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Sweet idea

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneAlexander de Greyt and Rebecca de Greyt bake cookies Tuesday at their home in Rogue River.

Rogue River mother create online store to sell baked goodies

ROGUE RIVER – Embracing the modern-day virtual world, 15-year-old Alexander de Greyt (yes, that’s “really his name”) has joined forces with his talented mom to capitalize on the duo’s mutual love for baking.

Mom & Sons’ Eatery — Virtual Bake Sale — launched this week to an immediate fanbase and dozens of orders trickling in for apple puffs, chocolate chip pecan cookies – their staple items – and other tasty treats.

Born with speech and processing delays, Alexander was diagnosed last year with autism. Too busy focusing on his future to contemplate anything slowing him down, the Rogue River High School student happened onto his baking business when exploring job possibilities for a finance class.

Ambitions for chef school were quickly thwarted by tuition cost, and phlebotomy didn’t end up sounding as fun as he expected, the teen explained Wednesday while methodically scooping cookie dough onto a tray at home in Rogue River.

“Me and my mom have been baking pretty much since I could bake, so like age 5. And I was thinking about life, like any other teenagers do, with my maturity level in the way,” he said.

“I proposed we sell baked goods on Facebook or any other platform ... and she agreed.”

Rebecca de Greyt said helping her son focus on his passions has been a positive way to help him face life head on. Baking aside, the teen is passionate about history, woodworking and music.

“He feels so trapped in his head with his autism that baking really relaxes him and helps his brain to calm down, and it helps him to open up and share his thoughts about life and his feelings about his future,” she said.

“He basically likes to do anything that I do. He and I have always had a really great bond and I noticed very early on that baking and listening to music, like Enya, are two things that calmed him down the best.”

Intentionally naming her son after “Alexander the Great,” Rebecca de Greyt said suits his intellectual personality, which she describes as an 80-year-old disguised as teenage boy.

“My husband is from Belgium and that is where the last name is from. I could not go by with having a son with our last name and not name him Alexander,” she said.

“Alexander is the first generation born in America. He went with his father (Peter) to Belgium two years ago and that is when he really came back wanting to know even more about baking. The pastries over there are ‘divine’ as Alexander would put it.”

Only a week into their venture, mom and son are building a menu, which they plan to rotate with new items each month. They’ll bake Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All treats offered via the virtual bake shop are approved by the de Greyt family “scale of evil.”

“In my family, we always rated things on a scale of one to five, five being absolutely delicious. So when I make something and I need to know how good it is, I say, ‘How evil is it, honey?’” she said.

Alexander baking with his mom for fun and practicing for a potential future job has been a win-win.

“I have to say baking – and the process of baking – is fun and enjoyable especially with my mom or any family member really,” he said.

“Will I always bake, yes, definitely. Will I bake for a career? That depends on what ever life throws at me. If it proves profitable enough to live on and to raise a family then yes, I will definitely do baking.”

Aside from feeling productive and gaining clarity and focus, said the teen, the perks are pretty great.

“You get this sense of purpose and clarity and peacefulness when you’re making something delicious and wonderful. Just smelling the smell of the cookies and the beautiful cakes and pastries is really wonderful,” he said.

“I think baking could be a very viable career for me. Life can be quite grindy, at least from what I hear. Doing something that I love would be a real blessing.”

Asked the secret ingredient, mom and son divulged their secret.

“When people ask us the secret ingredient, he tells them, ‘It’s a Mama’s love,’” said Rebecca de Greyt.

See more online, facebook.com/1ingredient. To order, text or call 541-292-1854.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com