My mother was one of those rare earthlings who possessed both. When I was growing up every dinner was a banquet complete with a home-made dessert, and my mother and father (he was a good cook and baker, too) could throw together a dinner party like none other. And my mother kept our house spotless, if not clutter-free - well, five kids and a husband who always needed to be surrounded by his books and papers - it was a healthy clutter. I'm not sure how she kept our house so clean, though... but I guess that's because I myself totally lack the cleaning gene.
It's not that I don't try : I vacuum almost every day and clean the linoleum on a reasonably frequent basis; all right, I guess I'm a little more lax on the dusting. I guess I just feel like if you clean the floors often then the dust, when it's piled up so high that it falls to the floor, will be taken care of when you clean the floors.
And though I'm always scurrying around trying to pick up, straighten up, neaten up and semi-organize our living space, our home still has this everything-thrown-about look. I just have to chalk it up to my lack of housekeeping skills that is symptomatic of those lacking the cleaning gene.
Of course, it doesn't help matters that Tom has the pack-rat gene. He hates to throw things away, especially old books and papers, his heart-links to people, places, and times gone by. And so every surface is cluttered. If I buy a cabinet or set of drawers in which to stash away the clutter, as soon I fill the drawers or cabinet the clutter magically starts multiplying so that by the next day the surfaces are again covered in clutter.
And yet I can't shake the feeling that it's not really that we have more stuff than everybody else; I just can't seem to make the "a place for everything and everything in its place" concept work.
I sometimes think its that the clutter knows that I lack the cleaning gene and therefore believes that there's no need to respect me or my efforts. I clean up a mess, it brazenly moseys on out again. In my house the mess knows no fear.
On the other hand, I do have the cooking gene. I can whip together a buffet for 50 people like ringin' a bell - and using the most basic, bottom-of-the-line utensils: hand mixer, paring knife, rolling pin, mixing bowl, and cookie sheet are about the most high-tech tools you'll find in my kitchen. Even though I work evenings I have a home-cooked dinner ready almost every afternoon before I leave to start teaching. I have a hard time making small amounts of anything.
And yet I don't love cooking. Everybody thinks I do but I don't. I don't even especially like cooking. But I like eating. I really like eating. But then again, so does everybody else, right?
So why am I so tied to cooking, and to cooking so prolifically? Why can't I not cook prolifically? Why can't I just prepare simple, calorically adequate fare? I don't know. I guess there's no escaping one's genetic predestination.