The Old School Children's Cooking Product That Inspired A Netflix Series

On the new Netflix show "Easy-Bake Battle," contestants, who include home cooks, prepare simple meals, all in an effort to see which competitor can wipe out the competition when it comes to preparing and cooking the easiest and tastiest recipes (via IMDb). At stake is a prize of $100,000. Cooks are guided by host Anonti Porowski of "Queer Eye" and challenged by a group of guest judges including chef Kristen Kish. The point of the show, as Porowski states in the show's trailer, is to show that "good food doesn't have to be complicated or fancy."

/Film calls the show "essential viewing," citing highlights from the first episode in which the competitors are "tasked with making a late-night snack that is crunchy, cheesy, and saucy, and do it quickly." The contestants use downright genius hacks including microwaving a potato and — get this — cooking pasta in the oven. They then create a meal using just canned and frozen food, a competition which resulted in Kish's first time eating canned mushrooms.  

And, as you might be able to tell from the title, one of the show's biggest challenges is how the contestants must cook their food, which is in a giant appliance inspired by a classic toy.

Remember the Easy-Bake Oven?

Conjuring up some childhood nostalgia, you may remember the Easy-Bake Oven as quite the toy. The original was released just in time for the Christmas holiday in 1963, was sold for $15.95, and was heated by two 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. The hit toy came with mixes, baking tools, and a cookbook to allow kids to bake up whatever masterpieces they might think up (via Light Bulb Baking). Fans can still buy early versions of the toy on Ebay. Today, the $44.97 (as priced on Walmart's website) remodeled Easy-Bake Oven is powered by electricity, and the mixes are sold separately, but the toy still sparks a twinkle of joy in children's eyes. 

While the oven on "Easy-Bake Battle" isn't an actual Easy-Bake Oven, it was influenced by the toy's ability to prepare food in a quick and easy fashion, a skill that's certainly required for contestants on the show.

Easy-Bake Battle was inspired by Porowski's childhood

Someone who is particularly nostalgic about the Easy-Bake Oven is Porowski himself, who told Pride he wasn't allowed to own the toy as a child, which triggered his idea for the show as its creator. When asked what he would have made had he owned an Easy-Bake Oven when he was a kid, Porowski said he was intrigued by commercials he saw while watching cartoons that featured the Easy-Bake Oven and mentioned its partnerships with fast food restaurants, where he was typically not allowed to eat. "It was mind-blowing. Just the thought that I could have something that was so indulgent and decadent," Porowski said. Therefore, Porowski wanted to incorporate both simple sweet and savory meal challenges into "Easy-Bake Battle" (via Newsweek).

In the comments of the show's trailer featured on YouTube, some users expressed excitement for the show, such as one user who wrote, "I SO can't wait for this show!" while others were disappointed the show wasn't using an actual Easy-Bake Oven, such as another user who shared, "... I assumed it was going to be a show where professional chefs made dishes using an Easy-Bake Oven."

"Easy-Bake Battle" is now streaming on Netflix.