CELEBRATION SPOTLIGHT – Kisha Lesane
In this Celebration Spotlight, Kisha Lesane, founder of A Pinch of Butter blog, and I visit about food, family, challenges, and what Celebrate Every Day means to her.
Kisha: Being a National Day Calendar ambassador is amazing. So is just being here to talk about it and share how I eat every day. I use the calendar as my excuse to eat yummy foods every day.
Michele: You know what? There are probably more food holidays on the calendar than any other event. So it’s perfect for you. Where does your interest in the culinary world come from?
Kisha: My dad. I love him with all my heart, but he is not the emotional, sensitive person that most parents are. He expresses his love and affection from food. He’s the type of person who will cook you a grand breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack – whatever you need. And he will sit in front of you and watch you eat. Seeing the excitement and joy on his face is how you know he’s happy. And then once you’re finished eating, he just gets up and walks away. We could be in the middle of a deep conversation and as soon as I take that last bite, he’ll just get up and say, “Ok.”
Michele: Food is his love language.
Kisha: Food is definitely his love language. That is how we bonded through the many years of me being the stubborn girl teenager to me now being an adult. The food is how he expresses himself so that made me appreciate food and making magic in the kitchen. Having a meal with family and friends is important to him.
“The food is how he expresses himself so that made me appreciate food and making magic in the kitchen. ” Kisha Lesane
Michele: What is a typical meal your dad would serve?
Kisha: It must have been my favorite meal as a kid. And I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s not my favorite anymore, but I still eat every bite. Fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and baked beans.
Michele: Oh, that sounds good to me!
Kisha: And honey biscuits. He always makes me honey biscuits. Even now that he’s gotten a little older. He has to pull a chair up to the stove to cook these meals for me and I’m like, “Dad, you don’t have to cook me anything.” And he tells me to go sit down at the table and wait for him to finish. Even though I’m almost 40 years old he tells me, “Go sit down at the table until I’m done.” Yes sir!
A Pinch of Butter
Michele: That’s definitely love. Tell me about A Pinch of Butter.
Kisha: A Pinch of Butter Blog is my passion. It’s my little baby. It’s restaurant reviews, kitchen mistakes. ‘Cause sometimes I get in the kitchen and I think I’m creating magic and I make a bigger mess than I intended. This is about making memories with the one you love, kind of like with my dad. I think I’ve now made food my love language where I show people that I love you by creating a meal and having a meal with you. And that is what Pinch of Butter is about. It’s about overcoming anxiety. Going to a restaurant by myself and enjoying every single bite.
Michele: Tell me about going to restaurants by yourself. That’s something being an issue or a concern. Who wants to eat alone? But you’ve mastered that through your blog.
Kisha: Yes I have. In the beginning, I would go by restaurants and think, “I want to try that.” But then, I don’t have anyone with me. Every 30 days with me being in a new city, it is just me. I didn’t want to keep missing out. In the beginning, I would start with just a drink. I would make myself, “Ok, Kisha. One day this week you’re going to sit at the bar and have a drink. I’d start with that. That’s how I started with a drink at the restaurant by myself. I would start off with an appetizer. No matter how uncomfortable I felt, I made myself get through it.
When I got home, I was able to high-five myself in the mirror. I’d tell myself, “Good job, Kisha. You made it through the meal; you made it through an appetizer.” I know that sounds silly, but that’s how I made it. That’s how I got through going to restaurants by myself.
Michele: Has this led to other adventures at restaurants where you’ve discovered new foods or something like that?
Kisha: Yes. And that’s what A Pinch of Butter is all about; me just exploring and finding new… For Example, in Atlanta. Atlanta is where I’m from and Atlanta is a food paradise. Being able to just go and try things I never thought of, things I didn’t know I needed in my life. It’s because I decided to try a restaurant that I couldn’t have been able to go to if…”I don’t want to go by myself.”
Restaurants I don’t go to are the ones that are romantic. Those I have not ventured into going by myself yet. Give me time.
Michele: You’re talking about going to these restaurants and celebrating food. How does that fit into your mission to Celebrate Every Day as a National Day Calendar ambassador?
Learning to Celebrate Every Day
Kisha: Everybody, buckle up. This is going to be a sad but happy ending story.
About six years ago due to bad decisions, I became homeless. I was homeless from maybe June of that year until maybe December. For a few months, I was homeless, living in my car, hotels. Just surviving instead of getting up and going to work every day.
During that time, me going into a restaurant used to make me feel human for those 20-30 minutes while I was eating a meal. The waiter or waitress never knew when she brought me that meal that I was homeless. I felt like I was anybody else. I didn’t feel I had to struggle, that I had to figure out once I got out of that restaurant. So, every day I started celebrating what my meal was going to be. I couldn’t wait to get into that restaurant to just feel like everybody else.
“…going into a restaurant used to make me feel human for those 20-30 minutes while I was eating a meal. The waiter or waitress never knew when she brought me that meal that I was homeless.” – Kisha Lesane
Even before I became a National Day ambassador, I think I stumbled upon your website. I don’t remember exactly how I grew to love National Day Calendar but I just started…”Ooh! Tomorrow’s National Cupcake Day!” Or, “Ooh, Tomorrow’s National Pie Day!” It felt special to me. I don’t know what the rest of this day is going to hold for me but tomorrow I’m going to get up and celebrate National Day Calendar. It was another form of me feeling normal. So, I just kept doing that. Every day became an adventure to see how I could celebrate, to see how I could dedicate, how I could spend my focus on celebrating this particular day, every single day. It just became my lifestyle. It became a part of Kisha and a part of A Pinch of Butter.
