What’s Really in our Food – A Presentation by My Halal Kitchen’s Yvonne Maffei

This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet with My Halal Kitchen’s Yvonne Maffei. I’ll be honest, I was star struck! But her friendly and down to earth personality made it easy to talk to her. The expertise with which she swaps out the haram (prohibited) for the halal (permitted) in global cuisines is pretty commendable and one that has gained her much love and respect within the community and outside.

Although I had become a fan of her blog some time back, my interest piqued when I watched her series on Facebook called “What’s Really in our Food”  in which she talks about the ingredients used by the food industry that make up our food supply today. As you may well know, one of my missions here on this blog is to promote wellness through eating pure and wholesome foods.

God says in the Quran:

They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah .” Indeed, Allah is swift in account.

We have taken great care to ensure that we eat Zhabihah (slaughtered according to Islamic law) but we seldom give a thought to the purity of  what we ingest.

Before the cooking demonstration  Yvonne gave a presentation on all the various suspects in our food supply today. It was truly enlightening! One such example, the dough enhancer L-cysteine. 

did you know?

L-cysteine is derived from the amino acid found in human hair, duck feathers and hog hair. The most commonly used source though is human hair that is processed in China from hair  sourced from barber shops. It is dissolved in acid, the L-cysteine isolated through a chemical process and than exported to be used as an additive for commercially manufactured bread in order to prolong shelf life. Gross right? Synthetic ones are also used but I would prefer to stay away from both, natural and artificial, thank you very much! Read more about this suspect here and here.

There were many other additives that she spoke of and mentions them in her cookbook. Extremely eye opening and informative.

The evening ended with a demonstration on making non-alcoholic pina coladas and coconut balls at home!

going back to the basics

Her philosophy on going back to the basics so that one can avoid the slow poisoning that convenience foods cause us is one that I support whole heartedly!

Yvonne’s new cook book My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration is filled with recipes to make it easier for the home cook. I can’t wait to go through it at length and try the recipes!




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  • Abeer

    I never knew that about L-cysteine!!! I’ll keep a lookout for it from now in. I’ll have to check out Yvonne’s book too. Great post!

  • Zeeshan

    Thank You!

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