Growing up the youngest of five children, Todd Coopee did not have his own Easy-Bake Oven. But his older sisters did. And recalling the childhood memories they all made playing with it together inspired him to take a nostalgic look at a toy coveted by millions of children. The result is his new book, Light Bulb Baking: A History of the Easy-Bake Oven. Coopee takes readers on a delightful journey through 50 years of toy history that became a virtual reflection of America's rapidly evolving domestic culture.
The book examines the simple incandescent light bulb baking technology that functioned inside the Easy-Bake Oven, recent modifications that replaced it with a heating element, and the evolving outer appearance. Colors and design have been updated numerous times over the years to mirror current popular kitchen stove and oven styles of the day.
Coopee dedicates a fascinating chapter to the story of Kenner Toys, a toy industry giant based in Cincinnati, Ohio for decades. Kenner created the Easy-Bake Oven, and countless other iconic toys played with by children from the 1950's through the 1990's.
Illustrating how ingrained the toy is in popular culture, Coopee cites multiple cameo appearances in numerous television programs, details a longtime co-branded partnership with Betty Crocker, and the popularity of Bake-Off contests using the Easy-Bake Oven.
He also goes into a detailed examination of the marketing strategy used to promote the toy over the years including examples of the deliberate mix of print and television advertising, sweepstakes, rebate programs and product showcases. Together, these tactics proved to be a winning formula to ensure the product's enduring popularity.
The book includes a collection of award-winning recipes that can be created using the Easy-Bake Oven.
In the millions of toys that come and go, there are few that hold the prestigious honor of having an enduring, positive impact on the life of a child. The Easy-Bake Oven has influenced a multitude of aspiring chefs. It provides an experience that inspires both boys and girls with a love of cooking and sparks a sense of curiosity about how food is prepared. It bridges the gap between pretend and reality in a way that empowers children to discover that they are capable of doing big things that seem very grown up. It is most deserving of attention and recognition for this valuable, approachable quality. Coopee does an enchanting job of capturing that in this book!
Light Bulb Baking: A History of the Easy-Bake® Oven
ISBN: 9780991748419 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780991748402 (hardcover)
Size: 8.5 x 8.5
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