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Agas. Do I need one?

(35 Posts)
Ladyflip Wed 19-Sep-12 14:29:52

Ladies, I need your opinions. We are building an extension and DH and I are arguing about an AGA. He wants one and I don't. In many ways, our house would be perfect for it; we live in the country, he's a farmer, and we have a very old cottage. MIL has a Rayburn, but also has a freestanding cooker for those occasions when the Rayburn is not enough. My preference would be for a dual eyelevel electric oven with a separate gas hob (which will have to be LPG as we have no gas here). DH still swears we should have the Aga.
As I do all most of the cooking, I will get the final say grin! But, am I missing a trick here? Should I have the Aga? Please tell me your experiences...

PigletJohn Wed 19-Sep-12 15:20:14

nobody needs one.

Some people want one.

It is a little-known fact that many aga-owners have a microwave, and a concealed gas or electric cooker that they use when nobody's watching.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 19-Sep-12 15:22:04

Given the cost of energy these days they are an expensive luxury but unfortunately if he's a farmer you have to have one, it's the law. Sorry grin
You will also need to make a rag rug to go in front of it, whether or not you enjoy crafts or even like rag rugs.

cq Wed 19-Sep-12 15:25:49

They have so many more uses than simply cooking on. Make toast, iron the clothes, warm your bum/feet/hands, warm the kitchen, air the laundry, dry a thick rugby shirt overnight when it can't be tumble dried. And if you rig up a clothes pulley thing above it, will dry all your clothes all winter for no extra charge.

They also all come with a free labrador and a pile of cats sleeping in front/on top of respectively. wink

Ladyflip Wed 19-Sep-12 16:09:13

Already have the labrador and cat. I totally take the point about the drying the clothes but was sort of hoping my tumble dryer (which is currently stored in a farm shed) might make a reappearance in my life grin
Piglet That is my argument; I will need a spearate oven and hob anyway so the Aga is pretty much an expensive heater....
I'm going to get flamed for that opinion aren't I?
Rag rugs? Now I REALLY don't want an Aga if they are compulsory wink

Twonker Wed 19-Sep-12 17:47:33

Which fuel would you be going to use?

Oil fired ones give you a lot more control over oven temp than coke.

Slow cooking is delicious!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 19-Sep-12 19:14:00

thing is, if he really really wants one, I can understand that, and that's fine if you can afford the extra fuel bills, but given that you're the one who will be using it I don't think you should let him get it unless you also get your tumbledrier back and the proper cooker as well.
I really like Aga cooking but there are one or two things they're not good for and it is just ridiculous if you have to have them on all summer.

ILikeToMowIt Wed 19-Sep-12 19:32:39

We inherited one in our new house, and i must say that throughout the "summer" we have had this year it has been really nice knowing that downstairs the kitchen is warm and cosy, when we wake up in the morning ...
We have also become stars at slow-cooking and chutney/jam making, latest experiment being crab apple chutney.

That aside, i was aga -sceptic and possibly -phobic at the start (having never owned one in the past), but absolutely love it now. In that sense they are a bit like marmite, i guess... We do have a microwave, but no separate cooker and i find that we manage fine. Although we do have a beast of a bbq, and i get to send dh out in all weathers to bbq our chicken/burgers/etc.

I don't know about the rag rugs.. We don't have one... yet grin

Perhaps if your dh really wants one, and you don't, he should be the one cooking on/in it??

Catsmamma Wed 19-Sep-12 19:41:54

I'd ask how you cook?

If you like to get a meal on the table pronto, not too fussed about home cooked meals over tesco finest then I'd def say no.

It is a totally different way of cooking in that most of it goes on inside the ovens, you ideally need pans which you can use on the hob or in the oven, slow cooking is your aim really. I'd say you need to know what you are doing and be prepared to learn to live with your range, although I may not be hugely up to date and the new ones may all be totally reliable, our elderly Stanley range is a real character....you have to learn that if you are baking some days the top shelf is best, another day you may need to use the oven floor.

Mine has a (fairly reliable but not foolproof) thermostat in the oven door, marked COOL, HOT, VERY HOT..if you like to think supper will be in the oven for 25 minutes at 190C then think again, the range will drive you crazy! :D

nowwearefour Wed 19-Sep-12 19:43:33

the only reason you need a sep overn and hob is if you plan to turn it off. if you have a large kitchen and wouldnt roast in the summer you wont need another cooker...

angelinterceptor Wed 19-Sep-12 19:49:54

ooh we had an AGA in our last rented house - sure it was expensive, but it was soo cosy in the mornings and actually I loved coming in from school/work and the oven was ready heated, so I found it fairly quick to make the children something quickly.

We did find it expensive to run, but totally worth it IMO

We found cooking on it easy enough, and we had no other method of cooking in the house.

Wheresthedamndog Wed 19-Sep-12 20:14:06

Ok I am probably going against the grain here but I am not a fan.
We have had one for 6 years, oil). DH also a farmer; so also have the sort of house for it.

Yes it is lovely and warm in the winter. Yes you can do slow cooking, warm up clothes etc on it. And friends say 'oooh' when they come over.

but....it is for slow cooking, not a fast family meal; it costs a bloody fortune to run; and ours needs servicing every 6 months at least or it gets clogged up.

