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. Matthew Raiford

  2. Amy Paige Condon

  3. Mark Bologna

  4. Julia Skinner, PhD

  5. Soom Sisters

  6. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  7. Cynthia Graubart

  8. Angela Garbacz

  9. Haile Thomas

  10. Maria Hines

  11. Eventide Oyster Co.

  12. Bobbi Wegner

  13. Philia Kelnhofer

  14. Mark Masker

  15. hot for food

  16. Elizabeth Sims

  17. Laura Bashar

  18. Matthew Prescott

  19. Karrie Truman

  20. Keith Pandolfi

  21. Todd Richards

  22. Sonya Sanford

  23. Shaye Elliott

  24. Michael Leviton

  25. Frank Carollo

  26. Amy Emberling

  27. Erika Council

  28. Leah Segedie

  29. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  30. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  31. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  32. Daniel Olivella

    Daniel Olivella

  33. Caroline Wright

    Caroline Wright

  34. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  35. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  36. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  37. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  38. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  39. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  40. Ronnie Woo

    Ronnie Woo

  41. Virginia Willis

  42. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  43. Craig Whitson

    Craig Whitson

  44. Dan Whalen

    Dan Whalen

  45. Jeff Weiss

  46. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  47. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  48. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  49. Barbara Unell

  50. Cherie Twohy

    Cherie Twohy

  51. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  52. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  53. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  54. Natalie Slater

  55. Paula Shoyer

  56. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  57. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  58. Amelia Saltsman

    Amelia Saltsman

  59. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  60. Matthew Rowley

    Matthew Rowley

  61. Betty Rosbottom

  62. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  63. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  64. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  65. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  66. Susan Pridmore

  67. Kate Payne

  68. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  69. Kim O’Donnel

  70. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  71. June Naylor

  72. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  73. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  74. Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

    Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

  75. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  76. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  77. Charles & Julie Mayfield

  78. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  79. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  80. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  81. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  82. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  83. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  84. Louis Lambert

  85. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  86. Steven Kolpan

  87. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  88. Raymond McCrea Jones

  89. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  90. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  91. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  92. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  93. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  94. Chris & Idie Hastings

  95. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  96. Kimberly Hasselbrink

  97. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  98. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  99. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  100. Linda Gassenheimer

    Linda Gassenheimer

  101. Amy Friedman

  102. Lisa Fetterman

  103. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  104. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  105. Von Diaz

    Von Diaz

  106. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  107. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  108. Fran Costigan

  109. John Coletta

    John Coletta

  110. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  111. Katie Cavuto

    Katie Cavuto, RD

  112. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  113. Ashley Blom

  114. Stacie Billis

    Stacie Billis

  115. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  116. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  117. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  118. Toby Amidor

    Toby Amidor, MS, RD

  119. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  120. Debbie Adler

  121. Kevin Gillespie


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