Most every girl born since 1960 has had one of her earliest cooking experiences with an Easy-Bake Oven. One of the rare toys that actually accomplishes something, the Easy-Bake is heated by a 100-watt light bulb. What could be a more permanent fixture of modern life than a light bulb, its designers at Kenner Products must have thought when they created and launched Easy-Bake in 1963. Of course we'll never have trouble about that.And we can't have children wasting all that electricity in their little ovens. It's just one step from baking their little cakes to killing off the Polar Bears.
How times change. Come 2012, environmental regulations will restrict the sale of light bulbs, specifically that 100-watt incandescent. The compact fluorescent lamps that will replace them are more energy-efficient, but for precisely that reason, they just don't give off much heat. A CFL bulb won't cook your sparkly-pink Easy-Bake Betty Crocker Sugar Cookies, or much of anything else.
But don't panic, the manufacturer will release a new model with a heating element. In fact, they'd earlier introduced such a product, but it didn't go over well. Apparently, people liked the classic model.
Here is the irony: Hasbro Inc., the company that now owns Kenner and the Easy-Bake product line, brought back the retro design of the toy that today's parents remember from their childhoods, and ditched the 2003 "modern" revamp that customers didn't care for — even though, presciently, that unit didn't use a light bulb for heat.Forget that nostalgia. And enjoy the new model while it lasts. How long before the nutrition police seek to ban a toy devoted to making sugary desserts?