When I was a kid my mom wouldn’t let me have an Easy Bake Oven, because she rightfully despised the idea that little girls were to be trained to be nothing more than kitchen drones and caregivers, pretending to be satisfied with the prospect of whipping up triple layer delicacies with a big bogus smile on their faces and popping amphetamines on the sly to get through the day.
Of course, this was the mid-70s, right smack in the middle of Women’s Lib, and my mother, married at 18 in 1958, was not hard core like some who were born a bit later. But had had her consciousness raised at least to the extent that she’d be damned if her little girl was going to have an Easy Bake Oven.
I, of course, just wanted to make (and eat) those little round cakes like the girls in the commercials. But my desire for a sugar and a smidge of what I thought was normalcy (those girls looked so happy! What could be wrong with cake?) was outweighed by the fact that my mom saw the Easy Bake Oven as a plastic, plug-in symbol of all that was accursed in the world and in particular her small corner of it.
Fast forward some 30-plus years later, and I had not a qualm when my daughters got an Easy Bake Oven from a friend for their birthday. The pendulum has swung from barefoot and pregnant (and, presumably, baking) to bra-burning and sitting in (and buying Drakes Cakes) and has now settled in the middle: It’s OK to bake if you can tolerate the carbs, but lord knows it’s fine to go kick a ball or read a book or think deep thoughts. Baking is like Play-Doh is like Pixos is like Legos–something to do to that your mom (or your dad) is going to have to scrape up off the carpet later.
It would no more occur to my girls that baking was demeaning than that they couldn’t be President or Hannah Montana, if their parents would only also get them that elaborate Karaoke set (which they’re not going to do).
Now, onto the question of the ages: How does a 100 watt light bulb generate enough heat to actually bake a real, albeit small, cake? I had a bite of one today, and it was vile. But I’m glad my girls have the right to bake vile cake as they so choose.