The following is an interview with Yvonne Maffei, a Chicago-based Food Writer and the Publisher of MyHalalKitchen.com, a popular food blog focused on halal cooking, eating and halal food topics. She is also a Culinary Consultant to Schools and Businesses. She can be found offering cooking tips and more on her Facebook page and on Twitter @myhalalkitchen.
Interview with Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen
[American Muslim Mom] As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu dear sister Yvonne (via Lisa Mabe).
[Yvonne] Wa’alaikum as salaam Ponn, thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview.
[American Muslim Mom] One of the biggest problems and complaints in a halal kitchen during Ramadan is the how much food is wasted after iftar.
Never has Ramadan passed in which this one topic has not been discussed a dozen times with a dozen different Muslim sisters. However, no improvements are made year after year, because they let habit overcome them, even though the great amount of food wasted simply defeats the purpose of fasting, then preparing and eating in moderation.
- Over-cooking extravagant meals, only to let it sit around, spoil and ultimately be thrown away because one is so stuffed that they never clean the kitchen right after a big iftar,
- The desire to make fresh new robust meals every night, with no desire to eat left-overs because “we didn’t fast all day *just* to eat left-overs”, and
- Having eyes bigger than our stomachs, so when cooking iftar, they easily over-cook out of perceived desire rather than actual need.
What are your top tips to cook efficiently and/or re-purpose certain parts of previous meals so left-overs are not wasted?
[Yvonne] I plan ahead of each Ramadan so that I know pretty much what I’m cooking at every suhoor and every iftar. I may change things according to what I have on hand or what’s easiest, but that’s ok because I’d rather not waste any food than stick to a plan just for the sake of it. A plan is more for helping you to organize your kitchen and helping you have on your radar an idea of what you can put on the table. When shopping in advance, this is such a big help and huge time and food saver.
I make less food than I do for the rest of the year because I’ve learned that we simply cannot eat as much as when we’re not fasting. I freeze leftovers as much as possible and re-heat things that I know we’re most likely to finish. I tell people to use the freezer to their advantage!
[American Muslim Mom] You’re partnering the entire month of Ramadan on an interesting and interactive online campaign with Whole Foods and Saffron Roads. Can you please share details about the campaign and how our readers can get involved?
[Yvonne] It’s a very exciting time for the halal consumer and I’m enjoying being part of such a unique collaboration. I’ve partnered with Saffron Road to help increase awareness of their amazing halal, vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free frozen entrees, chicken products and broths which are available in Whole Foods Markets.
Whole Foods is partnering with Saffron Road during the month of Ramadan to recognize the Muslim consumer and to show awareness for our month of fasting. They’ve asked me to be a guest blogger on the Whole Story blog where I was able to talk about Ramadan and share an iftar recipe. Both companies have gone further to sponsor giveaways on the Whole Story blog and five giveaways on MyHalalKitchen.com where they are generously offering a $100 Whole Foods gift card plus 5 coupons for FREE Saffron Road entrees to a random winner throughout Ramadan. Readers can check out my Facebook page, Saffron Road’s Facebook page, or myhalalkitchen.com for the latest giveaways. We also tweet about it quite a bit!
[American Muslim Mom] You recently launched your debut book, “Clean Your Kitchen Green,” can you please share why you wrote this and what it’s about?
[Yvonne] I wrote the book because I felt that I had a lot to share about how I’ve developed cleaning my home, especially my kitchen, without the use of toxic products. I have very sensitive skin, so over the years I’ve developed a plethora of products that I favor as being not only easy on my skin, but also on the environment and happen to clean my kitchen really well. Additionally, I learned that many products contain gels derived from pork by-products and I just didn’t want to use those to wash my dishes, counters, tables or floors. I wanted products that met all of my needs and requirements. As a result, I developed my own homemade cleaning recipes after much experimentation to see what does or doesn’t work and I’ve shared those recipes along with a list of resources for the products I use. Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it matters- just like what you put on your body.
[American Muslim Mom] Sounds like a great Ramadan or Eid gift for Green Halal Chefs [such as professionals by title, and self-proclaimed by their kids, like me, mashaAllah ;-)]. Where can our readers purchase it?
[American Muslim Mom] Excellent tips that you’ve been sharing so far this Ramadan season are:
- Let Your Freezer Help You This Ramadan
- Kitchen Efficiency During Ramadan
- 4 Tips to Organize Your Ramadan Cooking
[Yvonne] Thank you, and there’s more to come, insha’Allah!
[American Muslim Mom] Besides your blog, how can our readers stay in touch with you?
[Yvonne] Alhamdullilah, I’m really active on my Facebook page and on Twitter. Insha’Allah, I’ll be conducting a LIVE web chat on my Facebook page wall this Thursday from 12-1pm CT called ‘Keep Cooking Simple During Ramadan’. There are more events listed on my Facebook page where I’ll be doing radio interviews and more this month, but readers can always email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to get mail J.
[American Muslim Mom] Jazaka Allahu Khayrun dear sister Yvonne.
[Yvonne] Wa’iyyaki sister Ponn. Thank you for having me.
If you have specific questions for sister Yvonne, about her tips, book, Ramadan campaign, etc., please kindly comment below.