So, when was the best music recorded by the best artists and what kind of foods do you gravitate to? Tell me the year you were born and what state you grew up in during your teenage years, and I can probably venture a pretty good guess. To make an educated guess at your music tastes all I have to do is add 14 to the year you were born, and look at the top 100 songs charting that year, and voila… So let’s take my birth year of 1954, add 14 to get 1968. That’s the year I “discovered” music – around the age of 14, as it were.
“Led Zeppelin I” was released in 1968, followed by “Led Zeppelin II” in 1969. And for me, at least, those were two of the greatest albums of all time. This was soon followed by “Santana – Abraxas” in 1970, and “Deep Purple – Machine Head” in 1972, both on my desert play list. And don’t get me started on Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in 1973, which I think is arguably the greatest concept album of all time. You could say that 1968 to the mid-’70s were my musical “formative years.” No music before or after that time period moves me quite as emotionally.
I’ll bet the same is true for you. Think of a song from your high school or college years. Pretty great stuff, isn’t it? Now if your 14-22 age span (high school and college years) was in the ’80s, you’ll think that the ’80s had the best music – with a A Flock of Seagulls starting that era. Or maybe it was Nirvana in the ’90s. Or how about NSYNC along with Britney Spears in the 2000’s. Gasp! How can every different decade be the best? Well, music is a highly personal thing, so when you discovered it during that impressionable age range of 14 to 22, it was imprinted on your brain as “comfort music.”
The same thing happens with food at an even younger age. The idea of comfort food is being touted in high-end restaurants, and it’s simply a re-hashing (pun intended) of the foods you grew up with in an 8-18 age span. So if you grew up in Maryland during your preteen/high school years, as I did, then there’s nothing better than Maryland Blue Crab from the Chesapeake Bay, with a LOT of Old Bay seasoning.
My mom also specialized in Campbell’s Pork ‘n Beans with cut-up hot dogs in it. So guess what? I still like that super-simple meal. And I recently rediscovered Pickle and Pimento Loaf (bologna with the condiments baked right in), which my mom would pack in my lunch for special occasions. So I still love P&P loaf on white bread with mayonnaise. I’ll bet if you think about it you’ll find that some meals your parents made for you when you were maybe 10 or 12 years old are still secret favorites of yours. Yes, we all develop adult tastes for fancy food later, but I still get excited for mac and cheese.
I knew all of this when we began raising our own children, so my wife and I decided to expose them to as many different food and music experiences as possible beginning in their preteen years. They had access to my entire music collection by the time they turned 12 years old, so AC/DC is a favorite band of theirs, and John Bonham from Led Zeppelin is absolutely their favorite drummer.
As far as food goes, my boys had a best friend in grade school from India, whose mom was a fantastic cook. At first she only served them pizza when my kids came to their house to play games with her son. But my sons soon convinced her they wanted to try real Indian food. Sure enough, they now love it in their mid-20’s, as well as the Maryland Blue Crabs we taught them how to pick, the Baked Macaroni that my wife makes for all family gatherings, the Sushi they go wild over after I started taking them to Japanese restaurants, and the grilled steaks I’m pretty good at making on my Weber Grill, the wedding present my own wife bought me soon after we were married.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you have kids, grandkids or even great-grandchildren in their preteen through college formative years, it’s time to show them the great music you grew up with, the great foods you know how to make or enjoy in a restaurant, and the great experiences you can get while camping with them. Memories of experiences in their preteen through college years will last them a lifetime and can’t easily be topped by the latest fad.
So don’t just buy your grandkids some new gadget – take them somewhere you think is great. Maybe it’s fishing. How about taking them camping around Nashville to hear some of the greatest musicians in the country? Maybe teach them how to make the best spaghetti sauce you’ve ever tasted. It’s really as simple as listening to the Beach Boys or Boston along with them (which all my boys think are GREAT, by the way). But don’t just phone it in … actually DO IT. You and your descendants will be glad you did.
Then the “Good” old days will become the “Great” old days.
Let’s play safe out there….
Copyright Mike Sokol 2018 – All Rights Reserved
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.