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Step Away From the Stove

(by Khaleelah Jones)

I have spent a lot of my adult life watching in awe as my friends, significant others, and extended family are waited on hand and foot in the kitchen by their mothers when they are home for a visit. I also can’t help but be slightly envious when people get care packages from home, filled with Mom’s special cookies, cakes, or other delicious treats. My mother simply doesn’t cook. As a child in northern Virginia, I never saw anything odd in this fact: My mother was a driven career woman, and then took time off to raise her children. We spent hours together, playing house, telling stories, driving to various practices and play dates, gardening, swimming, caring for our horses and other pets, and much, much more. But time in the kitchen was never part of the equation.

My mother is caring and nurturing in the extreme, but in her own very specific manner. It’s in the little things, like the daily texts and phone calls, and the fact that I can, and still do, call her for advice on matters big and small, even at the age of 30. Now that I’m older, I often contemplate—and really appreciate—how my mother showed my sisters and me love and care outside of the kitchen. And she’s quite good-natured about our requests for her to step away from the stove when we find her near it.

There are times that she does try to show her love by cooking or baking, and there’s one thing she makes perfectly. When I was 16, I went through a time of disordered eating. Deeply concerned, my mother took it upon herself to find out what would be palatable to me, and nothing but vegan chocolate chip cookies would do. I put her up to this idea, suspecting she’d give up the cause, but she pulled through. I think the first batch took her a few days, but she triumphed.

I still feel a little twinge of jealousy when I’m at my mother-in-law’s, or the home of a friend’s mother who cooks. On my visits home, we order in or eat out. But I remind myself that there are so many different ways to show love, and sometimes it’s staying out of the kitchen that shows it.


Khaleelah E. Jones is a digital marketing consultant in London who has worked with wellness companies, tech startups, educational institutions and non-profits. She is also the co-founder and managing partner of Evexia Health. She can be found at,, and @carefulfeet.

Nancy’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. coconut oil

1 1/4 c. packed palm sugar

2 t. vanilla extract

1/4 c. canned coconut milk

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2 c. carob chips or nibs

Maldon sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Line your baking sheet with greaseproof paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together coconut oil, palm sugar, and vanilla extract, stirring until well combined.

Add coconut milk and applesauce, whisking until well combined; then set aside.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and 1/2 t. salt, mixing well to combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring to combine. Mixture will be thick.

Fold in carob chips.

Scoop dough by tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt.


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