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The Easy way out

In four months, legislation will begin that will affect my daughter for the rest of her life.

Or, at least, the formative years of her life.

Well, at the very, very least, a few weeks of the formative years in her life.

To explain, I need to start at the beginning.

The year was 1963. It was a time of civil unrest, sexual freedom, drug experimentation and, most notably, the year the Easy-Bake Oven was invented.

Kenner Products ((now a division of Hasbro) had discovered a way to harness the power of light to bake a cupcake.

Other “Easy” products followed: the Easy-Bake Potato Chip Maker, the Easy Wash Dishwasher, the Easy Curl hair setting kit. But nothing stood the test of time like the light-bulb powered oven.

Forty-eight years and thousands of smiles, tiny cakes, childhood burns, lawsuits and one finger amputation later, the Easy-Bake Oven we have come to know, love and fear stands at a crossroads.

Starting this January, a federal law prohibiting the manufacturing of light bulbs that give off enough heat to bake a dessert will take affect.

Once the 100-watt incandescent light bulbs powering Easy-Bakes Ovens across the country flicker their last, replacement bulbs will not be available.

Now, how does this affect me? Well, until last week, it didn’t. That, however, was before my kid’s seventh birthday.

“Can I buy her an Easy-Bake Oven for her birthday?” asked Grandma.

“Sure,” I said, not knowing that I was diving headfirst into a political debate that has nearly torn apart the country -- freedom of lighting choice.

Seems like our timing was impeccable. Not only do I tend to fall in love with television shows the last season they are on air, but I have become the owner of the iconic Easy-Bake Oven four months before the light bulbs it uses will be banned from production.

I am told it is for a greener society. I think I prefer one with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

Hasbro recently came out with an updated Easy-Bake Oven with a new controversy-free heat source. (I think I heard something about small nuclear reactors under the pink and lavender casings, but I might be wrong.) This still doesn’t help me and the few million other chumps sitting at home with the older models that will be deemed obsolete come January.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) sought to toss out the light bulb ban, proposing his own "Better Use of Light Bulbs” Act, or BULB Act. It failed.

Here’s where I come in. I’m not looking to repeal the whole law. I propose an Easy-Bake light bulb exemption, like a doctor’s prescription or something, similar to what they give so people can legally smoke dope.

I would call it the, “Better Allowed Kids to Easy-Bake” or the BAKE exemption. Easy-bake owners would be given special documentation (with a raised seal of course) that would allow them to go to a clean, safe store and buy energy-sucking, tiny-yellow-cake baking light bulbs free of persecution, discrimination or slow cashiers.

The fact is, Easy-Bakers WILL get their light bulbs. If we don’t keep it legal, we are opening up the doors to the very ugliest of societal ills -- hording, black market sales, light bulb cartels, kidney stealing, Bratz dolls, teenagers who think they are vampires and worse.

Contact you local representatives and tell them you want to keep Easy-Baking safe and legal.

Your daughters will thank you.

-- Martha

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