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  • Brandy – the new “hobby”

    brandy 015Ken fears it’s another addiction. We are having several conversations these days that center around addictive behaviors versus new hobby interest. The cheese making started as an innocent hobby – then drifted for six years into intensive “hobby” material.

    I’ll admit, there were stretches of time (four-and-a-half years) when every stool in the house was being used to prop up bags of draining cheeses and the house smelled pretty milky, but the end result was magnificent. Fine French goat cheeses that were the envy of foodies everywhere. Of course, success came at a price. Every friend who happened by got a spoonful of goat cheese stuffed in their mouths for their honest appraisals. I list this as introducing my dear friends to…the trials of fine cuisine. Ken called it a testament to the depth of my friends’ good will. It’s an addiction, he said.

    Monopoly was a new hobby resulting in playing it almost every day for a month. Ken claims that is addictive. I lean heavily on the argument of having used it as a math tool for the kids. Whatever, he says, adding that the first step is admitting you have a problem.

    Then there was the Caesar salad era. Six months of Caesar salads nearly daily. Man were they good! Ken maintains they were good the first four days, but for the next five months and three-and-a-half weeks it was clearly addictive. I maintained one must repeat something often in order to learn it properly. Whatever, he says, muttering more about the first step.

    So, it is not with a lot of surprise that he saw two gallon jars full of apricots and crabapples steeping in cheap vodka with fear and trepidation. What’s this? He asked, skeptically. “Brandy,” I said, full of enthusiasm. “Oh God…” he said, “Another addiction.”

    No way, I explained, it’s just a new hobby. I’ve never made brandy – so I wanted to give it a try. “But you don’t drink it,” he said, as if that alone was reason to abandon the project.

    I do too,” I said, puffing up.

    Oh yeah, how much brandy have you drank in the last decade?”

    A jigger FULL,” I said, nodding confidently.

    Sooo, at one jigger every 10 years, and we’re in our 40s, why do we need two gallons of it?” Ken is so pragmatic sometimes.

    Well, would you rather have the fruit rot on the tree?” I say, pointing to the apricot tree which has begun to lose grip of it’s fruit.

    I’m not sure,” he contemplates, adding a tree full of apricots could fill a LOT of gallon jars…and produce a whole BUNCH of brandy, and that he has no intention of inviting his football buddies over to watch the game and…sip brandy just to get his garage back.

    I don’t know why not,” I say, clearly hurt.

    He ducks his head knowing full well that he only has two months to figure out how to explain the game time beverage to his friends. Brandy. Great. Can’t learn cold beer and brats. Gotta learn brandy. Terrific.

    Gotta go,” I say. “I’m off to buy 28 pounds of sour cherries. There’s this Romanian tart cherry brandy recipe,” I say.

    Addiction,” he mutters.

    Homemade Christmas gifts for friends,” I promise.

    The first step is to admit you have a problem,” he says. I bound out the door.

    There’s always therapy!” he calls optimistically. “Just say no!” his voice trails off as his face disappears in the dust trail from the car.

    P. S. Great easy brandy recipe site: http://kansasa.blogspot.com/2007/08/worth-repeating.html

    To follow the progress of this brandy experiment and see how the brandy progresses after a month, click here.  

    To see a complete list of Her Side Funnies comical posts, click here.


    Explore posts in the same categories: Stuff to do when you're over 40, Wedded bliss, brandy

    4 Comments on “Brandy – the new “hobby””

    1. Adrienne Says:

      I have a great vodka cook book that I am sure you can adapt to the brandies. Now you have a new thing to use to explain to Ken the need for the “new hobby”, COOKING ingredients.
      Don’t tell Ken it was me…he’ll hate me!

    2. admin Says:

      It will be like that guy on “Forrest Gump” with the shrimp. Brandy cake, brandy cornish hens, brandy cookies, brandy shish-kabobs, oatmeal brandy,…you get the idea. Ken is bracing himself. Before the milking “hobby” was over, Ken was burping milk with every step. He’d eaten cereal (with milk), cream pies, cheese, ice cream, puddings – oh, lots of puddings, shakes, homemade butters of all flavors, cottage cheeses,…at one point, Ken assured me that even looking at the cow caused diarrhea. “No more!” he said. “I can take no more!” He’d open the fridge with trepidation. “What’s this?” he’d ask. “Yogurt,” I’d answer. “You ought to try it! It’s really good.” That was when my life passed before my eyes and I had to put the whole milking thing away for a while. Come to think of it, his family hasn’t visited since we were in the middle of that “era.” If any of them read this, it’s safe now. You can return. But only if you like brandy…. : )

    3. Timothy Knutson Says:

      I love your writing! So my aunt has an apricot tree in her backyard. And as we stole across the Internet looking for things to do with copious amounts of apricots, we found your apricot brandy recipe, and we decided to give it a try.
      I know that in the recipe it says to use fresh fruit, but it was several days before we could get around to processing the fruit. In the meantime, it sat on a hot porch in five gallon buckets.
      Needless to say (but I will anyway), by the time we were prepared to make the brandy, the fruit had begun fermenting in the buckets.
      My logic at the time was, since that was our end goal anyway, it would be okay to use partially fermented fruit in the glass jars. Boy was I wrong.
      We didn’t have any explosions but all of the lid started bulging out and a lot of the liquid light leaked on to the floor.
      So I took everything out of the jars and put it into a 5 gallon buckets. The fermentation process has stopped but be amorphous, gelatinous blob that exist, in the bucket its putrid and disgusting. And it leers at me like I owe it money or something…
      Is all hope lost? Help!

    4. Dani Says:

      Hello Timothy. Your question had me laughing out loud. I’ve had good intentions of my own go sideways, and I feel for you! It’s heartbreaking to see a five-gallon bucket full of fruit go to waste, but given your description, and the fact it is “leering at you like you owe it money,” I would probably err on the side of feeding the mess to the chickens…or evil neighbors…or visiting hyperactive children. I probably would not drink it myself! : ) You do get an A+ for bravery though. And, incidentally, I know what you mean about how disgusting apricots can get. We’ve got apricots coming off the trees in buckets, too, and if you do not do something with them right away, you’ve got a mess. My best of wishes to you.