And The Nostalgia Factor
We all have our favorites. Favorite foods, favorite outfits, favorite children. Not really . . . we love all our children equally, right?
Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart built multinational companies around their favorites. So, here is the thing about favorites—sometimes they don’t make sense.
Pizza from scratch. My husband announces that he will be making a special dinner. He learned how to make pizza from scratch from his dad. It sounds so nice . . . a real father–son bonding moment in the kitchen. I’m sure it was. For me, it lost its luster when I found out that pizza from scratch was Chef Boyardee Pizza! Do you remember the kit? It came in a box with a pouch of crust mix, a can of tomato sauce, and packet of dried out powdered parmesan cheese. The pizza kit hasn’t changed much over the years. I will say it’s fun to watch him make the pizza. Somehow, he manages to get flour all over himself and the kitchen.
I don’t love this pizza.
Recently, my husband reminded me that he loves the pizza, and it isn’t a problem if I don’t—I can leave it all for him. I think he loves the memory of the pizza more than the actual pie. He has to, right? The result is just as bland as you remember.
For me, my favorites were Pluto and Brontosaurus. I was devastated when I found out that Pluto was not a planet but a block of ice. And I was devastated again when I learned that Brontosaurus was merely an Apatosaurus.
Pluto was my favorite planet. I loved how small it was, and it was so far away from Earth. I studied everything I could find about my favorite little planet, even though there wasn’t much back then, not for a third-grader anyway. I remember making a planet mobile out of yarn and cardboard. I had it stretched across the living room to get the full effect of the distance Pluto was from Earth. I’m sure I also loved Pluto because Disney named that cute dog after the planet. At least I think the planet came before the dog!
As for Brontosaurus, I dreamed of sliding down his long neck. I fantasized about riding on top of his head to see the world from a whole new vantage point. Could I have been influenced by the Flintstones? Probably. Or I should I say . . . obviously. When I was a kid, my mom took us to a great local park that had a huge green metal Brontosaurus. I loved going to that park—no swings for me!
I was on vacation out West recently. We pulled into a gas station, and there he was—the green metal Brontosaurus from my childhood! He wasn’t as big as I remembered, and we weren’t in a park. This experience made me question the memory of a park. It was probably likelier that I played at the gas station.
I call this the nostalgia factor . . . childhood memories that have sweetened with age.
So maybe Chef Boyardee pizza isn’t as good as my husband remembers it. So maybe I only liked Pluto the Planet because of Pluto the Disney Dog and I played on a green metal gas station mascot.
It doesn’t change the fact that a favorite will always be a favorite.