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Hello!

My name is Lynne Yancy. I am an artist, writer, and teacher originally from the Chicago area who now lives in Texas with my family and a small herd of domestic animals. That’s enough chatter about that.

The Real Reason Behind (yet another) Food Site

I love to cook. I love to try new recipes and put ingredients together in ways I’ve never done before. I don’t love having to scroll for ages down web pages, past process pictures and paragraphs of chatter unrelated to the food after a recipe’s title has enticed me to investigate further. That drives me crazy. I just want the recipe. I can’t be the only one who feels this way.

 

RecipesUpFront is my response to the frustration some cooks feel when they just want the recipe (for Pete’s sake!). Here the recipes are the focus and the chatter is limited to the food. I’m not going to tell you about the furniture I’m refinishing, the knitting that occupies my evenings, the cute antics my cats devise, home remodeling, traffic that ruined my drive, or any other matters that have nothing to do with creating and enjoying food. What I will do, though, is stay engaged with you if you have questions about the recipes and I’ll welcome your input about improvements and changes you make to the posted recipes.

Some History about the Recipes on this Site

My great-Grandma, Grandma, and mother cooked with lard. I still remember the bowl of bacon drippings in my mother’s refrigerator that was used and added to every weekend when my mother made Bratkartoffein—German fried potatoes—which she lamented were never as good as her mother’s. My Grandma’s sister, Aunt Kitty, made a hot German potato salad so well it was practically a given that dish would be on the table for any kind of family gathering; they were “command performance” potatoes. As I was going through their recipes, I thought about their lives.

 

My great-Grandma was a farm wife who bore twenty children and had her hands full raising an active farm family that needed ample calories to fuel the hard work of their lifestyle. Through the generations, however, things changed. Farmers became city dwellers.

 

Great-Grandma’s daughters moved to the city. Life for them still included home canning and preserving, but there also became time for more sedentary pursuits. Sure, my Grandma sewed clothes, knitted, and crocheted like her mother had, but she and her siblings had time for frequent card games and socializing that great-Grandma never had.

 

My mother’s generation came to adulthood in the post-World War II years when grocery store chains and a boon of time- and labor-saving products completely changed the way people acquired and prepared foods. By the time my generation came along, processed convenience foods, ubiquitously advertised through radio, television, and print media, became the new normal. I recall the shift from mom making dinners from whole ingredients (roasted meats, boiled potatoes, and cooked fresh vegetables) to complexly packaged meals (Eckrich Polish sausage, packaged “mashed” potato buds, and canned creamed corn), culminating in frozen “TV” dinners, which we kids loved and required no more work than turning on the oven and popping aluminum trays into it.

 

As a result of the generational changes, when I was first married I did not know how to cook. Worse, I had no inclination to cook much less learn to do it well. My husband at the time, however, had a strong survival instinct. His mother grew up on a farm; he was used to real food. So he took up the mantle and cooked, and he was very good at it. My friends were envious of my never having to lift a finger in the kitchen, except to bake, which I loved to do. I admit I had it made there…until we divorced after 15 years of marriage.

 

Ramen noodles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and tuna salad only provide so much interest…and not for very long. My survival instinct kicked in, and I learned how to make the food my ex-husband had prepared. Well, what do you know? I discovered that cooking was not only fun, it was an enormously creative process. I likened it to making art you could eat.

 

For the past 25 years I have been learning and creating in the kitchen. The birth of my daughter led to more conscious decision-making about food quality since I was responsible for the health and well being of a small person who was learning from me how to be in the world. Because mothers are the first educators of children, it was up to me to show my daughter how to make good food choices, eat well, and prepare good food.

 

Today I cook a lot like my great-Grandma did, using whole foods and quality ingredients, but without the lard! Over the years I have become more thoughtful about food quality, more knowledgeable about using herbs and spices instead of just salt and pepper, and more committed to plant-based diets and very rare use of processed foods. (Try the Lemon Basil “Crack” Cookies recipe and understand why I make some exceptions.)

 

The recipes on this site are a combination of family recipes handed down over the decades and international recipes I have collected over time. Some of them call for ingredients that I don’t buy, such as canned cream-of-whatever soups. (See my Basic White Sauce recipe for a homemade alternative.) You go ahead and use whatever makes you comfortable.

 

The majority of the recipes on this site span generations, countries, and cultures, yet they all are my family’s recipes. Martha, Jeanne, Sis, Jim, Robin and others whose recipes are included here have contributed to the communal food language of a large clan. This is our “home” food, offered for your experimentation and enjoyment.

Do you have a favorite recipe?

If you have any favorite recipes that you'd like to share, send me an email at the address below. Please make sure to be as exact as possible with measures and quantities, and don't forget to include the preparation / cooking time.

You can email me at yummy (at) recipesupfront.com