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August 9, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Ready Steady Bake

Attempting to blend in with four-year-olds is difficult on most days, but trying to achieve this feat in Toyworld is next to impossible. For one, they tend to cry more. Moving away to play ‘kill, boff, marry’ with the limited retro editions of Barbie, the latest tea party accessories catch my eye. They do not include the Easy Bake Oven.

Furrowing my brows together to make a serious face, I thought about the lack of Easy Bake Ovens. I couldn’t recall a time I’d ever seen one in Toyworld. Or New Zealand. On the three playdates I was invited to, no excited child ever squealed “let’s bake with my Easy Bake Oven!” Fun times surely would have followed, but the sad fact is, aside from Google image and YouTube, I’ve never actually seen an Easy Bake Oven.

An icon of childhood, the Easy Bake Oven has its own history page on the Hasbro website. The first thing you notice is that it now resembles a microwave more than a miniature industrial oven from the 1960s. After spending the coming decades changing the appearance of the Easy Bake from a pea-green cube with a faux stovetop to a state-of-the-art kitchen appliance, Hasbro introduced more recipes for children to cook, such as poptarts, french fries and sandwiches.

See, here’s where the confusion sets in. Turns out the Easy Bake Oven is actually an oven, not a Playskool Kitchen Set with plastic cooking utensils and bacon strips. Until quite recently I was under the impression the Easy Bake Oven ‘cooked’ pishy cake mix with a 60W light bulb. Shockingly, I was not interested in getting such a lame excuse for a toy. But apparently, this is not what happens, and the oven actually cooks cakes, desserts and biscuits with a high-powered heating element.

The last reason—the fact it cooks food with a heating device—probably meant I was never going to get an Easy Bake Oven as a child. The amount of times I either burn dinner, undercook pancakes or set the element on fire by accidently spilling cat food on it mean should I ever get my hands on an Easy Bake Oven, I could probably turn my home into Chernobyl. With a definite health hazard attached to the oven, this means I only want it more.

I can’t help but feel I have missed out on something truly incredible by waking up each Christmas and birthday without an Easy Bake Oven. I blame my culinary shortfalls and tendency to bring fire—literally—to the kitchen on the fact I was unable to flex my little chef hands during the nineties. Forever doomed to nuke my food in a microwave, I realise I have made the ultimate Easy Bake sacrifice, but I have not burnt down my house.



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