As a child of the 1970s, there were plenty of popular toys in the household. The McDonald’s Playset, a Fisher Price School Bus, and, oh yes, an Easy-Bake Oven.
The Easy-Bake Oven was a wonderful appliance for little girls. I would bake as many mini-cakes as I could; that is, as many as my father would eat. What amazed me wasn’t the fact I had my own little oven – a miniature version of Mom’s – because, by then, I’d already learned how to bake real cookies and bread. The wonder of the Easy Bake was that my wee cakes cooked thoroughly with a light bulb. And, no, I didn’t understand then that it was the heat of the bulb that produced magic. All I knew was that when the light was on, the batter cooked.
With the upcoming production halt of incadescent light bulbs, the Easy-Bake Oven will never be the same. New standards call for lighting elements that produce less heat. Hasbro has already addressed the problem – last year they introduced the Easy-Bake Ultimate, which instead uses a heating element. According to a Hasbro Customer Service Rep, the Ultimate was the company’s biggest seller last Christmas.
That’s not the only change. The oven now looks more like a microwave, which, to me, dismisses the retro-era style of the line entirely.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that products like the Easy-Bake have endured for so many years. But it saddens me just the same that the wonderful simplicity – and magic – behind it is no more. It’s the difference between little girls just waiting for a timer to go off (or for their cakes and cookies to re-emerge), and watching the entire process in wonder while something as simple as a light bulb bakes dessert.
For those who still have an old-school Easy-Bake, Hasbro did advise that the GE Reveal 100 light bulb is the one they recommend using for any that previously used an incandescent bulb. Which makes me now on the hunt for a used Easy-Bake someone doesn’t want to pass on in the family.
Did you enjoy the wonder of the Easy-Bake Oven? What do you think of the new design?