October 20 is National Brandied Fruit Day.
To make your own brandied fruit, all you need is ripened fruit, sugar, and brandy (the higher the quality, the better). Wash the fruit, peel off any skin, and slice if necessary. Fill half a container with brandy and add the fruit. For each cup of fruit you add, stir in 1/6 cup of sugar. Make sure all the fruit is submerged in the mixture, cover the container, and store it in a dark place. You can continue to add fruit at any time. Your brandied fruit will be cured after a couple of months.
If you’re like me, when you hear “brandy,” you think of the 1972 Looking Glass hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl),” about the barmaid in love with a sailor who can’t commit to her because his first love is the sea. He calls Brandy “a fine girl” and tells her “what a good wife [she] would be,” which sounds condescending—but if she minds, the song doesn’t tell us.
Looking Glass performs “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)”
Wow, this is not at all how I pictured the lead singer. I always imagined that voice coming out of someone who looked the part of a rugged sailor—not a skinny, long-haired ’70s musician—but it makes sense, I guess.
According to Wikipedia, the Brandy character may be based on Mary Ellis, a “spinster” who lies buried in the parking lot of an AMC Loews Theater in New Brunswick, N.J. The legend is that she was in love with a sea captain and used to watch for his return from her riverfront property, where she ultimately was buried. At the time of her death in 1828 the grave site was pastoral, but in the 20th century strip malls and asphalt sprang up around it. According to a story about the grave in Weird N.J., members of Looking Glass deny that Mary Ellis inspired “Brandy” (though the band did in fact form at nearby Rutgers University).
In closing, I’d like to share a little song I wrote for National Brandied Fruit Day:
Brandy, you’re a fine drink
What a sweet dish you could be
If I add some fruit and some sugar
Then you’ll see!
- National Brandied Fruit Day (punchbowl.com)