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. Sonya Sanford

  2. Michele Song

  3. Judi Leib

  4. Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

  5. Crystal Wilkinson

  6. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

  7. Pam Victor

  8. Frankie Gaw

  9. Katherine Martinelli

  10. Brian Noyes

  11. Lori Shaw

  12. Alejandra Schrader

  13. Matthew Raiford

  14. Amy Paige Condon

  15. Mark Bologna

  16. Julia Skinner, PhD

  17. Soom Sisters

  18. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  19. Cynthia Graubart

  20. Angela Garbacz

  21. Haile Thomas

  22. Maria Hines

  23. Eventide Oyster Co.

  24. Bobbi Wegner

  25. Philia Kelnhofer

  26. Lauren Toyota

  27. Elizabeth Sims

  28. Laura Bashar

  29. Matthew Prescott

  30. Keith Pandolfi

  31. Todd Richards

  32. Shaye Elliott

  33. Erika Council

  34. Leah Segedie

  35. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  36. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  37. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  38. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  39. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  40. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  41. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  42. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  43. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  44. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  45. Dan Whalen

  46. Jeff Weiss

  47. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  48. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  49. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  50. Barbara Unell

  51. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  52. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  53. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  54. Natalie Slater

  55. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  56. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  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. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  65. Kim O’Donnel

  66. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  67. June Naylor

  68. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  69. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  70. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  71. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  72. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  73. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  74. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  75. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  76. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  77. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  78. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  79. Steven Kolpan

  80. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  81. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  82. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  83. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  84. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  85. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  86. Chris & Idie Hastings

  87. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  88. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  89. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  90. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  91. Lisa Fetterman

  92. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  93. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  94. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  95. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  96. Fran Costigan

  97. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  98. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  99. Ashley Blom

  100. Stacie Billis

  101. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  102. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  103. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

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

  105. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  106. Debbie Adler

  107. Kevin Gillespie


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