Thursday, October 28, 2010

Easy-Bake Oven, cooking eggs by lightbulb since 1963

So, I lied—Oregon Trail will be done at a later time, when I can properly wrap my brain around why the hell I loved that game so much. I balked originally at changing up what this entry was supposed to be about, and then I realized, hey, this is my blog, I do what I want! So instead, I’m going to look at the Easy-Bake Oven.

(First of all, with the penchant toy companies have for giving their products ‘cute’ names, I’m shocked that it wasn’t called the EZ-Bake or even EZ-Bak Oven.)

Okay, so the Easy-Bake Oven wasn’t a toy just of the ‘90s, but as someone who consumed countless cooked-by-a-light-bulb cakes and cookies (and forced family members to join in the salmonella-y fun!) throughout my childhood, I would be remiss to leave it out. 

(None of my creations looked like any of these things, especially that chocolate cake with pink frosting—false advertising!)

Easy-Bake Oven was supposed to make cooking (well, more accurately, “cooking”) fun and easy, and it did—especially since the model that was around when we were kids came with only desserts (now you can apparently make real food with the Real-Meal Oven). The originals released in the ‘60s looked like a conventional oven, but by the time we were emptying our own powder chocolate chip cookies into the little metal cooking tins, it much more closely resembled a microwave. And what made it so awesome is that you could ‘play’ with your Easy-Bake Oven and totally get dessert in the middle of the day! Want a (very flat, very round) cupcake? Just tell your parents you want to play Easy-Bake Oven, and enjoy.

Of course, I feel that this wouldn’t fly now that the population has turned towards blaming children’s toys/shows for childhood obesity (Cookie Monster, I salute you). That probably has something to do with the creation of the Real Meal Oven, as well as the fact that they wanted to make it more gender-neutral in both color and nature (rather than the frilly pink baking cookies model, although in my opinion, little boys would also rather make cookies and cakes than a three course meal the way the Real Meal Oven boasts you can do.)

The Easy-Bake Oven claimed to teach cooking skills, and that kids may become more curious about real cooking from their Easy-Bake experience. I can say that in my personal experience, both of these statements are completely false. My interest/ability to really cook was not enhanced at all by my childhood oven—although my love of freshly baked goods may have been.

So, Easy-Bake Oven might not have been the best toy of our childhood, although I certainly loved it at the time. It was bulky, required help setting up and parental supervision to use, it could make a mess with all that powder-y cookie goodness, and I mean, come on, how good of an idea is it really to substitute a light bulb for an actual cooking source?

Oh, and little kids got their fingers caught in the oven slot and burned their fingers, and all the models of our childhood ended up being recalled. Fail, Hasboro. The current model, and only Easy-Bake model available (outside of the Real Meal Oven spin-off) came out in 2003--the Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center.

However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t looooove my Easy-Bake Oven when I was a kid, and I seem to have turned out okay, so I suppose all those light-bulb eggs didn’t do me any lasting harm.

The next entry maaaaay be Oregon Trail, unless I get baffled again and go to something else. You’ll just have to wait in suspense!


  1. I so wanted one of these as a kid, but my mother refused to indulge my culinary aspirations. Looking back, I probably should give her a medal. Or perhaps not - my inability to cook even pasta properly could possibly be traced back to my lack of an Easy Bake.

  2. It's true. Really, your mom didn't prepare you for real world cooking. I mean, I had an Easy Bake Oven and I can totally make pasta AND cookies. Clearly I should apply for Iron Chef.