A burning memory of child's oven

June 03, 1998|By Renee Enna | Renee Enna,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

A moment of silence, please. Easy-Bake Oven is celebrating its 35th year. That makes the one I got in 1967 a collectible. It just makes me old.

But not too old to forget that Easy-Bake of 30 years ago. It looked nothing like the family stove, a white behemoth that you lighted by gingerly sticking a match somewhere deep into its recesses and hoping for the best. (For years, the neighbors thought singed eyebrows ran in our family.)

By contrast, the Easy-Bake used a light bulb. Efficient, yes, but a pale comparison to the drama offered by the exploding oven of my youth. I can still hear my mother, following manufacturers' warnings, repeatedly telling me to be careful with the Easy-Bake: "It's not a toy. You could hurt yourself." Then she would head for the kitchen, lighted match in hand.

The world has changed and Easy-Bake has changed with it. Purists like myself find it difficult to contend with the idea of an Easy-Bake Mini-Wave Oven (1981), an Easy-Bake Dual-Temp Oven (1983) and the 1998 Easy-Bake Oven & Snack Center. Can Easy-Bake Low-Fat Meals in 60 Seconds be far behind?

Maybe these up-to-date Easy-Bakes do a better job of keeping kids slaving away at the plastic stove. After making a few batches of cupcakes -- excellent and quite filling, especially if you were a Lilliputian -- I lost interest. I was the exception. More than 16 million have been sold since 1963. Guess those kids didn't have the home version of "Backdraft" playing nightly in their homes.

Pub Date: 6/03/98

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