Michele: I love that story. You’ve told it to me before, and I’m so glad you shared it today. What does Celebrate Every Day look like to you?
Kisha: Now that we’re dealing with the pandemic…2019 to 2022 have been a complete blur but it gives us something to feel, something to make us feel connected. We still matter. It sounds silly and simple but being able to celebrate, “Ooh, today is National Taco Day.” Me putting that up on my social media and someone connecting that lives a million miles away and saying, “I’m celebrating today as well! I put this on my tacos.”
It just makes us feel like one big family in our living room working from home. Like we’re connected to each other even though we can’t hug anymore. We can’t shake hands anymore. I feel like an old-school person, but I grew up with human touch. For the last two years, we haven’t really been able to do that as we used to, so being able to connect with other people means so much to me. I’m quite sure that anyone else that has enjoyed National Day Calendar and enjoyed sharing these days feels the same way.
Michele: I’ve had a similar experience by working here.
Kisha: One of the days I put up (I didn’t know much about the holiday) I think it was, Peking Duck. I had never experienced it before. I put it up that it was “National Peking Duck Day but I know nothing about it. So, I want somebody to celebrate and tell me about it.” And I received so many emails, so many text messages, so many DMs of people explaining it to me, how I should enjoy it, how I should give it a try. And it just made me feel for once we were all connected. It didn’t matter who I was or what side of the track I was on, where I come from, or my lifestyle. Together we all had a connection over Peking Duck!
Michele: That’s the unique quality of connecting through the days.
Kisha: That’s one thing I love about being here and being a part of this is that I get to connect with people that are VPs of major corporations, the moms who cook major meals and sometimes they may get overwhelmed and we all just become, no matter who you are, we all are just connecting over this dish.
Food & Festivals
Michele: What kinds of events and festivals that feed into the National Day Calendar celebrations have you attended or plan on going to?
Kisha: I think April is National Grilled Cheese Day. Atlanta every single year, they have [the Altlanta] Grilled Cheese Festival. Even though I’m an adult, I think I needed someone with me to tell me, “Put that back. No more grilled cheese for you.” I think they had 20 different kinds of grilled cheese. They had restaurants giving out samples. It was just an amazing event. I gained 22 pounds. I’m blaming it on the grilled cheese sandwich. It was amazing. That was the first time I ever tried bacon jam. There was a grilled cheese with bacon jam on it. I wish I remember the restaurant. The bacon jam was fantastic. I wouldn’t have thought to put bacon jam on a grilled cheese sandwich but…
Michele: Do you get to Cleveland?
Kisha: I have not, but if you give me a reason, I’m there.
Michele: There’s a restaurant called The Melt. It is all about grilled cheese. I had a friend take me there. I don’t even remember what I had, but my husband had a meatloaf grilled cheese that was piled with I don’t know how much grilled cheese.
Kisha: I’m going to call my job and tell them I can’t come to work today. That I’m heading to Cleveland for just a few days. That sounds amazing. I am a meatloaf fanatic. Meatloaf is one of those things I think I can create in my sleep. And I’m always adding different things to it. So, to get a grilled cheese sandwich…
Fruit or Pastry?
Michele: If you had to give up either fruit, cheese, pastries, ice cream, or potatoes, which one would you choose?
Kisha: Do not tell my mom, but definitely fruit. Potatoes are my love language. Cheeses are my love language. I think it’s between pastry and fruit. Can I change it? I think I would choose pastries.
Michele: Why would you eliminate pastries?
Kisha: It’s definitely important but…if I had to give one of those up, it would be pastries. So far I haven’t found a good pastry that I had to write home to mom about. I think the only place I’ve had a pastry where I had to go back is in Elizabethtown, North Carolina called Burney’s. They have croissants and they stuff cream cheese inside them and sometimes they drizzle chocolate over them.
Michele: What is the most unusual food you’ve ever tried?
Turning the Tables
Kisha: I’m going to ask you a question. I know you’re the person asking the questions but what is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Michele: I’d have to say frog legs; I guess that would be unusual for me.
Kisha: How does that taste?
Michele: Like chicken. (Both laugh.)
Kisha: Now I’m going to have to try…I just can’t go to work today.
Michele: I’m going to add to my answer. Marrowbone. I think that might be the most unusual food I’ve ever had but my goodness is it good. They cut it in half and roast it and then you eat the marrow out of the center of the bone with crusty bread.
Kisha: That sounds really good. I’m excited to try new things.
Michele: Is there anything else you’d like to share today?
Kisha: I know it’s a shameless plug but I have a YouTube channel called A Pinch of Butter now where I am now filming my adventures while I’m eating alone. Sometimes I talk to the camera as if my guests are eating with me. That is my goal to make them feel as if they could sit down and come eat dinner with me. My friends pick at me because sometimes I go to restaurants alone and end up meeting a friend. I’m like, “Well, they were by themselves so I said ‘hi’ and ‘Come over and have lunch with me?'”
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