Student Easy Bake Oven chef ‘pops’ to victory

By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Staff Writer
Ortonville — Since kindergarten, Melody Hampton has been trying to win the annual Easy Bake Oven competition, part of the Brandon Schools Community Education program.
This year she won with a tipped-over box of popcorn.
“I’ve just been doing it the last couple years, and just came up with the idea,” said Hampton, a fourth grade student at Harvey-Swanson elementary.
The district participates every year and the competition is open to students grades K-5. Participants compete in their individual school districts, then the top three from each district go on to compete at states. Teams consist of one student and one adult participant.
Hampton competed with her dad, and he said he let her do all the work and just intervened with the baking part, since the pans are hot. The first competition was at Harvey-Swanson in November, and there were 23 teams.
“The first one was an Easy Bake Oven,” said Hampton.
She got the idea for the first competition from her grandmother, Candy, who thought it would be cool if she made an Easy Bake Oven out of her cakes.
Easy Bake Ovens are a toy made by Hasbro that cooks batter with an incandescent light bulb, and has been in production since 1963. Everyone in the competition gets the same batter, so the competition is judged by presentation alone.
When they went on to states in December after winning at the school level, Melody came up with the idea of a popcorn box.
“I just knew I didn’t want to do a Christmas idea,” she said. “There were too many people that would do Christmas cakes.”
The trophy was won last year by Mason Ziskie at Oakwood Elementary, so it will stay in the district this year and be on display at Harvey-Swanson Elementary.

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