At Home with Karen Anderson

A Note from the publisher

We’re living in an unprecedented moment in history, and it’s been amazing to see how people are pulling together to support one another. Here at TouchWood we’ve decided to ask our authors what has been keeping them busy during a time when we’ve all been asked to stay home to Flatten the Curve.

Meet Karen

My name is Karen Anderson and I live in Calgary, Alberta. Along with being co-author of a Taste Canada award-winning cookbook called A Spicy Touch and a World Gourmand Cookbook award winner, Food Artisans of Alberta, I own and operate a tourism company called Alberta Food Tours, Inc.

Karen Anderson with Blue Elephant owner chef Nooror Somany Steppe

I feel completely blessed that before this pandemic hit, I was able to take a group of guests on a cuisine and culture tour of Thailand in January. I also squeezed in 20 days in India where I did a silent meditation retreat at Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

I arrived home from a 33-hour journey from India with sniffles and a cough. I self-quarantined and am happy to report that I tested negative for COVID-19.

That was all before the sacred cow dung really hit the fan.

Believe me when I tell you that my tourism company is very quiet right now.

But, I’m using this precious gift of time to work on a new book project with my friend and collaborator Pauli-Ann Carriere, who is the photographer for A Spicy Touch, based on my travels in India. We hope to finish by fall 2020.

When I’m not writing, I’m doing yoga and meditating. I’m truly grateful for my meditation practice right now. It keeps me chilled. And, now that I’m feeling better and not worried about spreading COVID-19, I’ll also get back to my greatest love—cooking in my kitchen. It’s time to treat my husband to some of the mouth-watering recipes I learned in Thailand.

Books like Food Artisans of Alberta are really crucial at times like this. I’m so happy TouchWood believed in the project. One of the goals in writing the book was to strengthen our food systems and culture. As we shared the stories of 200 food artisans, farmers, and ranchers I hope we added threads in the form of readers who will become tightly bound in the weave of their life’s tapestry.

I’d like to share a recipe for Saskatoon Berry Squares. They are super easy to make and you can substitute whatever frozen fruit you have on hand for the saskatoons. Enjoy them with a cup of tea and a good book.

Saskatoon Berry Squares

Excerpted: Food Artisans of Alberta
Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 24 slices
  • 2 cups flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups (fresh or frozen) saskatoon berries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

Mix the 2 cups of flour, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter together. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch pan, pressing down to form a crust.

Cover the crust with the saskatoon berries, arranging them in a single layer.

Mix the remaining cup of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of flour, eggs, butter, and coconut and pour over the berries and crust.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool, cut, and serve with vanilla, honey ripple or saskatoon berry ice cream.


Find more information here