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. Brian Noyes

  2. Lori Shaw

  3. Alejandra Schrader

  4. Matthew Raiford

  5. Amy Paige Condon

  6. Mark Bologna

  7. Julia Skinner, PhD

  8. Soom Sisters

  9. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  10. Cynthia Graubart

  11. Angela Garbacz

  12. Haile Thomas

  13. Maria Hines

  14. Eventide Oyster Co.

  15. Bobbi Wegner

  16. Philia Kelnhofer

  17. Mark Masker

  18. hot for food

  19. Elizabeth Sims

  20. Laura Bashar

  21. Matthew Prescott

  22. Karrie Truman

  23. Keith Pandolfi

  24. Todd Richards

  25. Sonya Sanford

  26. Shaye Elliott

  27. Michael Leviton

  28. Frank Carollo

  29. Amy Emberling

  30. Erika Council

  31. Leah Segedie

  32. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  33. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  34. Derek and Chad Sarno

    Derek and Chad Sarno

  35. Daniel Olivella

    Daniel Olivella

  36. Caroline Wright

    Caroline Wright

  37. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  38. Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  39. Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  40. Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  41. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  42. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  43. Ronnie Woo

    Ronnie Woo

  44. Virginia Willis

  45. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  46. Craig Whitson

    Craig Whitson

  47. Dan Whalen

    Dan Whalen

  48. Jeff Weiss

  49. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  50. Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  51. Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  52. Barbara Unell

  53. Cherie Twohy

    Cherie Twohy

  54. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  55. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  56. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  57. Natalie Slater

  58. Paula Shoyer

  59. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  60. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  61. Amelia Saltsman

    Amelia Saltsman

  62. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  63. Matthew Rowley

    Matthew Rowley

  64. Betty Rosbottom

  65. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  66. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  67. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  68. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  69. Susan Pridmore

  70. Kate Payne

  71. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  72. Kim O’Donnel

  73. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  74. June Naylor

  75. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  76. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  77. Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

    Mary Helen McNally-Leonard

  78. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  79. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  80. Charles & Julie Mayfield

  81. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  82. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  83. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  84. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  85. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  86. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  87. Louis Lambert

  88. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  89. Steven Kolpan

  90. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  91. Raymond McCrea Jones

  92. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  93. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  94. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  95. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  96. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  97. Chris & Idie Hastings

  98. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  99. Kimberly Hasselbrink

  100. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  101. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  102. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  103. Linda Gassenheimer

    Linda Gassenheimer

  104. Amy Friedman

  105. Lisa Fetterman

  106. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  107. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  108. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  109. Hannah Crum

    Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

  110. Fran Costigan

  111. John Coletta

    John Coletta

  112. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  113. Katie Cavuto

    Katie Cavuto, RD

  114. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  115. Ashley Blom

  116. Stacie Billis

    Stacie Billis

  117. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  118. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  119. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  120. Toby Amidor

    Toby Amidor, MS, RD


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