Yvonne Maffei

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I’m Yvonne Maffei, Founder & Publisher of My Halal Kitchen. I was born and raised in small-town Ohio in the heartland of America. After studying at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) I’ve lived all over the country and traveled the world, but northeast Ohio is where I will always call home. I had a wholesome upbringing in a place where the people were nice, the surrounding was safe and peaceful, and the schools fantastic. It shaped everything about the person I am today because it was the launching pad I needed to go forward in life to set off satisfying all of my curiosities about the world — and I’m very curious.

I was raised visiting farms on the outskirts of my small town. Every Wednesday or Saturday my parents would visit the local flea market where we could directly interact with Amish farmers or other local producers about their farm stand produce and hand-crafted goods. School trips and family outings involved things like hay rides, visits to apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and summer strawberry picking — memories I cherish deeply and one of the reasons why fall and spring are my absolute favorite seasons of the year.

What has made my life even more interesting is that I’m half-Sicilian and half-Puerto Rican, which means that I grew up eating some really amazing food!  My Sicilian grandparents had Sunday suppers for the entire family every week. Pasta with meatballs, lasagna, homemade sauce, homemade bread, homemade pizza — it was all a part of the culinary experience of my youth and something I thought was normal. On the Puerto Rican side, it was rice and beans, chicken, pasteles (banana-leaf wrapped tamales), and all sorts of Caribbean-style sweets made with guava, mango, coconut and pineapple.  It’s no wonder I grew up with a desire to hold on to the culinary traditions I grew up with when I saw so much of it disappearing into the marketplace of not-so-real food as I got older and began shopping for myself.

A trip to Sicily when I was 18 years old changed everything about how I viewed food, cooking, and living. I experienced how to shop, select, cook, and savor the freshest ingredients one could possibly put on the table. My aunt showed me around the markets of my family’s seaside home town in a small village outside of Catania and the rest of my family there showed me how to truly enjoy it all. I was never the same after returning, and never returned to yo-yo dieting or eating processed foods.

Coming back to the U.S., I entered college and began traveling abroad more and more — Mexico, the Caribbean, France, England, Switzerland, Morocco, Spain, Greece, and all of Italy. I couldn’t get enough of learning about how people around the world cooked and lived and enjoyed the freshest and most local ingredients on hand. I talked to everyone I could about how to prepare food from scratch and why they used certain cooking methods over others. No culinary school could have given me that type of experience, although I really wanted to enter a prestigious culinary school at the time. Without regret, I graduated from Ohio University with a B.A. and an M.A. in International Studies and came out speaking a couple of extra languages, meeting some incredibly interesting people, and having the most amazing college experiences I hold deep in my heart.

After college I was a Spanish and English Language and Literature teacher for nearly 10 years before deciding to pursue food writing and teaching the culinary arts within a halal context on a full-time basis. I’m passionate about wholesome food, nutrition, gardening, homemaking, and learning about fascinating culinary traditions of people all over the globe. I love real food and am concerned about the current state of our food industry and other factors that jeopardize our food freedom and fair and equal access to healthy food for everyone. It helps that I love to cook, I love to be in my kitchen or garden, and I love to travel and cook and garden anywhere else in the world, too. I could literally cook and discuss food and everything that surrounds the topic all day long. Really, I could.

I live just outside of Chicago and am always scoping out food and products that are natural, organic, pure, halal, raised humanely, sourced ethically, and brought to market without poisonous toxins and chemicals. Unfortunately, that’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is getting easier as more great companies produce wonderful products I love to shout out to the world — that means so you can find out about them, too!

Spokesperson
Author
  1. Muhammad Abdul-Hadi

  2. Jaíne Mackievicz

  3. Tamarind Tree

  4. Monti Carlo

  5. Shelley Rahim

  6. Justin Burke

  7. Beejhy Barhany

  8. Amethyst Ganaway

  9. Crystal Wahpepah

  10. Sammy Monsour and Kassady Wiggins

  11. Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD

  12. Lauren Stauble

  13. Alyssa Campbell

  14. Sonya Sanford

  15. Michele Song

  16. Judi Leib

  17. Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

  18. Crystal Wilkinson

  19. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

  20. Pam Victor

  21. Frankie Gaw

  22. Jessica Formicola

  23. Brian Noyes

  24. Lori Shaw

  25. Matthew Raiford

  26. Amy Paige Condon

  27. Mark Bologna

  28. Julia Skinner, PhD

  29. Soom Sisters

  30. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  31. Cynthia Graubart

  32. Angela Garbacz

  33. Haile Thomas

  34. Maria Hines

  35. Eventide Oyster Co.

  36. Bobbi Wegner

  37. Philia Kelnhofer

  38. Lauren Toyota

  39. Elizabeth Sims

  40. Laura Bashar

  41. Matthew Prescott

  42. Keith Pandolfi

  43. Todd Richards

  44. Shaye Elliott

  45. Erika Council

  46. Leah Segedie

  47. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  48. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  49. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  50. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  51. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  52. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  53. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  54. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  55. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  56. Dan Whalen

  57. Jeff Weiss

  58. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  59. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  60. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  61. Barbara Unell

  62. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  63. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  64. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  65. Natalie Slater

  66. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  67. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  68. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  69. Betty Rosbottom

  70. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  71. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  72. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  73. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  74. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  75. Kim O’Donnel

  76. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  77. June Naylor

  78. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  79. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  80. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  81. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  82. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  83. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  84. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  85. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  86. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  87. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  88. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  89. Steven Kolpan

  90. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  91. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  92. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  93. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  94. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  95. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  96. Chris & Idie Hastings

  97. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  98. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  99. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  100. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  101. Lisa Fetterman

  102. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  103. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  104. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  105. Fran Costigan

  106. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  107. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  108. Ashley Blom

  109. Stacie Billis

  110. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  111. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  112. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  113. Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND

  114. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  115. Debbie Adler

  116. Kevin Gillespie


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