Here is how my memory works these days.

One of the girls has been having a stressful time of late, and I thought I would cheer her up by making her a dish she had in San Francisco last year. The problem was, even though I could picture this dish in my mind, I could not recall the name of the concoction and thus had little chance of finding a recipe with which to emulate the dish here at home.

So, I would look up the menu of the restaurant, and it would tell me. Except, in what seems to be a more typical sign of age, I completely blanked on the name of the restaurant. I could not ask my daughter for this information, mind you, since this was supposed to be a surprise. Well, no problem, I knew the restaurant was adjacent to the hotel we’d stayed at, so I would look up the hotel’s website to get the name… and I could not remember the name of the hotel, even though I’d stayed there twice.

This was getting silly.

Thus, the convoluted path to this recipe became:

  1. Pull up Google Map and zoom in on the neighborhood in San Francisco where I knew the hotel was located.
  2. Read the name of the hotel from the map (no luck on the restaurant name next door): Hotel Triton.
  3. Check the hotel website and track down the name of the restaurant, Café de la Presse.
  4. Visit the Café’s site and, in the fourth menu I try, locate the name of the dish: Croque Madame.

Which immediately brought back the familiar rush of “of course!” when I saw the name.

In all, this was one minor search in the busy series of events in my life. But it brought home how memories are very much built on association. Find one real thing and you can trace it all the way to the actual information you seek, no matter how convoluted. In this, I can’t decide if technology is a help or a crutch.

Maybe after I make this awesome bit of scrumptiousness, I won’t recall the argument.