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. Hannah Kaminsky

  2. Katherine Martinelli

  3. Brian Noyes

  4. Lori Shaw

  5. Alejandra Schrader

  6. Matthew Raiford

  7. Amy Paige Condon

  8. Mark Bologna

  9. Julia Skinner, PhD

  10. Soom Sisters

  11. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  12. Cynthia Graubart

  13. Angela Garbacz

  14. Haile Thomas

  15. Maria Hines

  16. Eventide Oyster Co.

  17. Bobbi Wegner

  18. Philia Kelnhofer

  19. Mark Masker

  20. hot for food

  21. Elizabeth Sims

  22. Laura Bashar

  23. Matthew Prescott

  24. Karrie Truman

  25. Keith Pandolfi

  26. Todd Richards

  27. Sonya Sanford

  28. Shaye Elliott

  29. Michael Leviton

  30. Frank Carollo

  31. Amy Emberling

  32. Erika Council

  33. Leah Segedie

  34. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  35. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  36. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  37. Daniel Olivella

    Daniel Olivella

  38. Caroline Wright

    Caroline Wright

  39. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  40. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  41. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  42. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  43. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  44. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  45. Ronnie Woo

    Ronnie Woo

  46. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  47. Craig Whitson

    Craig Whitson

  48. Dan Whalen

    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. Cherie Twohy

    Cherie Twohy

  55. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  56. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  57. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  58. Natalie Slater

  59. Paula Shoyer

  60. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  61. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  62. Amelia Saltsman

    Amelia Saltsman

  63. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  64. Matthew Rowley

    Matthew Rowley

  65. Betty Rosbottom

  66. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  67. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  68. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  69. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  70. Susan Pridmore

  71. Kate Payne

  72. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  73. Kim O’Donnel

  74. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  75. June Naylor

  76. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  77. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  78. Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

    Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

  79. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  80. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  81. Charles & Julie Mayfield

  82. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  83. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  84. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  85. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  86. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  87. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  88. Louis Lambert

  89. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  90. Steven Kolpan

  91. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  92. Raymond McCrea Jones

  93. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  94. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  95. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  96. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  97. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  98. Chris & Idie Hastings

  99. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  100. Kimberly Hasselbrink

  101. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  102. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  103. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  104. Linda Gassenheimer

    Linda Gassenheimer

  105. Amy Friedman

  106. Lisa Fetterman

  107. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  108. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  109. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  110. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  111. Fran Costigan

  112. John Coletta

    John Coletta

  113. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  114. Katie Cavuto

    Katie Cavuto, RD

  115. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  116. Ashley Blom

  117. Stacie Billis

  118. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  119. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  120. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh


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