This is especially frustrating when you try to recreate a meal you’ve had on the road back home. While visiting Israel last summer, I had a salad, the salad, perhaps the best salad I’ve ever had, and I remember thinking — Yes, this is it. This is going to be my salad.

I will recreate this salad at home and it will be magnificent. And yet, for the life of me, I cannot remember the ingredients in that salad. At the time a friend and I made a mental list of what we were tasting, and I think we probably got pretty close, but alas. No one wrote it down, and so the best salad I’ve ever had remains a one-time experience.

I’ve never made an official habit of this, but I wish I’d had a travel journal for a few particularly memorable trips. At the time I always think, oh man, I’m never going to forget this. But the truth is that I have a lousy memory, and moments and meals that I’m sure will be forever etched into my memory inevitably fade with time, and I’m left squinting at a vacation photo months later thinking, wait, what did we eat again?

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