Herald JournalHerald Journal, Oct. 4, 2004

Former resident Jayne Mlynar publishes two cookbooks

By Ryan Gueningsman

What’s a woman to do when her husband or one of her two sons brings home a bear after hunting in the woods?

Some women want nothing to do with it. Others, like Jayne (Shrode) Mlynar, come up with new and innovative ways to create a delicacy out of it.

Mlynar, who grew up in Lester Prairie and graduated from Lester Prairie High School, recently had her second cookbook, “Never Hunt on an Empty Stomach (Just the Hearty Stuff)” published.

Her first cookbook, “Never Quilt on an Empty Stomach (Just the Sweet Stuff) Favorite Recipes by Jayne Mlynar” featured lighter fare – pies, cookies, cakes, bars, and “anything with butter and chocolate in it,” she said.

“I like the sweet stuff much more than the stuff that’s good for you,” she said with a laugh.

Mlynar used to quilt with ladies from Lester Prairie, and fellow quilter Irene Schmalz always said “You can never quilt on an empty stomach,” which always led to lunch and discussion about new recipes amongst the group.

“I’ve had that thought in mind for a long time,” Mlynar said about the title of her first book. The recipes in the book are a combination of her own recipes, her mother’s, and recipes of her family and friends.

After becoming a stay-at-home mother, Mlynar began compiling all of her recipes on her computer, and discovered she had quite a collection. She sent all of the recipes to a publishing company in Waverly, Iowa, and her first book was published.

With her husband, Bob, constantly in the outdoors (he is a conservation officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources), and her two sons, Kyle, 18, and Brett, 15, both loving the outdoors, Mlynar knew she had to do one more book with her favorite animal and game recipes.

“My boys hunt and fish constantly,” she said. “My 18-year-old son just shot a bear in our area. It was 350 pounds and took just a little effort to get that out of the woods.”

Mlynar and her family live in Aitkin, which is north of Mille Lacs Lake. In addition to promoting her cookbooks, Mlynar is opening a business called Wild Stitches, which will be a machine quilting and embroidering business in Aitkin.

She admits that when she moved from the area up to Aitkin, it took her about a year to get used to things like the grocery store only being open until 6 p.m. and other things that come with “up-north life.”

“Now, I don’t think I’ll ever move back,” she said. When the family goes on a shopping trip to Brainerd or St. Cloud, she said that she “can’t wait to get done and get back home.”

“Never Hunt on an Empty Stomach” was published last week, and Mlynar will have finished copies of it available in the near future.

She is planning on selling copies locally at Angvall Hardware and Mercantile, as well as having a book signing during the annual Lester Prairie Community Sing-along celebration in December.

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