Hasbro Reveals Plans For An Easy Bake Oven For Boys

Geek Culture

Marketing image from Hasbro

In case you missed it last week, the Internets blew up at Hasbro when they responded poorly to McKenna Pope’s petition. McKenna, and about 40,000 other people, would like to see a version of the Easy Bake oven that appeals to boys and girls. She isn’t asking a lot, just some gender neutral styling and colors.

Hasbro’s public relations department responded with some history of the oven, explained that boys do play with their toys, and have been featured on packaging in the past. They stopped short of indicating a uni-sex version was planned, or even possible. As expected, the response went viral and spread like wildfire through Facebook and Twitter and even caught the attention of some celebrity chefs.

Today Hasbro invited Ms McKenna and her family to their headquarters and revealed a new line of ovens available in black, silver, or blue. The official announcement was not be made until the NY Toy Fair in February. It appears that Hasbro has been working on the color scheme for about 18 months and expects it to be on shelves by summer.

But you really don’t have to wait until next summer to teach your son (or daughter) to bake. I learned to bake around age 10 or 11 using a temperamental gas oven, a dog-eared and stained copy of the 1961 Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook and a little guidance from my mom. I burnt myself a few times, burnt some cookies many more times, and made some atrocious things, but I learned to cook, I learned what worked, and most of all I learned how to improvise. And for the record, chocolate chips in Grandma’s Lemon Cookies aren’t half bad, but they have a very limited audience.

I’ve grown to enjoy baking and cooking, and have passed much of this love on to my daughter. She started out with scrambled eggs around age 3, but it didn’t take long for her interests to expand and now she frequently cooks lunch and dinner for the family. We talk often about improvising with the ingredients in the house and she recently made a Spaghetti Alfredo sauce from scratch using my description of butter and cream. The first batch separated a little, but it tasted great and gave us the opportunity to talk about a roux and how it can make oil and water behave.

I would encourage all of you to give your kids a chance to cook, in the kitchen, with real equipment, and as soon as they show interest. If you aren’t very comfortable doing so yourself, ask assistance of a friend who is, or check for some community college cooking courses. The internet is also full in information, and misinformation, on the art and science behind cooking. Look for blogs of respected chefs and authors, and pay attention to the comments and rating on recipe sites. If the instructions seam vague, or incorrectly assume you know how to combine the ingredients, look elsewhere.

Image from: Amazon.com

Between my wife and I we have about 40 cookbooks. Most of them are hers but there are two cookbooks that I really like. They are polar opposites in the methods they use, but the knowledge impart works well together. First up is the Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook. The new one works well, but I love the kitschy illustrations and 1960s styling of the 1961 edition. This book goes into great detail on how to follow a recipe, explains why things are usually mixed in a certain order, and give precise measurements, temperatures, and times.

The second book is titled Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. I found this book by Michael Ruhlman a few years ago. It condenses most of what we cook down to some simple ratios that can then be expanded and embelished as desired. I’ve used similar methods for expanding and altering proven recipes in the past, but this book saves much of the trial and error.

Don’t wait for corporate America to manufacture a product that will encourage your son or daughter to cook. Give them some guidance, point them at the resources, and don’t get upset when they smoke up the house with some extra crispy cookies. It’s all part of the learning process, and there really isn’t a better negative reinforcement than the smell of burnt chocolate chip cookies. Just think about brings back a flood of memories.

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