Interview with Author M.K. Johnston of ‘Halal Comfort Food’ and the GiveAway

Hello people, I hope you are all good and healthy . Today we have a special guest on our Food Blog, and the post is not a normal recipe post. We are doing a Book Giveaway and interview with Author Mindy Johnston . ‘Halal Comfort Food’ is her debut work which has a guide for Halal Foods for newly reverted Muslims and many of your favorite dishes with Halalified recipes . I have the copy of her book and believe me even as born Muslim they were few things I didn’t know come under the details of Halal food.

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To Enter the Giveaway for getting your copy of the book . The rule is simple , answer the question below in comment box and I will message you to get your delivery address  if you are the lucky winner . There is only one lucky winner. 

What is your favorite  relief moment when you were looking for Halal food in a strange place , what did you find ? 

 

You can read the full interview below .

  1. How did the Idea for Halal Comfort Food struck you ?

MJ: Before I converted to Islam, I had spent several years developing recipes for a completely different cookbook.  Once I converted, I realized that those recipes were basically useless, as they were full of haram ingredients like alcohol and pork products.  So I was stuck for a while, trying to figure out whether I should just throw out the recipes and give up on the book, or whether I should keep working on recipes for another cookbook.  But the thing is, I really liked a lot of those recipes, and a lot of the foods that I used to eat.  So rather than just give up, I thought, why not just take those recipes and remake them with halal ingredients?  So I started experimenting with foods and recipe substitutions, and found that the results were really good!  And since I figured there are a lot of converts out there who might also want to find halal versions of their old favorite foods, I thought, why not make a cookbook featuring those foods and helping others to figure out how to make halal versions of their favorite foods as well?  So this became the main theme of the recipe section of the cookbook.  And since it was mainly geared toward converts, I also included information on what is and is not halal, and recipe substitutions so that readers can give their own recipes halal makeovers as well.I also included information on what is and is not halal, and recipe substitutions so that readers can give their own recipes halal makeovers as well.I also included information on what is and is not halal, and recipe substitutions so that readers can give their own recipes halal makeovers as well.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a  writer ?

MJ: I started writing when I was pretty young, but it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to write.  I started out writing poetry, then progressed on to short stories.  Eventually I decided I wanted to write novels.  But though I have started several novels over the years, I have sadly never finished one of them!  After a while though, probably while I was in college, I realized I had a knack for writing nonfiction.  And since I have always loved cooking as well, I finally thought, why not combine the two?  And so after I graduated from college, I began working on recipe development for a cookbook.  I have to admit, I thought that writing a cookbook would be easy, but considering the time it took me to develop all those recipes and put them together, it was not such an easy task after all!

3. Tell us 3 things  about yourself which are not mentioned in the Author description of your book ?

MJ:  I am an avid coupon-er.  I love a good deal, and am very thrifty!

In addition to my love for food and writing, I also love clothes and fashion in general.  I also sell Islamic clothes and other fashion accessories like vintage purses and shoes on eBay.

I used to be a vegetarian.  This didn’t last once I got pregnant with my first child and started craving steak, however!  But this is where my interest in food ingredients and recipe makeovers began.  I can tell you, it is a lot easier to make a halal version of mac & cheese than a vegan one!

4. How long did it took you to write this book?

MJ:  All in all, it was about 5 years of recipe development, but that took a bit longer than it might have taken otherwise since I more or less restarted in the middle of it.  Once the recipes were ready, the actual writing probably took only a few months.

5. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing or when you wrote this book ?

MJ:  I work full time, Monday through Friday.  I work on developing recipes as much as possible since I have to cook every day no matter what.  But the majority of the writing took place in the evenings and on the weekends.

6. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

MJ:  I love to read, though I don’t always have time to do so.  When my schedule is too hectic for reading, I still like to get my reading fix, so I listen to a lot of audiobooks!  I like to watch movies with my husband, and when I have time I like to do fun things outdoors, like taking the kids swimming or go hiking.

7. Who else is in your family and what do they think of your writing?

MJ:  I have a husband and two daughters.  They are all pretty happy with the recipe development part of my writing habit, because it means they get to try out all my experiments!  My husband especially likes to make recipe requests, lol.

8. What was one of the most difficult thing you learned in writing a Halal Food book?

MJ: The most difficult part of writing this book was probably finding source materials to properly explain which foods are and are not halal.  It seems pretty simple, just going off of what the Quran says, but there are actually a lot of differing opinions out there, and not many books on the subject (not in English, at least).  For example, some people feel that shellfish is haram.  Some people will eat only certified halal meat, while others feel it’s fine to buy non-zabihah meat and just say “Bismillah” over their food before eating.  My goal was not to tell people what to do or how they should eat, but to present all of the information so that they could make up their own minds.

9. Which is your favourite book?

MJ: That is a really tough question!  There are so many books that I love, it is hard to pick just one.  To be completely honest, I really love reading YA novels, especially ones that deal with the paranormal, like Twilight.  I also love dystopian novels, like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games.

10. Do you have any message for your readers ?

MJ: Play with your food!  I just want for my readers to have fun in the kitchen, and not feel as though they are constrained in any way by following a halal diet.  There are a lot of times we may want to try some food at a restaurant or office party, but we hold back for fear that it may have some questionable ingredient, or is made with meat that is not halal.  But rather than feeling left out, know that there is nothing we can’t have if we are willing to get a little creative in the kitchen!

11. Is there any new book you are already working on or planning to start with?

MJ: Yes, I am currently working on recipe development for my next cookbook!  I can’t say when it will be ready, but I plan to have a lot more recipes in the next one, and a wide variety of foods from around the world, in addition to more halal makeover recipes!

I wish you all the best for the success of your book and In sha Allah we will see you with many more books.

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11 thoughts on “Interview with Author M.K. Johnston of ‘Halal Comfort Food’ and the GiveAway

  1. Islamopedia

    Q: What is your favorite relief moment when you were looking for Halal food in a strange place , what did you find ?

    A: Finding an Indian Takeaway in God Forsaken lands is always a blessing in disguise. Even if they don’t sell Halal Food, they can direct you to where to find it or offer alternatives like fish or vegetarian dishes. The other added bonus is that they can direct you to the nearest Masjid for prayers also.

    Liked by 1 person

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