April 19, 2012

3 Finally Explained: Living With an Aga

 I've made many a mention of our Aga on this blog, but I've never fully explained it-
partly because it's so difficult to explain, unless it's there for a demo.
I'll try, though.

An Aga is a type of cooker (read: stove/oven unit) that maintains a constant, level heat.
The Aga also acts as a heat source for the room around it, a drying spot for damp laundry, and gives us a huge utility bill.
When we moved into our first house, an old farmhouse, I pitched near-daily fits at the Aga.  Cooking with it was a chore, at best.  Since I was stuck with it (and we had no alternative cooking source), I ordered some books online and found the Aga store in Harrogate.  After a lot of trial-and-error and a consistent use of my oven thermometer, I fell in love with it. 
It's really nice to be able to pop leftovers in to heat up quickly, especially since microwaves gross me out. We used a toaster oven in the States, but, since our Aga's on anyway, it would be a waste to use an additional appliance. There's no pre-heat time, and no stressing over forgetting dishes- somehow, even left in the oven for 3 days (yep, this is true), egg rolls only disintegrated into dust rather than being a fire hazard.  I've not destroyed any pots or pans on it, either- although that could just be me having grown up since university!

The ovens (2-4, depending on your model) are at consistent temperatures, but further control of each oven's temperature can be made by inserting baking sheets.  I didn't take a picture of the inside of the oven for this post, but you can see the little rack-ledges on the sides in this picture from my oven s'mores post.  Aga makes baking sheets (and roasting pans, and other useful items) that perfectly fit the oven and slide in and out on these rungs.
On a four-oven Aga, which we have now,
the top right oven is the roasting oven- about 425º F;
the bottom right is the baking oven- about 300º F;
the bottom left is simmering oven- about 200º F;
the top left is the warming oven, which I can touch the sides of without instantly screaming expletives.

 The top plates are a boiling plate on the left and a simmering plate on the right.
By using a Bake-o-Glide, a silicon-like sheet, toast, grilled cheese, eggs, etc. can be made directly on the simmering plate.

Yeah, we've got dog beds all over the house, and yet they are usually on the furniture...
 Our new house (that we moved to last July), is a barn conversion, and has the Aga in the living room- a little strange, except the constant heat being in the main room is more economical and cozy!  Sloan is usually near it, which is why I put "her" chair in that corner.  Mia is often on the bed on the floor.

For good measure, this is our old house's Aga, a 2-oven in the kitchen. 
Forgive the mess, this was during the packing phase of moving. 

I'll definitely miss having an Aga when we return Stateside, although not having a £200/month utility bill will help ease the sorrow!  
We've even joked that we're going to have to relearn how to use a regular oven/stove- 
and I'm not sure either of us is actually joking!

3 comments:

  1. So when I came to your house for book club & saw your Aga I had NO idea what it was... I thought it was not in use & had not been moved out because it was ginormous... I nearly died when you pulled dinner out of it. I am so impressed you can cook on it and after reading this post I am less terrified to try if I am ever in a position to cook on one :)

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  2. I LOVE it! Now I totally want one.

    And your houses are too cute. How convenient to have the Aga in the living room :)

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