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Happy Saturday! Today we decided to get a little more personal with you and delve into some memories.

We asked our Social Media Guru (and home cook), Scott Hancock, to think back to a time when his love of food and cooking really got started.

He was happy to reply =)

“I grew up in the Central Valley of California, so fresh foods and produce were always a big part of our meals at home. My mom was (and still is) a great cook and she and my dad made sure we had three balanced meals everyday.

Our grandparents lived in Santa Clara, California, just a little north of the fertile fields of Watsonville. Some of my fondest memories are of visiting them, being showered with the kind of love and attention that is so special between grandparents and grandkids.

My grandmother had been raised in the heart of West Virginia, so food had always been a large part of her life, and her love of cooking and providing the meals showed through in every single bite.

One of the greatest things we got to do as kids was to go pick boysenberries in Watsonville. We would outfit ourselves in our grubby clothes (boysenberries will stain clothes like no other), grabbed our big buckets, and headed out.

Stickers, scratches and all, we always had the best time kids could have. Spending times in the fields picking the berries with our family is still something I hold fondly in my memory.

And the best part: after we were done with our harvest, we headed back up the coast to our grandparents’ house and grandma would get to work. We would all help sort and rinse the berries, and she would whip up one of her famous pie shells for dessert that night.

There was something about knowing we had helped to provide the food that gave us (as kids) a real sense of purpose.

Over the years I tried to copy my grandmother’s cooking style and recipes as much as I could. The difficulty in that is that she never used a recipe that I saw. She had so much food knowledge in her head that it just naturally flowed into her food.

I would often call her and ask about a culinary problem I was having, like ‘how much water should I add to the sauce?’ Her comment was always, ‘Oh, you’ll just know. The smell and texture will let you know when it’s ready.’

As hard as I have always tried, my food just never comes out as good as hers. I would watch her like a hawk, determined that I could make her roast beef, pies, cookies, whatever. I’ve gotten close across times and various meals, but it never is exact.

And I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. To this day, certain aromas and foods take me back to when I was just a kid sitting at the dinner table, feasting on whatever she had prepared for us. If I could ever copy her food exactly, I think my memories of her would start to fade, and that’s the last thing I ever want to happen.”

Scott and his Grandmother, Virginia Nell Beavers (1922-1999)

Thanks, Scott for sharing these special memories with us.

Who inspired (or still inspires) you as a home cook? We’d love to hear your stories and see your pictures if you’d like to share with us.

Have a great weekend!

The HBF Family

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