If there is ever an iconic toy to American little girls, it’s got to be the Easy Bake Oven. When I mention the name, every woman I know practically swoons. Either it was one of their favorite toys or it was the one they coveted.
I’m lucky to be in the first category. Technically, I think it was my sister’s Easy Bake Oven, but what’s hers is mine, right? (spoken like a true little sister).
In fact, as I was talking to my sister and reminiscing about “our” Easy Bake Oven, we both got excited about it. We remembered exactly what it looked like and the exact color. Turquoise. Clearly, we were children of the 70s.
What’s even more important than the toy itself are the memories we have associated with it. All I had to do was tell my sister I had a question about our Easy Bake Oven for a post I was writing and she said “Oh, are you going to tell the chocolate cake story?” “What chocolate cake story?” I asked innocently (I seriously don’t remember it). Luckily, she regaled me. My sister’s words:
“I made a chocolate cake in the Easy Bake Oven and I was very excited about it (maybe it was my first one?). So I went to get Mommie to show her. When we came back to the kitchen, my cake was gone and you had chocolate around your mouth.”
As a rule, I don’t LOL or any such nonsense. But I definitely laughed out loud. We both agreed that I was probably 3 years old and didn’t quite have my wits about me. I’m still developing them, by the way.
Side note: Just how do children always end up with a ring of chocolate around their mouth?
I love how our oven looked like an oven. I thought I was really baking. Even as an older child, I hadn’t quite grasped the science of baking. I just thought you threw in some ingredients and out came a magical cake. I remember playing with a friend and we started experimenting with our own cake concoction. It involved Cheerios, oatmeal, and applesauce, among other things. (It almost makes me sound like a pioneer in healthy cooking). Turns out that a hot light bulb cannot magically create a cake out of anything.
Still, it never lost its allure over the years, to me or to little girls everywhere. As the years rolled by, it turned from a side load turquoise oven, to a front load fuchsia oven, to a series of groovy microwave-looking ovens. Many were recalled over the years. I can’t imagine why. And then we come to the modern day, coincidentally turquoise, Easy Bake Oven.
Why do I have said Easy Bake Oven? Because dreams of our youth die hard.
My son is 3 years old. He’ll be 4 in less than 3 weeks. I thought that was close enough to the 8+ age limit on the box. Plus it was on sale at Christmas time for $18 at Target. Plus I had a $5 off coupon for it. Who could say no?
Evan likes to bake in the kitchen with me. I let him taste the ingredients. He likes sugar, butter, and brown sugar. Apparently, he doesn’t really have a taste for flour (hey, he WANTED to try it; it’s how they learn). He’s graduated to helping me measure and pour. He’s quite good at it when he doesn’t get distracted by sugar.
We work on technique and cleanliness and all the things a good baker should know. So why wouldn’t I get him his very own Easy Bake Oven to relive my glory days?
For $13, I decided that Santa would bring the Easy Bake Oven. Here’s why. In my family, Santa brings unwrapped toys and sets them out for Christmas morning. Since the Easy Bake Oven came in a box with girls all over it, I thought it might be wise if Santa took it out of the box and set it out. Wise move.
Last week, Evan went back to his sitter’s house and found out his little friend Avery also got an Easy Bake Oven. He was so excited to tell me this: “Mommy, Avery got the GIRL Easy Bake Oven and I got the BOY Easy Bake Oven!”
That’s right, son.
So we set up the oven today and baked a cake of miniscule proportions. And in case you’re feeling nostalgic about your favorite toy or still coveting the one you never had, here’s what I can tell you:
– The cakes are still cooked by a lightbulb.
Seriously, it’s the lightbulb that heats some strange metallic chamber but it’s still a lightbulb.
– The cakes are so small that you might confuse it for a cookie. A small cookie.
Thinking back, either the pans were bigger or I was smaller. Or both.
– The cakes are, well, gross.
We only tried the yellow cake mix with chocolate frosting but I still feel qualified to judge.
However, all of this aside, we are still making childhood memories. I just wonder how many of his friends will someday covet his Easy Bake Oven.
You know you had one. Or wanted one. Share your favorite Easy Bake Oven memory with me. Just for fun.