Teen's baking show a hit on library's YouTube channel
Owen Dodson is soft-spoken, has a charming smile and is an outstanding baker. Oh, and he's just 13.
"My older brother took a cooking class when I was in preschool," Owen said, "and I wanted to make delicious foods like that, too, so I started 'helping' my mom and dad when they cooked in the kitchen."
Early on, Owen remembers making eggs, French toast and pancakes with his dad, and baking muffins and cookies with his mom.
Fast forward to September 2020, and Owen's baking skills have grown tremendously and we're in the early months of the pandemic.
"We were looking for different and exciting ways to offer video programs to our teens as we all followed the stay-at-home order," said Schaumburg Library Teen Place Manager Joe Marcantonio. "We know Owen through his mom, Amy, who used to work at our library. I thought the tweens and teens of our community would really enjoy videos made by a fellow teen - well, tween, at the time."
Joe reached out to Owen and Owen's Treat was born.
Owen has now made more than 30 episodes of Owen's Treat, and he's baked everything from mini apple tarts and beignets to themed cupcakes and jelly-filled doughnuts.
To prepare for each episode, Owen digs through recipes, often consulting his mom's collection of cookbooks.
"She has more than 1,000 vintage cookbooks and recipe boxes," Owen said. "I try to keep things easy, and I like to tie my recipes in with holidays."
Even though the library is now open, Owen continues to make his videos at home.
"I do get nervous making the videos," Owen said. "I have funny outtakes because I talk to myself while working out the steps in the recipe."
Owen continues to improve his baking and cooking skills, taking classes, watching videos, learning from his mom and just experimenting.
"This is a hobby, though," Owen said. "I want to do something with plants or agriculture."
You can find every episode of Owen's Treat on YouTube at SchaumburgLibrary.tv. Owen would love to hear your suggestions for recipes for his episodes - leave those in the comments on YouTube or send them to Schaumburg Library at firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll pass your ideas along to Owen.
• Hollis Sienkiewicz is the director of Marketing and Communications at the Schaumburg Township District Library. You can reach her at email@example.com.