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. Michele Song

  2. Judi Leib

  3. Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

  4. Crystal Wilkinson

  5. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

  6. Pam Victor

  7. Gabrielle Jordan

  8. Frankie Gaw

  9. Hannah Kaminsky

  10. Katherine Martinelli

  11. Brian Noyes

  12. Lori Shaw

  13. Alejandra Schrader

  14. Matthew Raiford

  15. Amy Paige Condon

  16. Mark Bologna

  17. Julia Skinner, PhD

  18. Soom Sisters

  19. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  20. Cynthia Graubart

  21. Angela Garbacz

  22. Haile Thomas

  23. Maria Hines

  24. Eventide Oyster Co.

  25. Bobbi Wegner

  26. Philia Kelnhofer

  27. Mark Masker

  28. hot for food

  29. Elizabeth Sims

  30. Laura Bashar

  31. Matthew Prescott

  32. Karrie Truman

  33. Keith Pandolfi

  34. Todd Richards

  35. Sonya Sanford

  36. Shaye Elliott

  37. Michael Leviton

  38. Erika Council

  39. Leah Segedie

  40. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  41. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  42. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  43. Daniel Olivella

    Daniel Olivella

  44. Caroline Wright

    Caroline Wright

  45. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  46. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  47. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  48. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  49. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  50. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  51. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  52. Craig Whitson

    Craig Whitson

  53. Dan Whalen

    Dan Whalen

  54. Jeff Weiss

  55. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  56. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  57. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  58. Barbara Unell

  59. Cherie Twohy

    Cherie Twohy

  60. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  61. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  62. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  63. Natalie Slater

  64. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  65. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  66. Amelia Saltsman

    Amelia Saltsman

  67. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  68. Matthew Rowley

    Matthew Rowley

  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. Susan Pridmore

  75. Kate Payne

  76. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  77. Kim O’Donnel

  78. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  79. June Naylor

  80. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  81. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  82. Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

    Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

  83. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  84. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  85. Charles & Julie Mayfield

  86. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  87. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  88. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  89. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  90. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  91. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  92. Louis Lambert

  93. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  94. Steven Kolpan

  95. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  96. Raymond McCrea Jones

  97. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  98. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  99. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  100. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  101. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  102. Chris & Idie Hastings

  103. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  104. Kimberly Hasselbrink

  105. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  106. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  107. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  108. Linda Gassenheimer

    Linda Gassenheimer

  109. Amy Friedman

  110. Lisa Fetterman

  111. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  112. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  113. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  114. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  115. Fran Costigan

  116. John Coletta

    John Coletta

  117. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  118. Katie Cavuto

    Katie Cavuto, RD

  119. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  120. Ashley Blom


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