I Read the Quran to Simply Broaden My Horizons About a Different Culture

Yvonne Maffei was born and raised in northeast Ohio to parents of Italian and Puerto-Rican descent. She accepted Islam after a long and careful study of the religion.

When asked about how she became Muslim she said:

"I didn't really know much about Islam or Muslims until going off to college where I was often spoken to in Arabic by many of the students who confused me with someone of Middle Eastern descent. After a while, I started to wonder a little more about the culture. These people were very friendly and hospitable and once I began talking to them in more depth, I really came to like their family values, belief in something higher than themselves, their seriousness towards education and how they prioritized all of those things above what most college kids are preoccupied with at the same age."

"I had also recently returned from Morocco via a study abroad trip in Spain and remembered fondly the people and culture of that country, although it was a short trip within my language program at the time. It was nothing like how most people stereotyped the Arabs or Islam and that completely intrigued me to learn more, including reading the Qur'an with absolutely no intention of converting. I was simply trying to broaden my horizons about a different culture."

"Five years later and after reading the Qur'an, Ahadith and many small booklets on Islamic principles, I decided that Islam was the path I wanted to take in my life."

After graduating from Ohio University with a BA and a MA in International Studies Yvonne worked as a teacher for nearly 10 years before deciding to follow her passion for cooking on a full-time basis. She launched MyHalalKitchen.com and began writing and teaching the culinary arts within a halal context.

Yvonne currently lives outside of Chicago. She has written several books about Halal cooking: "My Halal Kitchen" which celebrates halal cooking through more than 100 recipes from a variety of culinary traditions. "Summer Ramadan Cooking" which showcase the food rituals of Ramadan and the variety of global cuisine that can be made halal. She also writes a monthly column for the British magazine 'Sisters'.