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. Alejandra Schrader

  2. Matthew Raiford

  3. Amy Paige Condon

  4. Mark Bologna

  5. Julia Skinner, PhD

  6. Soom Sisters

  7. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  8. Cynthia Graubart

  9. Angela Garbacz

  10. Haile Thomas

  11. Maria Hines

  12. Eventide Oyster Co.

  13. Bobbi Wegner

  14. Philia Kelnhofer

  15. Mark Masker

  16. hot for food

  17. Elizabeth Sims

  18. Laura Bashar

  19. Matthew Prescott

  20. Karrie Truman

  21. Keith Pandolfi

  22. Todd Richards

  23. Sonya Sanford

  24. Shaye Elliott

  25. Michael Leviton

  26. Frank Carollo

  27. Amy Emberling

  28. Erika Council

  29. Leah Segedie

  30. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  31. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  32. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  33. Daniel Olivella

    Daniel Olivella

  34. Caroline Wright

    Caroline Wright

  35. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  36. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  37. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  38. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  39. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  40. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  41. Ronnie Woo

    Ronnie Woo

  42. Virginia Willis

  43. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  44. Craig Whitson

    Craig Whitson

  45. Dan Whalen

    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. Cherie Twohy

    Cherie Twohy

  52. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  53. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  54. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  55. Natalie Slater

  56. Paula Shoyer

  57. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  58. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  59. Amelia Saltsman

    Amelia Saltsman

  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. Susan Pridmore

  68. Kate Payne

  69. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  70. Kim O’Donnel

  71. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  72. June Naylor

  73. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  74. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  75. Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

    Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

  76. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  77. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  78. Charles & Julie Mayfield

  79. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  80. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  81. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  82. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  83. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  84. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  85. Louis Lambert

  86. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  87. Steven Kolpan

  88. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  89. Raymond McCrea Jones

  90. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  91. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  92. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  93. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  94. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  95. Chris & Idie Hastings

  96. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  97. Kimberly Hasselbrink

  98. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  99. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  100. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  101. Linda Gassenheimer

    Linda Gassenheimer

  102. Amy Friedman

  103. Lisa Fetterman

  104. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  105. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  106. Von Diaz

    Von Diaz

  107. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  108. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  109. Fran Costigan

  110. John Coletta

    John Coletta

  111. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  112. Katie Cavuto

    Katie Cavuto, RD

  113. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  114. Ashley Blom

  115. Stacie Billis

    Stacie Billis

  116. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  117. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  118. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  119. Toby Amidor

    Toby Amidor, MS, RD

  120. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  121. Debbie Adler

  122. Kevin Gillespie


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