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. Mark Bologna

  2. Julia Skinner, PhD

  3. Soom Sisters

  4. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  5. Cynthia Graubart

  6. Angela Garbacz

  7. Haile Thomas

  8. Maria Hines

  9. Eventide Oyster Co.

  10. Bobbi Wegner

  11. Philia Kelnhofer

  12. Mark Masker

  13. hot for food

  14. Elizabeth Sims

  15. Laura Bashar

  16. Matthew Prescott

  17. Karrie Truman

  18. Keith Pandolfi

  19. Todd Richards

  20. Sonya Sanford

  21. Shaye Elliott

  22. Michael Leviton

  23. Frank Carollo

  24. Amy Emberling

  25. Erika Council

  26. Leah Segedie

  27. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  28. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  29. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  30. Daniel Olivella

    Daniel Olivella

  31. Caroline Wright

    Caroline Wright

  32. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  33. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  34. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  35. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  36. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  37. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  38. Ronnie Woo

    Ronnie Woo

  39. Virginia Willis

  40. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  41. Craig Whitson

    Craig Whitson

  42. Dan Whalen

    Dan Whalen

  43. Jeff Weiss

  44. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  45. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  46. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  47. Barbara Unell

  48. Cherie Twohy

    Cherie Twohy

  49. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  50. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  51. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  52. Natalie Slater

  53. Paula Shoyer

  54. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  55. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  56. Amelia Saltsman

    Amelia Saltsman

  57. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  58. Matthew Rowley

    Matthew Rowley

  59. Betty Rosbottom

  60. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  61. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  62. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  63. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  64. Susan Pridmore

  65. Kate Payne

  66. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  67. Kim O’Donnel

  68. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  69. June Naylor

  70. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  71. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  72. Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

    Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

  73. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  74. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  75. Charles & Julie Mayfield

  76. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  77. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  78. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  79. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  80. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  81. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  82. Louis Lambert

  83. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  84. Steven Kolpan

  85. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  86. Raymond McCrea Jones

  87. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  88. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  89. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  90. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  91. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  92. Chris & Idie Hastings

  93. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  94. Kimberly Hasselbrink

  95. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  96. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  97. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Craig “Meathead” Goldwyn

  98. Linda Gassenheimer

    Linda Gassenheimer

  99. Amy Friedman

  100. Lisa Fetterman

  101. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  102. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  103. Von Diaz

    Von Diaz

  104. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  105. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  106. Fran Costigan

  107. John Coletta

    John Coletta

  108. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  109. Katie Cavuto

    Katie Cavuto, RD

  110. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  111. Ashley Blom

  112. Stacie Billis

    Stacie Billis

  113. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  114. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  115. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  116. Toby Amidor

    Toby Amidor, MS, RD

  117. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  118. Debbie Adler

  119. Kevin Gillespie


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