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Easy Bake Oven

Anybody remember the original EASY-BAKE oven? I most certainly do, as it was the center of my first adventures in cooking – somewhere between 1965 (age 4) and 1969 (age 9) – most likely 1968 or 1969.

Before writing this post, I did some research, and found this History of the EASY-BAKE Oven page. It provides a couple of clues to clarify my memory: The picture of the 1960’s EASY-BAKE Oven is the one that matches my memory, and I don’t remember making anything from scratch with it, but only using the miniatures of Betty Crocker products mentioned as not available until 1968. My memory could be wrong, and I did make things from scratch, so I could have had mine earlier.

Another thing that makes my memories of my EASY-BAKE Oven sharper than other memories I have from when I was that young is that I didn’t have to talk my parents into buying it for me because it was the first thing I can remember saving for. I have a clear picture in my mind of the counter full of pennies I used to pay for it at Mr. Mopp’s toy store in Berkeley. Update August 5 – it wasn’t Mr. Mopp’s! – I decided to Google Mr. Mopp’s, thinking that I might find a history page since I have even clearer recollections that the store where I purchased the EB oven closed long ago, and I found Mr. Mopp’s as a current, going concern, so it couldn’t have been Mr. Mopps. There WAS a toy store that had entrances on both Shattuck Ave and Shattuck Square in Berkeley, in the first block South of University. Anyone remember the name? Dave got it! Look at the comments for this post – you should read it in his words.

I’m going to do a couple of other things to pin down when I bought it:

  1. I’m going to try to find my mother’s picture album from that time. I have VERY clear memories that I used it in the basement, not in the kitchen. Actually, not in a normal kitchen – as our family cooked over 2 electric hot plates in the basement while our kitchen was being remodeled – and I THINK there are dated pictures of that setup which, combined with my memory of using the EB Oven there, should nail down when it was, and thus nail down how old I was!
  2. That new kitchen? I’m likely to make it the subject of another, later post, but it’s worth mentioning here because it was featured in Sunset Magazine – I THINK in a 1969 issue. I’ve already used the “Contact Us” page at Sunset’s website to ask assistance in both pinning down the specific issue and – hopefully – obtaining a copy of the article. If I can find a copy – and obtain non-commercial republishing rights from Sunset, I’ll include those in the future post on that kitchen. It’s important in THIS post because the publication date would be the absolute latest I could have bought my EB oven.

Other then my vague recollection of using the mini Betty Crocker products, and using it in the basement “kitchen”, I don’t recall anything I actually made, but I DO recall that it was powered by a single, plain old light bulb – and that I experimented with different wattages and how changing the wattage affected the baking time – raising my father’s hope that I would be an engineer! A hope which, according to Dad, was dashed when, at age 15-1/2, I bought a moped and – to the extreme disappointment of my Dad the engineer – failed to take it apart to see how the motor works.

I’ve changed a lot since then, and I feel compelled to reveal one way I’ve changed by correcting myself. Above, I said the EB Oven was powered by “a single, plain old light bulb.” I now know differently. It actually was powered by an incandescent “A” lamp – what’s the difference? Nothing really, except that I’ve now worked in the lighting industry and feel compelled to use correct terminology. You see, in lighting, the entire assembly is a “Lamp” – “Bulb” refers to the glass – and only the glass! Somewhere between then and now I acquired a strong preference for correct and precise terminology.

I’d love to hear any recollections any of you have of your childhood EB Oven.

Thanks!

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  1. Anonymous
    07 Aug 2009 at 16:38

    I believe the toy store you're thinking of is Birdie's. It occupied the space in the old Roos Bros. building that fronted not only on Shattuck Ave and Shattuck Square (as you recalled) but also on Addison St. It's now occupied by a restaurant, I believe, with iron gates enclosing the west side.

    David

  2. fulfilling-work moderator
    08 Aug 2009 at 14:46

    Thanks Dave! It was Birdie's. Although I don't think Bridie's itself fronted on Addison – although the Roos Bros. building undoubtedly does. As I recall, Bridie's was L shaped with a longer frontage on Shattuck Square than on Shattuck Ave

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