on May 7, 2003
This --adult-- cookbook lots of b/w photos, short bios on the famous chefs, and lots of FROM SCRATCH recipes. (Unlike other Easy-Bake cookbooks!) The recipes are sophisticated and can contain ingredients like capers, Chineese cabbage, and Grand Mariner. It might be suitable for children with more refined tastes (the ones who eat more gelato than jello) to use with parent supervision. I've made a few of the recipes, and enjoyed the results. While I enjoyed the book I do have one major gripe -- all too often the authors have a recipe that reads something along the lines of "makes 12 cakes, cooked one at a time." Get real -- how hard would it have been for the publisher to scale the recipes? This isn't a big concern for adults, possibly, as we can just prepare one in the Easy-Bake oven and the rest in the conventional one, but I think an Easy-Bake cookbook should have been Easy-Bake friendly. If you're looking for a from-scratch child's cookbook try the Mommy and Me cookbook.
on May 3, 2003
I had this idea about two years ago to buy an Easy-Bake oven and do some experiments with it to see what it was really capable of. I never did get around to doing those experiments, but I might wind up giving the oven to my nephew as soon as his mother thinks he's old enough to play with it. As it is, I acquired an Easy-Bake when I was in kindergarten or so, but never got to play with it -- in my mother's infinite wisdom, the cord was clipped because it was "too dangerous".
That wasn't very nice of her.
So, in celebration of the Easy-Bake's fortieth anniversary, someone else -- David Hoffman, TV writer and reporter, probably with Hasbro's prodding -- got around thirty chefs, including some very well-known ones like Rick Bayless and Bobby Flay (both of whom had Easy-Bakes as kids, even though it was a "girl's toy"), to come up with recipes using the oven. The recipes in it are serious cooks' food, from lobster pie to salsa to shortbread cookies; the best of them (the most impressive being an Easy-Bake-sized Linzertorte) get to be one of a select half-dozen recipe cards attached to the cover. And there's a very impressive history of the oven itself at the beginning, showing all the versions from the original through the extremely elaborate early 70s version (that even included a temperature control and timer) up to the modern white/purple/pink model.
I'm not too sure how seriously to take the book. The chefs involved obviously did it for pure hack value, and I would suggest taking it in the same spirit; many of the recipes are somewhat impractical done over a lightbulb, but they're still worth a shot just for fun. The kitsch value is high, but if nothing else it proves that the Easy-Bake is a toy worthy of both boys and girls.
on June 13, 2003
This is a delightful book - so original, fresh and over-all terrific. Author, David Hoffman has put together a great combination of a history book (of the easy-bake. . should have its own museum) and recipes from established chefs. This is the most fun book I've seen in a long, long time. I've already given it as gifts to many people - even the ones who don't go near an oven - easy bake or no! Also seeing Hoffman on CNN and "The Today Show" it's clear this guy is a pro.