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. Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD

  2. Lauren Stauble

  3. Alyssa Campbell

  4. Sonya Sanford

  5. Michele Song

  6. Judi Leib

  7. Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

  8. Crystal Wilkinson

  9. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

  10. Pam Victor

  11. Frankie Gaw

  12. Katherine Martinelli

  13. Brian Noyes

  14. Lori Shaw

  15. Alejandra Schrader

  16. Matthew Raiford

  17. Amy Paige Condon

  18. Mark Bologna

  19. Julia Skinner, PhD

  20. Soom Sisters

  21. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  22. Cynthia Graubart

  23. Angela Garbacz

  24. Haile Thomas

  25. Maria Hines

  26. Eventide Oyster Co.

  27. Bobbi Wegner

  28. Philia Kelnhofer

  29. Lauren Toyota

  30. Elizabeth Sims

  31. Laura Bashar

  32. Matthew Prescott

  33. Keith Pandolfi

  34. Todd Richards

  35. Shaye Elliott

  36. Erika Council

  37. Leah Segedie

  38. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  39. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  40. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  41. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  42. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  43. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  44. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  45. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  46. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  47. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  48. Dan Whalen

  49. Jeff Weiss

  50. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  51. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  52. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  53. Barbara Unell

  54. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  55. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  56. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  57. Natalie Slater

  58. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  59. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  60. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  61. Matthew Rowley

    Matthew Rowley

  62. Betty Rosbottom

  63. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  64. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  65. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  66. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  67. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  68. Kim O’Donnel

  69. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  70. June Naylor

  71. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  72. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  73. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  74. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  75. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  76. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  77. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  78. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  79. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  80. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  81. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  82. Steven Kolpan

  83. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  84. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  85. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  86. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  87. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  88. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  89. Chris & Idie Hastings

  90. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  91. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  92. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  93. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  94. Lisa Fetterman

  95. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  96. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  97. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  98. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  99. Fran Costigan

  100. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  101. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  102. Ashley Blom

  103. Stacie Billis

  104. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  105. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  106. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

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

  108. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  109. Debbie Adler

  110. Kevin Gillespie


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