Sunday, December 13, 2009

Michelle Obama's Easy Bake Oven, and Other Holiday Tidbits From Oprah

Will sales of the popular old-school toy oven soar because the First Lady and Oprah discuss it on TV?
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama give a guided tour of the holiday White House to talk show host Oprah Winfrey this evening, during
Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special. The lovely holiday decorations will be viewable, including many of the 27 Christmas trees that are all around the Executive Mansion. There'll also be some top-secret Christmas details revealed, such as the the fact that Mrs. Obama had an Easy Bake Oven as a girl, and Bo the First Dog has his very own stocking ("Santa loves Bo, too," Mrs. Obama says). Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses makes an appearance, of course, to describe some of the thousands of seasonal baked goods he's been making for the ongoing series of holiday parties at the White House.
Yosses has been freezing cookie dough for a few months, among other preparatory projects, to ensure that there's enough for fresh-baked cookies for each event. The 390-pound, white chocolate covered White House Gingerbread House will also be on display. (Above: The President, Mrs. Obama and Oprah in front of the Blue Room Christmas tree at the White House)

Oprah's production company has been releasing brief video clips of the show for the past few days, and there's a fun interview shot in the Green Room, which features dried cranberry trees among the holiday decorations (photo). The President and Mrs. Obama debate who gives better presents, and the President claims that he's the better gift giver, and points to the double strand of pearls Mrs. Obama is wearing as evidence. When Oprah asks about favorite childhood presents, the President notes that his 10-speed bike and a basketball from his father were his. The First Lady describes a metal doll house with plastic furniture, but adds that she had no idea what to do with the furniture, and lined it along the walls, rather than arranged it properly.

"But I loved that little doll house,” Mrs. Obama says.

Oprah tells the First Lady she thought her answer to the fave toy question would be an Easy Bake Oven.

“I asked this question to some of my friends and they all said Easy Bake Oven," Oprah says. "Did you have an Easy Bake Oven?”

“Oh, I did have an Easy Bake Oven,” Mrs. Obama replies. “But you know once you run out of the mix it’s like you’re done with it.”

"(LAUGHS) Yeah you're done with that - ," Oprah says.

“You couldn’t get more mix?” President Obama asks.

"It doesn't come with more mix, the Easy Bake Oven," Oprah says.

"But can you order more mix?" The President asks.

“Nowadays it’s easy,” Mrs. Obama says.

“Probably now you can go online and get more mix--” Oprah says.

"When we were little," Mrs. Obama says to the President, "You know what you got that was what you got."

"That's what you got," Oprah confirms.

"When it's over, it's over," Mrs. Obama said.

The Easy Bake Oven was a working electric toy oven that debuted in the US in 1963, originally as the E Z Bake Oven from Kenner toys. It cooked everything from cake to pizza with the power of a 100 watt light bulb, and also had its own special baking mixes. These were hard to get before the Hasbro toy company bought the oven design, and started mass producing all kinds of Easy Bake kitchen appliances and accessories, from popcorn poppers to potato chip makers. Mrs. Obama was born in 1964, and probably had an oven that looked like the one in the photo, above, which is from the 1970's. Later Easy Bake models became far more complicated, and they're still sold today...but now they look like microwave ovens. The "vintage" models from the '60s, '70s and '80s are now much sought after by toy collectors. Will sales rise because of Mrs. Obama and Oprah's discussion? It's super easy to get Easy Bake mixes these days...

By the time the holidays end at the White House, there will have been 17 different parties and 11 open houses, with some 50,000 visitors expected. This coming week, there will be parties on Monday (for print media journalists), Tuesday (for television journalists) and Wednesday (for Hanukkah), before the President heads to Copenhagen for the climate conference. And it's not as if the Obamas throw open the White House and then vanish up to the private residence; for many parties, there is a formal receiving line, and photo ops with guests, as well as mingling at select shindigs--such as the party for Congress, last week. All White House social events now have very tight security, thanks to the State dinner crashers, with multiple checkpoints and Social Staff as well as Secret Service members present to confirm invited guests. No crashers have yet been reported. During tonight's TV special, Oprah also sits down for a one-on-one interview with the President, her first solo go with him since the inauguration. It airs at 10/9 central time on ABC.

*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House. Green Room photo by Obama Foodorama. Easy Bake oven from Squidoo.