“Easy-Bake” Oven My Butt: A Cooking Guide to Every Mother’s Worst Nightmare
posted by: Amber Johnson
It is important for me to teach my daughter Hadley how to cook. My mom was a top-notch chef and ran a popular restaurant for many years. Growing up, I wasn’t what you would call a gourmand. Case in point: the infamous fiasco when I misread the gingerbread recipe and added 1 cup of ginger instead of 1 tablespoon.
A minor oversight.
My interest in cooking was not ignited until after college and now I love it. These days, my attempts to tap into my mother’s fountain of knowledge are met with frustration as she tries to recall her from-scratch recipes, none of which are written down nor have actual measurements.
Because evidently good cooks do not use measuring cups.
When I was at a store the other day, Christmas toys littered the entrance. Hot wheels. Dolls. And, much to my abhorrence, Easy-Bake-Ovens. A few years ago, I bought Hadley an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. She has always enjoyed cooking with me and I figured this would be one more notch on our mother-daughter bonding belt.
How wrong I was.
I also bought her some astronomically-priced Easy-Bake cookie and cupcake packets. “Just add water,” they promised. What could be easier for an amateur epicurean?
Take it from me: Pan-Roasted Wisconsin Pheasant Breast with Truffle Risotto, Carrot Ribbons and Cider Sauce would be MUCH easier.
We preheated the Easy-Bake Oven and pulled out our recipe packet. Really, our first indication that something would go awry should have been when we read that the cookie would bake in 10-12 minutes.
Not likely in an oven heated by a 0.5-watt bulb.
And yes, I did say cookie. As in singular.
The instructions said to add 1 1/2 teaspoons of water to the mix and to stir until it formed a dough. We did so accordingly and all that resulted were a few disjointed lumps. As the daughter of a from-scratch genius, I proclaimed, “No worries, Hadley! Mommy will work her magic.”
And I did. “Just add water” turned into adding flour, butter, milk, vanilla and some more flour. Finally, it was ready and she reverently placed it in her Easy-bake Oven.
Then we waited.
And waited some more.
Did I mention the waiting?
During this time, I manged to crank out three batches of cookies in my real oven as dejected Hadley waited patiently in front of hers. After 40 minutes, it was ready.
“It” as in one cookie.
As it cooled, the next step was the frosting. Again, the instructions guided us to just add water. The result was even worse. I came to the rescue again, creating a masterpiece that would make my Martha Mother proud.
By this time, Hadley was becoming unglued. This “easy” process of adding water and waiting endlessly had taken its toll. She asked me to bring her a bowl for the sprinkles. All of the bowls were in the dishwasher so I brought a plate.
That was the beginning of the end as she seethed, “I SAID I WANTED A BOWL.”
In only an hour, she had turned into Gordon Ramsay from Hell’s Kitchen.
Then again, give her a couple of years of supplementing her Easy-Bake recipes and the kid will put chefs everywhere to shame.
Did you ever have an Easy-Bake Oven as a kid? How do you teach your children how to cook?