Kelly the Culinarian: An ode to the Easy Bake Oven

Saturday, July 21, 2007

An ode to the Easy Bake Oven

This week, Easy Bake Ovens were recalled because of a safety concerns. It got me thinking about my childhood toys. I got an Easy Bake Oven when I was 7 years old and it was the highlight of my Christmas. In case you never had one, the oven is powered by a 100 Watt light bulb. It takes 10 minutes to make about a 1/4 cup of cake batter. It's a cool toy that's been around for generations and is targeted primarily at girls, but there are newer models that are gender neutral. It's a bit of a rip off, it takes forever.

But, it was my first independent cooking experience. I was able to mix up their little tiny, overpriced cake packets with a tablespoon of water in a little bowl with the world's tiniest whisk. Then I spooned the cake batter into tiny pans the size of Post-It notes. After what seemed like forever, I got a tiny cake the size of a cookie you see at Panera now. There's even a video of me with permed '80s hair being a total brat at a birthday party for either my sister or my mother saying that I could have made a cake in my Easy Bake Oven. It would have taken me at least a half an hour in cooking time and it would have only served two, tops, but I could have.

The cakes actually come out looking pretty decent. While the it started out humbly enough, current Easy Bake Ovens are now labeled as "snack centers" as well; you can heat cheese for nacho and make S'mores too. There are Web sites all over dedicated to offering more Easy Bake Oven homemade recipe options.

But even without the snack center or heating area, this little toy has inspired many a chef. For the toy's 40th anniversary, National Public Radio did a segment on the gourmet Easy Bake Oven and how various chefs had tinkered with it in their younger years. Bobby Flay has said that he wanted an Easy Bake as a child, but his dad objected and said it was a girl's toy. Eventually, his mom broke down and bought him one, and a chef was born.

A toy this creative that has inspired scores of young people to try their hand at cooking can't go off the shelves, especially at a time when more and more adults are eating unhealthy fast food simply because they don't know the techniques to creating meals at home. It is my sincere hope that Hasbro gets its act together to bring this toy to children safely.


tigerfish said...

No wonder I can't bake. I did not have an Easy Bake Oven when I was young. :O

FH said...

Looks cute! We didn't have those in India,but I had a real box type table top oven to bake when I was a teen!:)

Marianne said...

I had a Holly Hobby oven which I think similar. My husband said he coveted his little cousin's Easy Bake Oven.

A Mature Student said...

I have never heard of Easy Bake Oven and I thought I was a toy expert as I used to buy every new toy that was out for my children. :)

frantic foodie said...

I never got one, I was a poor deprived child!