Pop busted out a lovely apple-pear brandy tonight and we reminisced about the old, old bottle of pear brandy in the cupboard, one he got from his father many moons ago. It’s got a pear inside the bottle, and when I was about 8 or 9, I asked him how it got in there.
He told me that what they do is put the pears in the freezer, and then heat up the bottles real hot. When the bottles are hot enough so they’re a little pliable, they run them over to the freezer, and the vacuum that’s created by the hot/cold combo sucks the pear into the bottle.
I was amazed at the idea, just loved it. But moreso I was so proud of the fact that I understood how the vacuum worked.
He started giggling a little and I knew I’d been had. (This happened often when I was a kid.) When he told me how they really did it— they tied bottles onto the branches and the pears grew inside— I didn’t believe him. “No way! Nuh-uh!”
Years later, when I was a teenager, we took our first family trip to southern Germany, visiting relatives and touring both the region’s history as well as our family history. Pop started yelling and pointing at some pear trees on the side of the road, pleading with his cousin to stop the car. There were bottles tied to the end of the branches. We actually fell over, we were laughing so hard.