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.
If you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is Yvonne Maffei and her website, check it out. She did a podcast right here on islamwich not too long ago. Check that out too.
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).
In this episode of the islamwich Podcast, Kaighla interviews the founder of My Halal Kitchen, sister Yvonne Maffei.
We discuss her journey to Islam, how MHK was conceived, the state of halal food marketing among American consumers, how MHK is a dawah effort, and some tips she has for healthy, delicious eating in Ramadan.
…is a website dedicated to spreading love and understanding of the beauty of halal food. MHK aims “to provide home cooks with the tools to prepare completely halal meals, including those with the necessary substitutions to make every dish halal and without having to filter a recipe for non-halal ingredients. It aims to make the lives of readers better by expanding the list of available recipes that are wholesome, healthy, delicious, economical and halal.”
Without further ado, we present to you our interview with Yvonne.
- We talk about a few popular halal restaurants, the huge one among them being The Halal Guys, a food cart in NYC that’s insanely popular among all New Yorkers, regardless of religion.
- Yvonne’s two cookbooks are My Halal Kitchen and Summer Ramadan Cooking. Her cleaning book is called Clean Your Kitchen Green.
- Check out Yvonne’s favorite halal food companies, Saffron Road and Crescent Foods.
- Yvonne mentions some “halal food myths” she works to debunk.
- Yvonne uses some Arabic words, like halal, tayyib, & zabiha. Check out our extensive glossary.
- It happens that Yvonne was one of the people who helped guide me (Kaighla) to Islam back in 2009!
Written and Test-Kitchened by Stephanie Siam
Being from the Southern United States, I grew up on certain staples that can be difficult to replace after converting to Islam: lots of processed junk food, questionable meat products and, of course, Lucky Charms. While my heart and gut are thankful for my (slightly) healthier diet now, it’s often hard to please my nostalgic taste buds when it comes to traditional family favorites.
Moving to the Middle East made it even trickier to reproduce these dishes due to lack of necessary ingredients. Sure, I can find halal items easily, but now I have limited access to brands I’ve grown up on.
Of course, the times when I get most foodly-sentimental are when I a) see a long-loved favorite in the grocery store that imports American items and b) around Thanksgiving. Sure, lots of expats (Americans living abroad) celebrate Thanksgiving over here in Oman.
Written by Stephanie Siam
I have to admit when I became Muslim, there were a couple of things I was not excited about giving up. Pork, on the other hand, was not on that short list. Unlike many, many Southerners, I never developed an affinity for “the other white meat”. In fact, when my mother would announce we were having pork chops for dinner, I would groan and mumble, “I’d rather eat tire rubber.”
Still, as a non-Muslim, you don’t realize how many products (i.e., delicious processed junk foods) have pork by-products in them. Marshmallows, Lucky Charms (darn you, Leprechaun!), Jell-O…….I could go on, but I won’t. No sense rubbing it in your face what you can’t have anymore. (Darn you, Leprechaun….again!)