A new generation of Muslims is opting for local, free-range and organic foods to break the Ramadan fast

Spirituality in the kitchen: Wholesome and halalYvonne Maffei prepares food for the start of Ramadan, in her Des Plaines home July 25. (Stacey Wescott/ Chicago Tribune)

By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune reporterJuly 31, 2011

Yvonne Maffei spent last week in her kitchen simmering soups and sauces, packing her freezers with fruits, meats and herbs and taking inventory of her cabinets and shelves to make sure she has all she needs during the 30 days of Ramadan.

Though Maffei’s preparation may seem counterintuitive for the holy month when Muslims are commanded to fast from dawn to dusk, Maffei, a chef and food blogger, believes the feast should be as sacred as the fast.

A new generation of Muslims is focusing on the spiritual side of the kitchen during Ramadan, from the way they clean to what they cook. While traditionally Muslims have tried to break their fasts with cultural comfort foods, some Muslims are making sure their food is not just halal, but organic, free-range and “tayiib” — Arabic for wholesome. They care as much about how the animal was killed as they do about how it was raised. [Read more]