I know it doesn’t look like much. Lettuce, green and red peppers, some tomato and cucumber. Not olive oil mixed with lime and sage. No spring onions or mushrooms, arugula or Romaine. So why is this simple salad here? Because my uncle, in the midst of a Mother’s Day meal, asked me to make it.

You see in the Jasper and Langley households I am the quintessential young buck when it comes to the cooking. I have to either bring things on my own or sneak them into the mix. As my favorite Uncle Tony continues to make his way towards owning the family meals and as my father, stepmother and sisters know how to burn at the other place, I’m so happy when I get a shot at sitting a plate in front of my harshest critics. So as I sliced and shopped my simple little ingredients I found myself smiling in the biggest way. I was proud when there wasn’t much left after the meal, just as I am about the shrimp and swordfish kabobs I made for the 4th of July a few years back that she still talks about whenever my cooking is mentioned.

It was much the same weekend before last when I cooked for my father and my sisters: chicken in and orange creme sauce over linguine. Through Pops had suggestions on how to thicken the sauce I got to watch my sister stealthfully tuck a container of it in the fridge to take to school for lunch the next day. I used to kill them in high school as my lunch from home would permeate the entire cafeteria via the community microwave. But that’s another story altogether.

Today a salad. Next year, a vegetable dish. One of these days I’ll be up on stuffing and turkey. I can picture it clear as day. Out.