white syrup
Bring to a boil (approximately 1 minute).
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups un-popped popcorn (“I use an air popper.”)
Pour mixture on popcorn while hot. Stir and eat!

Wrinkly, Crinkly Fries
4-6 unpeeled potatoes (washed and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. herbal pepper or lemon pepper seasoning
Put a single layer of potatoes on a greased baking sheet or one lined with foil. Coat potatoes with oil and add seasoning. Bake at 450 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.

Roast Beef Au Jus
3 to 5 lb. sirloin tip roast (or any good lean and boneless roast)
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
1 pkg. Au Jus mix
1 can beef broth
1 can water
1 pkg. French onion soup mix
Put all ingredients into a large Crockpot and mix together. Add roast. Cook on low for 12 to 15 hours. Shred beef and serve on buns or hard rolls. Leftover juice makes a good soup base.

Rhubarb Cake
1/2 cup margarine (room temperature)
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
2 rhubarb (chopped)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour milk
2 cups flour
Mix together.
Top with:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

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