1972, it was a very good year

On a classic film forum I used to frequent, members were once challenged to describe the years surrounding their birth using cultural and historical events.  I responded in this way:

I was born in the year of the Watergate break-in

I turned one the year All in the Family made its debut

I turned two the year President Nixon resigned

I turned three the year Saigon fell

Interesting and tumultuous times, I would say.

Of late, my focus on history has shifted to the roller-coaster era of the early 1970’s, with its bell-bottoms, women’s lib, and political upheavals.  The emergence of this fascination seems to have coincided with my recent 40th birthday.  The year 1972 was not so very interesting when it was not so very long ago, but as that year fades further and further into the rearview, it seems that a sense of nostalgia has overtaken me and called me to take another look at this era, this time when my aunts and uncles (and parents) were teenagers, and my grandparents were middle-aged rather than deceased.

I think there is little disagreement that the 70’s were One.  Weird.  Decade.

The 70’s were shaggy.

The J. Geils Band – hairiest rock group of the 70’s

The 7o’s were liberating.


The 70’s were confusing.

Phyllis Schlafly

(Phyllis Schlafly still sports that hairstyle.  Look her up.)

In 1972, movie theaters were playing The Godfather, Cabaret, and Lady Sings the Blues.  Bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin were actively recording, touring…and young.

The publishing world was going wild over “The Joy of Sex” …

Hairy guy and hairy lady from The Joy of Sex

…and if you never took a peek inside your parents’ copy…you’re very lucky.

Into the 70’s the struggle continued between the old guard and the new, the Baby Boomers set against the Greatest Generation…over the war, the Equal Rights Ammendment, and desegregation.

Yes, those crazy 70’s have my attention.  Maybe for that reason I have, without really intending to, assembled a small collection of items bearing the year 1972, my birth year.

I found this calendar in an antique store:

And this piece of needlepoint…

And this, my absolute favorite…a copy of Gourmet Magazine, February 1972.

Gourmet was an absolutely fabulous magazine that was unceremoniously dumped by Conde Nast in 2009 after nearly 70 years of publication.  Fortunately for fans, there are seven decades of back issues floating around.

In my 1972 issue, I can feed my appetite for minutiae by browsing advertisements for fondue pots and the new Chevy.  I can check out the photos of table settings and see that they are really quite elegant.  I might even stumble upon an article on soups by esteemed American chef James Beard.

James Beard’s oxtail vegetable soup

Bon appetite!


While creating this blog has been entertaining, it is harder than I thought it would be capture what I perceive to be the essence of a time period that I can’t actually recall with great detail.  I would have liked to have included more information, but I also wanted to keep the blog post lighthearted and digestable.  I’m submitting this for DP Challenge – wish me luck!

About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
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15 Responses to 1972, it was a very good year

  1. tlc09274 says:

    Glad you finally found some oxtails!! I forgot to ask (I think I was busy trying not to vomit at the thought/sound of it) 😉 How was it???

    • Joyce says:

      Now, now, Trish. It was pretty good. I think next time I will make a beef stew instead. The tail has some really good, rich beef. The presence of the bone ensures lots of flavor. Oxtail is pretty much available everywhere, I’ve just never looked for it before. I found a huge pack at Sam’s. It used to be peasant food, but it sure ain’t priced like peasant food anymore.

  2. Zanni Arnot says:

    Good luck! It’s gorgeous post. You have me convinced it was a special year!

    • Joyce says:

      Aw, thanks! Looks like I didn’t make it this time. But that’s OK…maybe I’m not quite ready for fame 🙂

      I hope you are well, Mama.

  3. I turned 40 a little before you. I also was a bit nostalgic. Thanks for helping me fill in some info.
    Anyway to be born the same year as the Godfather – that is cool!

  4. Lu says:

    ’72 was an EXCEPTIONAL year, if you ask me (also my vintage – how about that?!)
    I’m here on return to your comment re:serial liker… I see we have 2 in common 😉

  5. Pingback: Cooking our way through Gourmet, 1972: Mushroom Risotto « Relax and Float Downstream

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