Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Haute Cuisine

I have found the secret to getting to tired girls home quickly after school, their backpacks unloaded, and their grimy hands washed -- all in record time.

What is the secret I discovered? A baking session with Mom and the Easy-Bake oven.

All I had to say to the girls was, "Let's go home and pull out the Easy-Bake oven." I swear, Graceful and Elegant broke world sprint records getting down the street and up the driveway. I've never had the post-school unpacking session go so quickly or easily. All because they wanted to mix up a couple of mediocre cake mixes.

What is the allure of Easy-Bake ovens? Why do they thrill the hearts of girls aged 5 to 105? Why do children lust after them and women remember them with fondness 30 years later?

I'm mostly a cooking purist. Cakes do not come from boxes in our house; they're made from scratch with recipes handed down from the generation before. Yet I was thrilled when a friend gave Graceful and Elegant their very own Easy-Bake oven last fall. Pete was bemused; he knows I'm a cooking snob. Besides which, I'm teaching the girls to cook for real in a real kitchen with real ingredients, so why even go the Baking Lite route?

But there's something just so magical about cooking with a 40 watt light bulb.

My girls agree; they were utterly absorbed in their work as we read through the instructions yesterday and they then carefully stirred two teaspoons of water into their respective bowls of cake mix. It was if I was teaching them the secrets of the universe.

And that magic extends to other areas. For example, never have two sisters been so polite and shared so well as my two girls when it came time to determine who got to bake her cake first. They each watched the clock carefully and patiently. The patience continued while the cakes cooled. Then they frosted their cakes at the same time and ate them at the same time. Yes, it was all very fair.

And those little cakes. Those wee little cakes. Those tiny wee little cakes. On the package, they look huge. Ginormous. Enough to feed several hungry people. In reality, they are teeny: a diameter of three inches and a thickness of perhaps a half inch. That's it. But those little cakes were thoroughly enjoyed and the girls were just thrilled. Afterward, they ran outside to play together. And peace reigned...

... for about 15 minutes, when the girls started fratching again. But the peace was nice while it lasted.

Thanks Easy-Bake oven!

1 comment:

Sarabeth said...

My daughters love it, too. We didn't get to it tonight, so I promised them we'd bake tomorrow.