Friday, November 11, 2011 - The Magic of Eleven

Needless to say, it's been quite a stretch of time since I've posted a new blog entry. Summer is just a busy, busy time! I have so much to share, so many pictures, new ideas, canning recipes, food preservation adventures, garden successes and failures, and on and on and on... but that will have to wait for future days. Days when the hours of daylight are much shorter, the wood stove is warm and cozy, and my free time increases just a bit.

For today, we celebrated Veteran's Day, this November 11th, 2011, exactly at 11:11:11 am, or! Last year, we celebrated so we figured why not 11s, too?

My husband pointed out to me this morning that 11 x 11 = 121. That's a numerical palindrome. How about 111 x 111? Well, that equals 12,321, another numerical palindrome. Try a few more digits and you will see for yourself that you can do this all the way up to 9 digits and get 12,345,678,987,654,321! We took a few moments over breakfast to work this out, using lattice multiplication, the method they teach in my kids' schools. Here's a photograph of our results:

I got curious, I admit, and tried it with 10 digits to see if it holds, and guess what? 1,111,111,111 x 1,111,111,111 = 12,345,678,900,987,654,321! So it keeps working beyond 9 digits! Hang on a sec, 'cause I'm going to go try it with 11,111,111,111 x 11,111,111,111! Please queue the Jeopardy Final Question 60-second music right now... I'll be right back.

(la la la la la la laaaa... la la la la la! -la la la la la la la la la la la laaaa... la! -la la la la la la)

Okay, I'm back. Thanks for waiting. It doesn't work. It stops with 11 digits. The product of 11,111,111,111 and 11,111,111,111 is 123,456,790,120,987,654,321. Oh well... It was important to figure that out in the moment.

The fact that it works up to 10 digits is pretty cool, though, don't you think? I think numerology could rivet me for a very long time.

Anyway, we decided to commemorate the significance of the date and time with a cake, and here's how it worked:

First, make a chocolate cake that you love:

Then, make your desired design on parchment paper and cut it out:

Next, lay the parchment on top of the cake, holding the critical points down with some sewing pins:

Then, put some powdered sugar in a strainer and tap it all over the open spaces of your design. Tap tap tap, shake shake shake...

Then, when the design is all filled in:

very carefully remove the parchment design (I cut mine in places to help with removal)... and.... viola!

It's a decorated cake without all that gacky icing. Insert candles as desired, and celebrate!

Happy to all of you!