Friday, 12 November 2010

Where do our tastes come from?

We all know what's tasteful and what's not, even if everyone's assessment differs. But where do our individual tastes come from? They seem to come in layers - but not for every application. Take three categories.

My taste in cars was, I believe, set in childhood. Strongly influenced by Bond films back then, I would still say my dream car is an Aston Martin. Popular culture seems a strong driver here. (As more, sad evidence, one of my daughters desperately wants a black Range Rover. I can only think this is because 'celebrities' like Wayne Yobbie and his lovely wife Slobeen tend to drive them. As long as it's not because of Jamie Oliver having one.)

Musically, my taste was influenced both by school days, where trendy music teachers meant I mostly heard 20th century serious music, and student days, where I picked up prog rock and Tudor/Elizabethan church music. But it really hasn't changed since.

As for food, there seem to be three layers of taste (not that kind of taste). From childhood, the Sunday roast and pies. From student days, curries, tomato soup with cheese sandwiches and cooked breakfasts. And from adulthood French cuisine.

I wonder if it's a coincidence that the more recent a subject of taste in human history, the less sophisticated is my layering? Someone has no doubt studied this, but it makes for an interesting ponder. Have you thought about your tastes and when they came into being?

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