Training In The Domestic Arts
Oh, I try to keep the entertaining areas of my house reasonably clean, but the private areas look like a flea market.
My cooking skills are just adequate, but my lack of enthusiasm for the endeavor shows. I would rather eat food than cook it. That shows, as well, on my posterior.
Sewing is a chore for me. If a child brings me a shirt with the armholes blown out, it is less likely to be fixed than to sit on my sewing table until it no longer fits. I can console myself with the fact that at least I have a sewing table. I could fix that shirt if I ever got around to it. It just wouldn’t be pretty.
With my decided lack of proficiency in anything household related, the question that persists is: Why is my daughter so good at these things?
I believe the answer is that she likes doing them. This is something which I do not fully understand, but I am grateful for it, nonetheless.
Ironically, she must have received this recessive gene through me because although I don’t like domestic tasks, I can perform them when I have no other choice. My husband has not a scrap of this skill or desire in him at all with the exception of making bacon and eggs on a Saturday morning.
For him and my boys, cleaning is picking up something and stuffing it into another inappropriate place. It is not uncommon to find that after my son had “cleaned” his room, the closet is inaccessible. “Cleaning” a room apparently translates to “Hide everything in the closet” in male-speak.
For them, throwing a piece of cold pizza into the microwave is worthy of Martha Stewart’s Medal of Creative Cooking if there was such a thing.
My daughter, on the other hand, thinks that the only reason I want to help her decorate a cake is so that I can lick the frosting off the beaters. She is partly right; who wouldn’t? However, I am surprising myself by finding joy in the creation because her enthusiasm for the project is so contagious.
She even talked me into taking a cake decorating class with her. While she turned out perfect roses on her flower nail, I spent most of my time trying to decide what my blobs of buttercream looked like and whether I could use them on a cake.
I’ve tried to make roses and ended up with globs that look like sleeping animals, a tomato, the Washington Monument, and a toilet bowl plunger. Admittedly, most of my “creations” look more like a pile of doggy doo-doo than anything else. The color is the only thing that saves it. I am careful never to attempt chocolate roses.
After I have “ created” something, I look at it and try to decide what the theme of my cake could be. On what kind of cake could I use a Washington Monument? The likelihood of being asked to bake a cake for a newly elected senator is slim. Perhaps Washington’s birthday?
The tomato could be used for a vegetable-themed cake, though a vegetable cake is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it? If only my tomato was not blue. Scrap the tomato.
The toilet bowl plunger?... I don’t think there is a theme that is appropriate for that one.
The sleeping animal could be used if I added whiskers. My frosting whiskers aren’t any better than my roses, unfortunately. Adding whiskers made my sleeping animal look more like a sleeping Medusa. Those aren’t in high demand in most bakeries.
I looked at my daughter’s cake. It was stunning and so was she, even with a bit of pink frosting on her nose. I felt an enormous sense of pride. It certainly did not come from my efforts at producing a beautiful cake. It came from the astonishing fact that my husband and I had produced such a beautiful and talented daughter.