I desperately wanted one of these for Christmas when I was a little girl in Spruce Pine. My cousin had one. But my parents just couldn't afford it. I survived. I used the real oven. I was not scarred for life. I have no idea what they cost back in the '60's. Wait! I can google that, can't I?
Thanks to Hasbro's website, I found some facts.
- It was introduced in 1963 and cost $15.95. (I was 5 years old, just for the record.) That might not sound like much now, but to my parents that would have been a lot of money.
- There have been many updated models of it since then, reflecting popular kitchen colors.
- It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006. (I had to google that, too... It is located in Rochester, NY.)
The latest version is the Ultimate Oven which costs $54.99, according to Hasbro's website. To some parents, these days and times, that is still a small fortune.
In today's Durham Herald-Sun, I read an article that piqued my interest. A four-year-old boy asked for an Easy-Bake Oven and a dinosaur for Christmas. His 8th grade-age sister started a petition asking Hasbro to design the oven with little boys in mind. Seems it comes in pink and purple with only little girls on the box. A great many of the great chefs in the world are men and I personally know a lot of males who love to bake (not in my house, though). Last year alone, my advisory group was treated to homemade Key Lime Pie, Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake, and French Chocolate Cake by three boys. Needless to say, the design of the oven has not kept boys out of the kitchen. But I like this young lady's spirit. She gathered more than 30,000 signatures in just over a week and even drew the attention of celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Hasbro responded, telling her that boys have indeed been featured on the boxes over the years. I didn't find any in my google image search, but that doesn't mean there aren't any out there, of course.
My morning baking, in my kitchen-sized Maytag gas oven, was muffins for the Ex-Ex's breakfast. I used my go-to muffin recipe from Better Homes and Garden's New Cookbook Special Edition, but improvised with what is in the refrigerator... apples and some eggnog that College Son bought while he was home at Thanksgiving. Only half of them are left, so I'd say he likes them.
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg
3/4 c. milk (I used eggnog)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 medium-sized apple, peeled, cored and chopped (I used gala)
Grease 12 muffins cups or line with baking cups.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center; set aside.
In another bowl combine egg, milk and oil.
Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Do not over mix.
Stir in apples (or whatever you want to use-- I've used blueberries, cherries, peaches, dried fruit, etc.)
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each one two-thirds full.
Bake in preheated 400˚F oven for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes (if anyone can actually wait that long).
Remove from muffin cups.
Bon appétit-- Keep on baking- boys and girls!