It is the end of an era. I am sad to say that on January 1st, 2012 you will no longer be able to buy 100 watt light bulbs in the U.S. Many of you might be thinking what is the big deal about that, who uses a 100 watt light bulb anyway? But let me tell you, little girls all over the country are going to be impacted by this loss. The end of the 100 watt light bulb means the end of the Easy Bake Oven.
Walk into my garage and up on the shelf you will see four little Easy Bake Ovens lined up side by side. At one point or another each of my girls wound up getting one as a gift. It is almost like a rite of passage. To me they always seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth, but I remember as a little girl how excited I was to get one. I read somewhere once that Bobby Flay credits the Easy Bake Oven for turning him into the great chef that he is today. I specifically remember how excited Moira was to get hers. She is my budding chef. Who am I to stand in the way of my daughter’s dreams even if I think cooking something with a light bulb is silly? I am a mom who is going to encourage my children’s passion!
I pull out the Easy Bake Oven and go to the pantry to grab a light bulb. The energy efficient low wattage bulbs I have are not going to do the trick and the instructions say you have to have a 100 watts bulb, so I load everyone up into the car and run down to the superstore. We get home and surprise, I bought the “soft-light” 100 watt bulb which is a huge no-no, so back in the car everyone goes and we go to get the hard core, heat producing light bulb that is strong enough to bake a cake. Who on earth invented this crazy thing? I get it set up, plug it in and we start the countdown of letting it heat up for 15 minutes. Literally every 30 seconds the kids would ask, “is it ready yet?” Finally it was time. We put the powdery mix in the tiny baking cup, add water and pour it into the small pan. The kids are so excited and I am thinking this better expand a lot if everyone is going to get a slice! With the special tool, basically a long plastic hockey stick that Hasbro included in the Easy Bake box after a few lawsuits involving kids who got their fingers stuck trying to push the baking pan into the oven; we push the pan into the little oven.
And we wait and wait and wait. I am not sure what I was waiting for as a sign that it was done, maybe that the light bulb would burn out. I went and threw in a load of laundry and come back to the children asking me if there was supposed to be smoke coming out of the sides. I pull out a cake that is so burnt that my son wanted to know if it was chocolate cake because he thought we had made white cake (which we had). It was so burnt that I had to run it outside to stop it from stinking up the house. As I was slamming it against the concrete to try and get it out of the pan I could not help but think “that is one powerful light bulb to not only bake a cake, but burn it to a crisp."
Before you let yourself spiral into a depression at the thought of the last cake being cooked by the 100 watt light bulb, let me tell you that Hasbro is getting ready to launch the new Easy Bake Oven complete with a heating element. Not nearly as cool since that makes it just like a real oven. But the fond memories will always be there of the Easy Bake Oven. It makes me laugh to think that someday my girls will be telling their children about how they used to cook with a light bulb. Maybe I will go and stock up on some of those 100 watt light bulbs so they will be able to show their children how it was in the “good old days”