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Nancy Leson Recalls Childhood Memories Formed Atop A Barstool

(courtesy Nancy Leson)
Food writer Nancy Leson (center) as a child with her siblings and mother in Philadelphia.

This story originally aired on June 18, 2016.

Nancy Leson, half of knkx's  Food for Thought duo, has been in the food industry for a long time. But some of her earliest memories of food come from bars -- not as an employee, but as a patron — a six-year-old patron. 

Leson grew up in Philadelphia, in a time and place where children were allowed to belly up to bars and eat Slim Jims and pickled eggs, or order a Coke with loads of  Maraschino cherries. 

The reason Leson wound up in those bars was that that was where she would find her mother. 

Leson says her mother was very young when she had her four children, and never really had the chance to be young and have fun. She would "excuse herself, and maybe go down [to the bar] to have a little adult companionship down the block. And she told me that if I needed to find her, I knew where to find her.”

Leson has warm memories of those bars, one place where her mother seemed happy. But as she told Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer, her relationship with her mother got more and more complicated. 

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.