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Do you have Aga experience?

(37 Posts)
Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 13:26:50

I want an Aga. My main cncern is the lack of rings and the slow nature of the hot plates BUT I hear people enthuse about their Agas and owners always say they'd never look back, it's a way of life.

So how green are they? Does the food really taste better and if so why?

charliecat Sat 01-Sep-07 13:29:11

I cleaned one the other week. YUCK.

charliecat Sat 01-Sep-07 13:29:36

Looks nice tho, and she enthuses about it

dustystar Sat 01-Sep-07 13:30:10

I don't know about green exactly since they are on all the time but my Mum has one and I love it. You have two hot plates - one is very hot and heats as quickly as rings on a conventional hob. The other is a simmering plate. My mums version has two ovens - one is about gas mark 8 and the other about 3. It takes a while to get the hang of them but once you have they're great. The only thing missing for me is grill.

WideWebWitch Sat 01-Sep-07 13:33:09

I HATE THEM. Will find my rant. I would never have one again.

WideWebWitch Sat 01-Sep-07 13:36:15

Pasted from an old thread as it's got all squished up:

"Hi again Gem. IKWYM about Agas being like a religion, they really seem to provoke strong opinions in people. To prove the point, here is my personal rant - warning, it's long! OK, the disadvantages so far, for me, in no particular order:

* We have a 2 oven, 2 hob one. I dislike the fact that if I want to use the top I have to either use the left hot plate, which boils things very quickly indeed or use the right simmer plate which is like a gas hob turned to its lowest setting or something and just about keeps things warm. So there's no in between it appears, just a very hot hob or a not-at-all-hot hob. Give me 6 gas rings which I can use simultaneously and at variable temps anyday.

* The top of ours gets dusty and since it's on all the time, it's a PITA to clean. Imagine putting a damp cloth over the top of a still hot oven and you get the idea. I suppose you could turn it off, but what a pain and who wants to?

* Which brings me to turning it off. It's summer now and we don't have another hob (although I do have a microwave which is also a combi oven so I could use that I suppose as a replacement oven) so if I turn the Aga off I won't have a hob. Since I can't imagine managing without one (pasta, boiled eggs etc) I can't turn the darn thing off and our kitchen is therefore too warm atm.

* The ovens. Hmm, well I suppose the top one has been OK for roast chicken, potatoes, roast veg etc but I haven't managed to get the hang of it for cooking something like a cake. The top of the top oven is blistering hot so fine for warming focaccia, doing a pizza etc but I haven't yet worked out cakes etc, partly due, I admit, to my own impatience. You have to get something called a cold shelf and put that in the oven above the shelf you are using to lower the temp for things like cakes. I did once and obviously misjudged it since it wasn't cooked in the middle. Now, you could say that's my fault, not the Aga's but I've never f*ed up a cake in a conventional oven in my life before and I'd rather turn a dial and trust that the oven is going to go to the temperature I want than have to mess around with cold shelves and working out temperatures. Maybe that's just me being impatient and lazy though. Probably!

* I've never used the bottom oven since it seems to be for things like slow cooked stews and I don't really cook them. Therefore I'd rather have the space for more 'proper' (i.e. non Aga) oven really. Actually, I'd rather forget the Aga and have a double oven each with its own temp control, now that would be useful.

As you'll have gathered I hate it, hate it, hate it and would never spend my own money on one (we're renting). If I ever go to buy a house with one in the future, I'll be haggling for them to take it with them and reduce the asking price by £6k or whatever the damn things are worth. Give me a brand new gas hob and double oven any day. OK, there are a few advantages but I think you could get most of these some other way:

* Yes, it's always on but who wants their oven always on? Big deal, you want a pizza, turn your oven on 10 minutes before you want to cook it. Or get an oven that warms up quickly.

* Yes, the overhead drier is useful and dries things quickly but so does a tumble drier or a line. £6k is a lot for an airer!

* Yes, the kitchen is warm but it is now too, in the height of summer, unless I turn it off as above. A radiator would achieve the same effect and be easier to dispense with in summer.

* Ours is gas and there's nothing else running off it. Since the rest of the house isn't heated, I can tell you that the Aga alone (i.e. without radiators ) does NOT keep the house warm. The room it's in, yes, but the rest of the house, no. Never again will I move into somewhere without central heating. I wouldn't worry about the 12 month old and baby as a downside though, they'll work out it's hot and realise not to touch it I should think so I wouldn't let that count against an Aga. After all, an oven is hot when it's on too. So I agree with your DH, they're expensive, hot in summer, useless for cooking and crap to clean. I can think of a million better ways to spend £6k and I enjoy cooking and would love a new oven.

Oooh, I've been wanting to get that off my chest for ages now, in fact when I said "I hate this f**** Aga" the other day dp replied sarcastically, "do you really? Tell me more..." and I started to until I realised he was taking the p*. Apologies for all the terrible language but thanks for listening and DO let me know what you decide... HTH!

WideWebWitch Sat 01-Sep-07 13:36:48

Sorry, doesn't really answer your q but gives what I thought of one!

dustystar Sat 01-Sep-07 13:38:55

So you're not keen thengrin

WideWebWitch Sat 01-Sep-07 13:43:16

lol, no

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 13:51:35

Hmm WWW. These are some of my worst fears.
But can't you sort of hook them up to radiators all over the house and get them to heat your water too?

I'm wondering if that would mean I could dispense with my boiler which will probably blow up quite soon anyway as it's so old. Given that I'll have to spend thousands replacing that ...

