The Light Bulb Conundrum of the Easy Bake Oven

6 years ago

My reminder popped up: Lunch with Kelli. Buy light bulb.

Maybe I should back up.

The night before, I'd tried to sneak out to a consignment sale for kid's stuff. My husband had been traveling all week for work, and I thought maybe I'd do a few errands alone. What is it about doing errands alone after doing them with a child attached (or not) to your side, wanting to know when you'll be done, when you'll make dinner, whether we can just skip that whole making-dinner thing and go out to eat, etc. etc. until you start taking yourself to a happy place and forget the milk? Anyway, I digress. I *thought* I'd do the errands alone, until my husband asked where I was going and I mentioned the grocery store and the cleaners and maybe a consignment sale. My daughter's eyes shone. She knows the two places in the world in which Mommy's wallet is pretty sure to open are consignment sales and school book fairs. I was hosed.

My husband wisely stayed in the car. The sale was enormous. Over 100 strollers. Every exersaucer known to man. Racks of clothes, arranged by size. And, gah, toys. I scanned the toys while looking at size 8 jeans, and I saw it: The Easy Bake Oven. My daughter's been asking for an Easy Bake Oven forever, but they're like $50 or some such craziness, and she wants so many other things that I always poo-poo it. Also: See my hatred of messes. I hoped against hope she wouldn't notice it.

Of course she noticed it.

And this being a well organized consignment sale, I knew it worked. And it had all the pieces. And it was FIVE DOLLARS. And so of course I bought it, of course I did! All it needed was a new light bulb!

I had lunch with Kelli. I told her about the consignment sale. And then I went to Lowe's for a 100-watt incandescent light bulb.

You see this coming? I did not. Neither did the guy working the light bulb aisle at Lowe's.

Me: Are you sold out?

Him: I, uh, I have no idea. There are 100-watt LED bulbs.

Me: But isn't LED not as hot? The whole point is that the bulb gets hot. It melts the chocolate chips and it bakes the cookies. A frickin' light bulb bakes cookies! That is a fire-hazard-cum-miracle-of-science! It has to be incandescent. Maybe I'll call Walmart.

Him: NO DON'T DO THAT! I'll try calling Easy Bake. Maybe there's a substitute.

But he took too long. So I thanked him and headed over to Target.

At Target, I found 100-watt bug lights. But will a bug light get hot enough? Will a bug light bake cookies?

My husband called. I explained that I am the world's greatest mother because look how far I will go for Easy Bake goodness. Then I had to get on the editorial meeting call, which prevented me from accessing data while on the phone.

I drove to Walmart. I faced the wall of lighting. I started to realize that stores don't sell 100-watt incandescent light bulbs anymore.

I reported this to the editorial team. "WHAT?" said Stacy. "I can get 200-watt light bulbs in Brooklyn! Is New York so in-your-face that we just ignore government guidelines now?"

We decided there must be some sort of light bulb grandfather clause that makes light bulbs like certain drugs: illegal to make but not own, or perhaps the opposite of drugs, in that you can't make them but you can sell them, and apparently there is some crazy light bulb racket going on in Brooklyn that does not exist in Kansas City. Alas, none of this helped me or my daughter, whom I'd promised could Easy Bake her guts out when she got off the bus at 4:30. And it was 2 pm.

I started to sweat, I'll admit. I mean, I could've just told her to deal with it, but I did that the night before, and we all know how much fun it is to set a kid's expectations and then smash them to itsy-bitsy pieces, especially after a long day of school spent dreaming of little yellow plastic sticks that you use to shove a cookie tin into its light-bulb-lit cookspace. Finally, I got off the call and onto the Easy Bake website.

It said:

You must use a regular frosted or standard 100-watt light bulb with the Easy Bake Oven. A GE Reveal 100 watt bulb can also be used. This unit will not work if a higher wattage or long life or soft white bulb is used.

Light Bulbs (sic) can be found at department stores, hardware stores and grocery stores.

(Thank you, Hasbro, for explaining where to buy light bulbs in another country that has not outlawed 100-watt incandescent bulbs.)

A GE Reveal 100-watt bulb is not cheap. Nor can I figure out how the heck it is different than a 100-watt incandescent light bulb, other than it meets federal light bulb regulations and is made of unicorn horns. Apparently, though, it is hot enough to bake a cookie. I bought one after reading post after post of people on their blogs and on Google taking the name of any light bulb god they could find in vain over the light bulb conundrum of the Easy Bake oven. I am not the first person to discover this problem, but I'm here on BlogHer to set the record straight so that no other person ever need suffer as needlessly as I did.

I arrived home. I installed the light bulb. My daughter walked in the door at 4:30. "DID YOU GET THE LIGHT BULB?" she asked.

And I smiled broadly. "Of course I did!"

Rita Arens authors Surrender, Dorothy and is the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep is for the Weak. She is the senior editor for

More from living

by Colleen Stinchcombe | 11 hours ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 2 days ago
by Kylie Sophia Fitch | 3 days ago
by Julia Yorks | 3 days ago
by Kristen Fischer | 5 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 6 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 6 days ago
by Julie Sprankles | 7 days ago
by Fairygodboss | 8 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | 10 days ago
by SheKnows Editors | 13 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 14 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 16 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 17 days ago
by Ashley Papa | 17 days ago
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 18 days ago