I think my dh had quite a romantic view of it, having grown up with one on the farm. But his mum was a full time farmer's wife: she was able to put stuff in the oven three hours ahead. I work full time and have about 17 minutes between getting home and the kids going into meltdown. You can backup with microwaves etc, for sure, but it's not the ideal thing when both of you work full time - for me, at least.

fivegomadindorset Wed 19-Sep-12 20:16:48

Try a Stanley, does the heating as well as cooking, we sold our AGA, was an expensive radiator.

Viviennemary Wed 19-Sep-12 20:24:57

Nobody needs an Aga. Lot's of people want them. I'd like one even if it was just for decoration. They look lovely. But don't think I could be bothered with the faff of actually cooking on it.

fitflopqueen Wed 19-Sep-12 20:27:19

another Stanley fan (oil fired, lots more heat control for cooking) ours does everything ie heating and water, I do have an old microwave but that is only used 1-2 times week usually milk for drinks.

eightytwenty Wed 19-Sep-12 20:32:00

I love mine. Am a city girl through and through and had never owned one before, but we put a reconditioned one in 5 years ago to heat our large Victorian kitchen. And boy it does, as well as our bedroom above. It means I can work from home through the winter without the heating on. I am totally used to cooking in it and v rarely use micro-oven. Don't agree with the slow cooking only crew at all. Annual service is only maintenance to date. Would not be without.

BiggerAndBadder Wed 19-Sep-12 20:34:24

we have one
it is expensive to run
we turned it off for 2 months over summer for first time ever to try and save money.
it was cold (you know our summer this year!) and we couldnt dry anything (have a maiden over it)
we did save money, and cooked in a combi microwave.
when we turned it on around 3 weeks ago - it is heaven!!!
we have aga and a wood burning stove downstairs and turn off radiators downstairs in winter- so some saving on heating there, but YES it is an expensive luxury - but very very nice!!!
NOT just for slow cooking - we dont have an additional cooker - the micro - but fast top stuff great

BiggerAndBadder Wed 19-Sep-12 20:36:07

just think that top oven - very top is like gas 9 bottom of it is like gas 6 - 7
bottom oven - top of it like gas 5 - 6 and bottom of it like gas 3 ish
it really isnt hard and its fun!

Twonker Wed 19-Sep-12 20:43:38

Also there's everhot as a compromise? link

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Wed 19-Sep-12 21:00:34

If you have an Aga shop near you, they run a demonstration class for new Aga owners, and people like yourself who are potential victims trying to decide. It's called 'a day in the life of an Aga' I think.
They demonstrate a typical day, starting with breakfast, going through lunch and dinner with soup, cake and pudding, and you get to sit down and sample all the food for lunch.

I love mine, but I do sometimes think the extra storage and worktop space might be more useful in my kitchen. We have a microwave and used a Remotchka for the warm week of the summer this year.

We often don't switch it off in the summer, as this inevitably heralds a cold snap, plus I find the house a bit sad and dank-feeling when it's off.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 19-Sep-12 21:05:07

I've currently got a gas AGA and no other means of cooking.

Cons:

- eye wateringly expensive to run
- not that great for cooking in my opinion - fine for slow cooking but just not controllable enough - hard to do a stir fry etc

Pros:
- yes nice and cosy

When we renovate our kitchen the aga will go and I will replace with a nice falcon range or something of that ilk so I can have a fully controllable cooker.

If you eat a lot of stews then yes its great but if not - well I think there are better cookers out there and this comes from someone who always wanted an aga.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Wed 19-Sep-12 21:10:21

One thing: I disagree that you can't cook a quick meal. Don't know about anyone else but I think of a stir-fry/pasta with pesto/fishy breadcumb thing with chips/burger and salad.
Bearing in mind the extremely high temp of the hottest oven and the the hotplate, you can make most of these as quickly as in a conventional oven (stir fries not quite so fast as you don't get quite the same blast of heat as from a gas hob - hey ho).

Ladyflip Wed 19-Sep-12 21:17:46

Thank you all for your replies. Shotgun, your idea about doing a trial run at the Aga shop is a good idea. The Aga would be oil fired. A neighbour has an electric one but I believe they are ridiculously expensive.
I do cook from scratch, (no ready meals dare cross our threshold!) but like wheresthedamndog I also work off farm so have to either chuck stuff in a slow cooker in a morning or throw a meal together in an evening. And I already have a slow cooker for doing the slow cooking in which cost £30 and not several thousand quid
Another neighbour with an oil fired Aga has been moaning that there has been a change in the oil and this clogs ths Aga up meaning it need more servicing. Has anyone any experience of this?

RosinaCopper Wed 19-Sep-12 21:31:44

We inherited an AGA with our house and I'm not a fan. It looks lovely and any roast meats I do in the oven are moist and taste good, but other than that it's not great. Cakes are a bit hit and miss and I don't like that you can't control the temperature. We also have 2 gas rings and a combi microwave, oven, grill thing.

My DH was appalled at the running costs, given that during the week it was used for about an hour maximum for cooking, so we converted ours so that it could be switched off overnight. But it takes about 4 hours to warm up again the next day!

We almost swapped it for a Sandyford - looks and cooks like an AGA, but is meant to be turned off and on, you can control the heat and it is up to temperature in 20mins I think. But in the end it was more cost effective to convert the one we had. I'd definitely look at a Sandyford if I was starting from scratch - you can always leave it on for longer if you want the AGA style bills!!

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 19-Sep-12 21:36:35

An oil aga needs servicing every 6 months as standard, my gas one is annual.

They are just so expensive though . . .

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