Karson Kidd-Owen, 9, films an episode of "Quarantine Cuisine" in his family's central Salem kitchen (Courtesy/Rob Owen)
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If you’ve got to stay at home for weeks, you might as well make cake.
That’s the philosophy the Kidd-Owen family has adopted, using their central Salem kitchen to create home baking videos on a new “Quarantine Cuisine” YouTube channel.
Sons Karson, 9, and Korbin, 6, are the stars, using cake mix and mushy bananas to create sweet treats. Family dog Champ serves as the “studio audience,” often appearing in the background of shots as he lies on the kitchen floor.
“Are they professional? No. Do the viewers learn useful cooking tips while my kids make masterpieces? Also no. But we're having fun doing them,” father Justin Kidd wrote, describing the series.
Karson stars in the first two short films, which cover pancakes and banana bread.
“Dam breach!” he exclaims, dumping a bowl of mostly melted butter into the dry ingredients for banana bread. Later, he mashes bananas with vigor, yelling, “Die! DIIIIIIE!”
The boys’ fathers, Kidd and Rob Owen, said the series was a way for them to do something fun as a family while schools are closed and both parents are working from home.
“It was really important to me that this experience where we’re all home not be traumatic for our kids,” Kidd said. He wanted them to remember the 2020 self-isolation period as “being a little like summer camp instead of a scary time.”
On weekdays, the boys have a set schedule of schoolwork and free play time. Quarantine Cuisine is mostly filmed on weekends.
The latest episode pits Karson against his younger brother Korbin in a cake bake-off. Karson opts for a rainbow-colored vanilla cake, while Korbin bakes a fudge-vanilla marble cake with green frosting.
The final film is about five minutes long, but was filmed over two days with hours of editing from Owen.
“It’s fun, but boy is it intricate work,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know that we’re going to do competitions in the future.”
Karson said he wanted to do the series because he enjoys baking with Kidd but hasn’t had a chance in a while.
“I just wanted to bring back the experience,” he said.
He enjoys reading recipes and using his math skills to adjust as needed, doubling the banana bread ingredients by multiplying fractions in his head.
Karson enjoys other YouTube kids shows, and the family has been watching the Great British Bake-Off as a stress reliever during the pandemic.
For their next video, Karson said he’d like to make brownies from scratch or show other kids how to make mac and cheese. Korbin said he wants to make a cake in the shape of a Stormtrooper, using a mold the family already has.
Kidd grew up baking waffles with his dad on Sundays and said it was a favorite part of childhood. The couple adopted their sons from foster care and wanted to create similar traditions for their family.
“My favorite part is just spending time, really quality time with my kids,” Kidd said.
Karson and his brother normally attend McKinley Elementary School. The family has been at home for about two weeks since Gov. Kate Brown ordered all Oregon schools to close.
“I miss school, I miss my teacher ... I miss my friends, I miss doing my work, but I also kind of like not being there because I have my family, I have lots of stuff to do,” Karson said. “Overall I’m pretty good.”
Contact reporter Rachel Alexander at [email protected] or 503-575-1241.