In the last year I learned that I shared an odd quirk with Oliver Sacks. Somehow I tend to think about ages in terms of atomic number - the number of protons in an element. Sometimes I'll tell someone their birthday element. Some of the elements are centrally important and others not so much, but it is a nice way to discover and think about some of Nature's building blocks.
Normally I wouldn't call much attention, but a few birthdays are significant and today a good friend celebrates his Indium birthday. The name has nothing to do with nationality, but rather a strong indigo colored line in its spectrum. It has any number of properties that excite metallurgists and is notably used in making certain types of semiconductors, transparent electrodes for touchscreens and energy efficient coatings for glass. Technically Indium is a post-transition element - a label that may have a non-technical flavor.
The birthday person happens to be a fine writer, so rather than ramble on I encourage you to locate the elements that correspond to some of your significant years. My favorites so far have been Magnesium, Scandium, Manganese, Rubidium and Xenon. In early November I hope to attend a celebration marking the beginnings of someone's Mendelevium year!
It might be applied to wedding anniversaries, but the anniversary gift industry might complain...
Rather than wandering on I offer a disclosure and a treat. The celebrant is Om. Among other things he happens to be a fine writer who excels at the art of conversation. Go to pi.co and read a few of his pieces. (he also manages some of the most cleverly short urls around)
And while on the subject of friends and conversation, read Sherry Trukel's opinion piece in the NY Times. You may or may not agree with her, but it is something deserving some thought.
Roasted Cauliflower with Tumeric and Ginger
° 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed
° olive oil (you don't need an expensive one for roasting)
° 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
° 1 teaspoon ground cumin
° 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
° sea salt and freshly ground pepper
° handful of chopped cilantro
° oven to 400°F
° trim the cauliflower and slice into 2 cm (about 3/4") "steaks" and season both sides with salt and pepper
° heat about 1 tbl of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and sear each side of the steaks. Place the steaks on a baking sheet
° whisk about 1 tbl olive oil, ginger, cumin and turmeric and spoon onto the steaks
° roast for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender
° garnish with cilantro and yumm...