Now I want someone to enthuse because at the moment I have the downside and very well put so am struggling to justify my yearning for an aga.

Slubberdegullion Sat 01-Sep-07 13:52:27

I love Agas's. An Aga is toppity top of my wish list if we win the lottery. The house we rented for nearly 2 years had one and I have to say I shed a little tiny tear when we had to leave.

They have a technique all to themselves (and as WWW has said) you either love or hate that. The lady who rented the house after us felt exactly the same way as WWW).

Basically you cook with time (and height in the ovens). tbh I had no idea what temp the ovens were. The top one is mega hot (perfect for chips, bacon etc) and the simmering oven is just a wonderful slow cooker.

The art of Aga cooking is to use the top plates as little as possible (they let the heat out). Once you're used to heating things up on the top and then putting them in the ovens (and putting the timers on...this is essential as you can't smell if things are burning). Makes the most fab, stews, curries, rice puddings .....

<ghaaaa drifts off into wonderful world of Aga rice pudding).

I think the slow cooked stuff does taste better. And the quick roast/frying stuff exactly the same as on a normal cooker.

As to how green they are, well there's the rub (esp with DH), our gas bill now is roughly a third of what it was in the house with the Aga. They are expensive to run. And the burner running all the time can hardly be that eco friendly. We have friends who have a night storage one...I think that is a bit greener.

DH has said I can have one if:
a) we win the lottery (or he gets a humungus pay rise)
b) we have solar panels (electricity generating ones) and/or a wind turbine to off set the carbon footprint of the Aga

I may be waiting for some time <sigh>.

I think they are beautiful, an asset to any kitchen (esp in the winter), you can dry all your clothes on them (no need for tumble dryer), and a lot of stuff if you fold it properly and place on the top doesn't need ironing.

All praise to the Aga grin

WideWebWitch Sat 01-Sep-07 13:54:30

There you go, another view!
Slberr, wasn't in Devon was it?

Hurlyburly Sat 01-Sep-07 13:57:51

I did once have sex with someone whose mother had an aga. She was an "honourable" who was a member of the Tory party for social convenience [disbelief emoticon]

Does that count as aga experience? Or do you have to have experienced the aga directly as it were. If so, wouldn't it get a bit hot?

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 13:58:07

Slubber there are quite a few on ebay which people (like WWW perhaps {wink}) are getting rid of and you can pick them up for a fraction of the price. There are also dismantlers and installers on ebay.

That's what I've been pouring over all morning. I red the Aga glossy catalogue in bed last night and it was like porn to me. grin The price though! shock

So I think second hand would be the answer. We have a nice big chimney breast it would snuggle into as well. MMmmmmmm.

I worry about your gas bill. The thought that they are always on has put me off a little which is why I was trying to work out if they'd heat the water and radiators too.

Slubberdegullion Sat 01-Sep-07 14:00:08

Nope just down the road from us in Cheshire. I have to walk past the house with its beautiful green Aga in almost every day. It calls to me I tell you.

Oh and btw I think Agas also have a secret (and very powerful) fertility effect.

dd1 took bloody months on end to conceive (with conventional electric oven in the house).

dd2 1 tiny little accidental shag up against it (the front bar gives you good leaverage) and there you go, metaphorical bun in my oven.

So my advice is Spidermama if you get one, make sure you have your contraception sorted out first grin

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 14:00:21

Hurly, was he healthy, well fed and well adjusted despite his mum's Ledbetter streak?

Hurlyburly Sat 01-Sep-07 14:03:18

He was well-fed to the point of corpulence but I wouldn't have called him healthy. He was in fact barking mad.

Slubberdegullion Sat 01-Sep-07 14:04:14

You can def. get the ones that do the lot (water and heating). And I imagine the newer ones are more efficient (better insulated). Lots of people go for 2nd hand ones. It has so few working parts that I doubt they break down very often. They advise you to turn off and service once a year.

We had an additional double gas burner in the kitchen (to use when the aga was off). never used it as we never turned it off (I couldn't bear to even in the height of summer).

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 14:08:57

Is it a major operation turning them off then slubber? How long do they take to get back on again?

I'm tempted by the ones which also have gas hobs. This would ease me into Aga cooking.

My main sticking point is going to be my dh and as he does at least half of the cooking I will have to take his views into account.

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 14:10:50

I wonder what this one will go for.

< Drool >

moljam Sat 01-Sep-07 14:12:27

i hate ours and it hates me back

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 14:14:08

I'll take it off your hands for a small fee Moljam. wink

Spidermama Sat 01-Sep-07 14:14:08

I'll take it off your hands for a small fee Moljam. wink

Slubberdegullion Sat 01-Sep-07 14:14:28

Nope turning it off is just opening the boiler door and turning the dial round to off. And then waiting a day for it too cool down.

Seriously you don't need extra burners, what is there is fine. The golden rule of Aga cooking is 20/80, so you actually only do 20% of your cooking on the hot plates, 80% in the ovens.

So for veg. Stick on hot plate, bring to boil, lid on into simmering oven for 10 mins = perfect veg. Same for rice. I hardly used the simmering plate at all (good for gravy though).

The hot plate is superb for stir frys or quickly browning meat. And your Aga kettle will boil water in half the time of an electric kettle.

Never got to grips with doing toast on the top burns v quickly!

Slubberdegullion Sat 01-Sep-07 14:16:11

Oh I'd have the warming plate on a 4 oven rather than the poncey burners. Waste of time.

<4 oven aga.........falls off chair with desire>

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