|Great chefs started out cooking with a light bulb|
James Beard Award-winning chef Debbie Gold recently told me that she started out cooking on the Easy-Bake Oven she got when she was six years old: "Everyone had one! You have to learn to cook on a light bulb sometime!"
Lots of future boy chefs started cooking on Easy Bake ovens too, even though the toy's Web site proclaims "the classic light bulb oven still delights with a girl's first baking experience."
That didn't stop Mark Wingard, the co-owner and chef at You Say Tomato from asking for one and getting it: "I cooked pies, cakes, brownies on it," he says. "You bet I had one."
Same goes for chef Marshall Roth, who oversees the cuisine at Independence's Cafe Verona and Ophelia's. "I baked the best brownies with it with candied walnuts," he says. "I know a lot of great cooks that started out on an Easy Bake."
There were toy ovens -- even electric ones -- long before Kenner Toys introduced the Easy-Bake in 1963. My little sister got one as a gift a couple of years later, but cooking didn't really interest her (it still doesn't, but she's married to a very good cook) and I took over the turquoise blue plastic oven.
I even ran a pretend "restaurant" out of my bedroom -- an omen of things to come, but how could I know? -- and when I ran out of the sugary cake mixes, I used the toy oven for cooking eggs and melting cheese for ersatz "nachos."
Any other Easy Bake Oven fans out there in Fat City?