Reviewed by Theresa Corbin
I have been a fan girl of the website myhalalkitchen.com for some time. I might need a restraining order from the Pinterest page. So when I heard there was a book coming out, Oh My God, y’all, I was so excited.
Yvonne’s website is a resource of all things halal (permissible), including tips, recipes, halal substitutes, a blog, and so much more. And with a following of 1.2 + million people on Facebook alone, it is a phenomenon not to be missed.
The book, My Halal Kitchen by the same genius mind who created the website by the same name, is to me and many other Muslim American foodies, the answer to a prayer in an American gastronomic scene that is wrapped in bacon and battered with beer (i.e. mostly haram).
Yvonne features recipes that are classic favorites from cuisines that are notoriously pork laden. From Cuban to Italian, Yvonne has crafted deliciously halal recipes to satisfy any craving. She also includes recipes for the foundations of dishes that are haram (impermissible) and hard to find substitutes for (think alcohol-based vanilla extract).
What Yvonne has done in this book is inspiring. Beyond just sharing her delicious and halal recipes, she has tied the farm-to-table movement to faith. As Yvonne explains:
As you’ll learn in these pages, halal is not just about food: It plays a role in all matters of life and is considered a universal concept from which all of humanity can benefit. Every part of the farm-to-table cycle is significant, and transparency in the food cycle and holistic living are vital matters to Muslims, as a devout follower would never support inhumane treatment of animals or unjust treatment of workers just to purchase a cheaper product. All living creatures are taken into consideration and given their due respect.
Compassion is a huge part of any faith, and for that reason, halal food-sourcing and cooking can and should be incorporated into the movement toward sustainability.
My Halal Kitchen is a book for everyone who wants to be more cognizant about what they eat and want to participate in a more humane food cycle.
After my initial infatuation for this book wore off (that’s a normal thing to feel, right?), I realized that this was the book I have been needing in my kitchen since I became a Muslim. It could have saved me thousands of hours of trial and error in the kitchen, trying to replicate my fav dishes that turned out to have haram ingredients.
Then, as if I was going through some strange
grieving rejoicing process, I finally realized what I didn’t like about the book … At a full 214 pages, it is too short. I wanted more. I need more.
Finally, I accepted the fact that the book was not going to include more amazing info than it did (do I smell a series?), and I got to cooking.
I have always been curious to try a meatball sandwich. I missed the opportunity to try the Italian fare in my non-Muslim youth. Now that I am a Muslim, I find myself drooling over them. But I have never come across one that I trusted to not have pork (a zabihah meatball would be a miracle).
So I decided to try out the My Halal Kitchen version of this saucy, cheesy, meatbally, Italiany fare.
And It was AMAZING!!! I am normally not a huge fan of red sauce, but the combo of herbs and a touch of natural sugar in this recipe hit all the right flavor notes ( I heard Padma Lakshmi say that once 😉 ).
I can’t wait to try out more recipes.
Guys, Gals, Muslims, non-Muslims, alien life forms, what ever you identify as, you NEED this book.
What are you still doing here? Go forth and purchase!
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