Easy Bake memories
By Robin DearingTo celebrate the impending arrival of my husband's birthday over the weekend, I decided Margaret and I would bake him a cake. I'm not much of a baker, but I can follow the directions on the back of a cake-mix box like no one's business and I love cake (that is a huge understatement. Cake is one of my favorite foods. I like to start my day with a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin from the vending machine here at work because it's like eating a little cake for breakfast — and we all know that cake is the breakfast of champions). But after baking the cake and dumping a can of cream-cheese frosting on it, Mar and I decided that it was missing something. It just seemed all plain and regular. Being that my husband is far from plain and regular, we knew that his cake should reflect that. Ultimately we decided it was time to break out Mar's Easy Bake Oven. We used a package of store-bought chocolate-chip cookie dough (no, I didn't even make the cookie dough myself ... all that mixing, measuring and blending, it just didn't appeal to me. I'm a firm believer in the notion that the food that tastes the best, is the food cooked by someone else.) and pressed a huge spoonful of the dough into an Easy Bake Oven pan. Ten minutes later we had a big, round chocolate-chip cookie. We made big, round chocolate-chip cookies all afternon long — one every ten minutes. Mar became quite adept at loading and unloading the oven with the plastic pan pusher and filling the pans half way with cookie dough. I became adept at burning my fingers on the extrordinarily hot baking pans. We cut the round cookies into tiny squares and arranged them jauntily on the cake. In the middle of the cookie-baking process, I realized that I could have smushed the entire roll of pre-made cookie dough into a cookie sheet and baked it for 15 minutes and been done with it. But it was the joy of the Easy Bake Oven that made the afternoon so much fun. I had an Easy Bake Oven as a child. I loved it (yet, another understatement). Eating hockey-puck-like “cakes? made of dry cake mix and water is one of my cherished childhood memories. I•m actually surprised that I even stopped using it. I mean, with the Easy Bake, you can have cake whenever you want without having to turn on the oven. And since it’s just a little cake, you don’t have to share. I wanted to find a picture of what my Easy Bake Oven looked like (as it is markedly different from the microwave-oven-type Margaret has). I found this Web site that chronicles the history of the Easy Bake Oven from when it was first marketed in 1963 until today. The whole experience has made me nostalgic and I even considered bidding on the 1970s version of the Easy Bake I found on eBay. But then I realized that it's Margaret's turn to be the Easy Bake baker and handed over my oven mitt.