Wednesday, November 21, 2007

but wait there's more

The way the eBay ads for EBOs declared that their ovens worked was with statements like, "I turned it on and was almost blinded" or "I let it warm up, then accidentally burned myself." I don't think even my brother's wood burning kit can compete with Easy Bake for world's most injury-inflicting toy. Basically, you're being encouraged to play with a 100-watt light bulb.

I was soon overpaying for an antique, rusted-out toy oven, despite the fact that I hadn't used my own actual oven in several months. After pestering the seller countless times over email, she wrote back, "Don't worry! You'll be baking in no time." It was shipped to my office soon thereafter, and I set it up on my desk for all to behold.

When it arrived, I remembered my disappointment that the stovetop part of it was just for looks. But, bonus! It came with a user guide that kept informing me to "ask Mom" for stuff. Plus it contained truly horrific recipes for microscopic food items. There was a slight problem in that I was a lot more vegan back then than I am now -- I had to modify a regular-size vegan organic chocolate cake recipe and serve it with coconut sorbet. By dividing the recipe into six batches and using 10 minutes of bake time per batch, it took only an hour to get dessert on the table. (About 15 minutes longer than baking the cake the normal way.) Oddly, lots of people always had to leave just before it was served. But that happened a lot during the vegan dessert years, so I paid it no mind.

For what I'd like to say was a few weeks or even a few months (but was actually several years), I baked at pretty much every gathering I could think of. I created new gatherings, such as the pint-size pretzel break at work. My oven was going full steam in the office, at home, and even at friend's houses as I brought it along to any planned event. One friend, in all seriousness, forbid me to pronounce the words "Easy" or "Bake" in her presence.

When I bought my condo, I celebrated by inviting my friends and family to an Easy Bake extravaganza. By this time I had collected two additional ovens -- the hot pink microwave one (complete with cheese melter for nachos), my old one, and a brand new superpowered one (two 100 watt light bulbs worth of baking power). My brother's wife was enchanted. "We should get one of these for the girls" she mused, as she spilled cake mix all over the inside works, thereby permanently jamming the oven.

Rookie mistake. EBOs are notoriously sensitive, and the "Unplug!" operation had to be performed on a semi-regular basis. An experienced baker knows when to bail out. Baking with a toy oven is delicate process that involves pushing each tin pan through with a new tin pan. Pans frequently "go off rails" causing jams and spills. If your push-through was successful, the stovetop acted as a cooling rack for the just-baked goodies.

Always problematic was getting the first batch cool enough to empty the pan in order to refill it and use it to push through the next batch. And God have mercy on you if you tried to speed up the cooling process. The only way to get the last cake out of the oven was to push an empty pan through. I kept meaning to order extra pans, but they're a hard-to-find item.

Anyway, shortly after Shara accidentally destroyed the superpower oven, I came to a realization. My condo, the largest I could afford, was too small for both a real oven and three pretend ones. Besides, most of my friends were avoiding me at mealtimes. I packed everything up for Goodwill and bid a fond farewell to the Easy Bake Era. Growing up had never been so much fun.


Anonymous said...

I don't think I can be your friend anymore.

Melanie said...

wait...that last comment was me. I very much want to be known as the scared friend.

Paige said...

...and I loved growing up with you. I never had an EBO and now...really, do I need one? Thanks for doing the work.