Sunday, December 11, 2011

Frustration ignites with the oven of melted dreams

Dear Hasbro:

All I wanted to do was make some cookies.

And you promised that it would be “easy,” as evidenced by the name on the box: Easy* Bake Oven. But please allow me to be the first to give you some feedback: there is nothing easy about it.

Lily has been begging me to make cookies with her in her Easy* Bake Oven but we had already used the two pre-packaged mixes that you included with the oven. I went on your website to see about ordering more mixes, but quickly decided I was unwilling to spend the whopping $6.59 you were charging for a 1-pound bag of chocolate chip cookie mix, something that I can make for less than a dollar at home. So I made the decision to use my own cookie dough and refuse to be extorted by you.

Frugal, yes. Easy*, no.

We made the mix with my world-famous recipe (okay, I might be making up the part about “world-famous,” but you’re not REALLY an oven so let’s not split hairs on this issue). The recipe makes three dozen chocolate chip cookies, so I made 30 and left the remaining dough for Lily to use in her two tin dishes for her Easy* Bake Oven.

Apparently the Easy* Bake Oven is programmed to decipher when an alien cookie dough is being used and has a self destruct mode built it. When the first tin dish was inserted into the oven and the 100-watt bulb was turned on, the baking began (and I use the term “baking” loosely here). It was slow going at first…25 minutes in it was just starting to melt. (Meanwhile my 2-1/2 dozen “real” cookies were already done and cooling.)

But somewhere around minute 30 all heck broke loose and the dough started bubbling over. When Lily went in to extract the gooey mess, it had melted on all of the inner pieces, on top of the oven, and even smudged the light bulb on its way out the door.

Am I missing the easy part, here? Certainly I’m not the only letter you’ve received like this. And yes, there will be another letter headed your way asking why in the name of all things chocolate do we need to spend $7.48 for a replacement bulb? Didn’t the entire oven cost just over that? Methinks I smell a rat (over the existing smell of burnt chocolate already wafting through our kitchen, even overpowering my 2-1/2 dozen “real” cookies.)

If I offend you by referring to my own cookies as “real” and not yours, then I at least have done one thing right with this letter.

So here’s what’s going to happen. Now that Lily’s cherished Easy* Bake Oven lies in the bottom of the Douglas County Dump and her tears are dried, you’re going to make things right.

You might think I want a full refund, but that would only be scratching the surface.

I want you to come clean on the fact that you are simply a stupid ploy to get parents to buy something that THEY ALREADY HAVE IN THEIR KITCHEN. Just because you’re smaller doesn’t make you any better, in fact your 100-watt bulb pales in comparison to my 450-degree oven of white-hot heat. Oh sure, it might be safer for our girls to cook with a 100-watt bulb, but I’m not seeing how sticking their tiny fingers into the inner workings of a 100-watt box of heat is any better. Not to overdramatize here, but what started out as a birthday gift has now turned into a house of melting dreams.

Henceforth, I want your product to be called “The Not-So-Easy* Bake Oven of Dashed Hopes” (trademarked in my name, of course). And on the front of the box, I want it to read: “You must purchase our mixes exclusively for this product to work correctly. And it will pretty much drain your child’s college fund to do so. Enjoy!”

*Be forewarned – not even close to easy.

Eileen Burmeister lives, works and bakes her own cookies in Roseburg. She can be reached at

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