Karen Alton

Karen Alton
Story Setting – City Town or Rural:
Story Setting – Province or Territory:
Current Province or Territory:


List some highlights of or reasons to visit the area that you mention/represent in the book.  Why would we want to go there? When is the best time to travel there, and why?

The Burlington I grew up in is not the same Burlington that is now.   Most of the landmarks and old buildings are gone and the small communities gobbled up by the cities.  What was farming land is now covered by housing and industry. Fall is a beautiful time in the rural part of Halton County – the maples are so gorgeously red and the sumac bushes are also a red colour. Spring had the forsythia and the fruit tree blossoms.

What is one of your first memories in a kitchen? Who was with you? Do you remember how old you were when you started helping or cooking in the kitchen, if allowed? How did it make an impact on you if you were or were not allowed to help or cook?

My first memories in a kitchen:  I remember being told not to touch the wood stove –but I did – luckily I was grabbed before I could burn myself.  I remember the pantry and the food that was kept in there that now we would put in the refrigerator. I remember mom or grandma weighing chickens on the scale in the pantry – the scale had a shallow pan that was the right shape to hold a chicken.  I don’t remember helping in the kitchen at an early age – I was probably outside playing with the dog or cat or chickens. When I was older and we had moved into town I helped in the kitchen a bit – usually my sister and I had to do the dishes. After I was married of course I had to do the cooking , but as we were both working ,the weekends were for more interesting cooking.  In the 70’s we were raising 2 children and I was very much into the back to the earth ideas. Gardening, canning, baking bread, that sort of thing.

What is your favorite food or meal to eat – even if someone else prepares it – in this season? What about each or any season? Do your food preferences change during holiday times (statutory or vacation)? Explain how or why as the case may be.

My favorite food is Liver and Onions.  Yum. Any time – but I never cook it for myself – I’m the only one in the house that likes it (except for the dog and onions aren’t good for a dog). Holiday times and volunteer times involve camping  – if I’m by myself it’s “open a can” – otherwise my son loves to cook and use a smoker and has come up with some amazing dishes. For holiday times we have had a few favorites – the pineapple/cool whip/pistachio pudding salad and a wild rice casserole with consommé soup and mushrooms.  Of course for Christmas I use the 3 sizes of wedding cake tins and make up my fruit cakes in them. I always put more fruit in than required and I use the recipe from the Laura Secord Cookbook.  I love fruitcake.

Who would you like to eat with from the past or present? It can be a regular occurrence or just a one-time event if you’d rather. Why are these people important to you?

Of course I’d love to have a meal with my “dear departed” husband, parents, in-laws, relatives. They all helped make me what I am. I’d also enjoy having a meal with my sister and my sister-in-law – we are closer than ever now that we have lost our husbands. My brother-in-law died the day after my husband died – both from heart problems.

What drew you to this food story project? Why was it important for you to contribute?

My sister had given me a small hand written notebook of recipes that had belonged to our paternal grandmother.  While I have never used any of the recipes as yet, I still treasure it. I think of all the people whose names are on the recipes and how many of them were relatives – or to be relatives once I was married.  I think of these people and of the things they liked to eat, or make and that they chose to share a favorite recipe with others.. I wanted their contribution to continue on and their memory.

How did sharing your story and recipe touch you? Were other people in your circles affected too? How so?

I received  the information about the book from a lady that used to head the Pembina Threshermans’s Museum –  Lois is also in the book. I told a few people and asked if they were interested and shared it with my sister.

Do you have passions or projects or professions you’d like to share? Please include any related links so that we can support you. Social media channels/handles are very okay to list as well!

I am a reader and hardly ever go anywhere without a book as a companion.  I love books. I am also a spinner and do School Tours at The Manitoba Agricultural Museum, Austin, Manitoba.  I also spin during the 4 days of The Threshermen’s Reunion in the last full week in July. We have been members of this Museum since approx. 1973 and we would drive out from Ontario to participate in the events until we finally moved out here.  My late husband, daughter, and son were/are members of this Museum.I also spin at least twice a year for the Pembina Threshermen’s Museum, Winkler, Manitoba.

I run a small one person Costume Rental Business from my home.  I make most of the costumes myself and I’m always trying to  keep up with the newest trends. I have a Facebook page : Saints and Sinners Costumes. I also do some custom costume creating – especially for plus size people.  This also challenges me learn a few new crafts incorporate in the costumes. My favorites are Medieval Costumes and I have about 150 of them..   My sewing room has become a fabric room. I am always searching through thrift stores for curtains etc that will make into lovely costumes and be much cheaper to make too. I like doing quilts and I am currently trying to finish up one – a new idea – that of machine quilting – rather than the pricked fingers from hand quilting.  Also, if you put a quilt in the frames the cat always ends up sleeping on it and that makes the fabric sag a bit – and the cat hair…….ugh!!  With the costumes and quilts I can play with colours and textures and that is something so enjoyable.

I also paint and once a year I do a 4×8 panel for the museum advertising the next year’s events.  This usually is a picture of a tractor.