8 Reasons to buy a New Generation AGA

Temple Street Pistachio 3 door electric aga

An AGA is very different to conventional oven, so I’ve put together a list which highlights its benefits and hopefully helps clarify some of the differences. It relates specifically to the new generation, electric Total Control AGA (pictured above), which is the model I have here in London, and which is perfect for city living.

If you have any more questions, would be interested in coming to play about on my AGA or have a bespoke demonstration, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch: thefoodieat@gmail.com

1. COOKING BRILLIANCE
People often think that AGAs are purely an aesthetic choice, but ‘cooking brilliance’ really is one of its biggest benefits. In short, cooking on cast iron uses radiant heat which is completely different to the drying heat of a fan oven. A conventional oven stores very little heat in the oven walls – so almost 100% of cooking is done from the air. But an AGA uses indirect heat from the hot cast iron oven walls.

The best way the difference has ever been explained to me is to think of a beach on a hot day. Conventional ovens which use direct heat is likable to the sun and wind burn you get from the hot air pounding on your skin. The indirect radiant heat an AGA uses is what you feel when you pick up a hot pebble from the beach and hold it in your hand.

It is a forgiving heat source. Even the most careless cook can leave rice in the oven for a little too long without ruining it. Cooking by radiant heat also makes roasts extra moist, and means that you can stick a sweet potato in the oven for 8 hours without it becoming dried-out and gnarly.

2. WARMTH
‘Traditional’ AGA models are designed to be on permanently to heat a big old farmhouse. The ‘New Generation’ AGAs are better suited to city living, as they can be compartmentalised and switched on and off – perhaps only having the baking oven on a summers day, or keeping just the simmering oven on overnight. Even if it’s only one oven though, it still pumps out a remarkable amount of heat.

I have a Stalus thermostat in my flat, which automatically switches the radiators off when the room reaches the temperature I’ve set it to. Usually, when I have the AGA on, then the radiator doesn’t even bother. If the AGA is off, then the radiator comes on for a little bit. But they’re rarely ever on together which means that the AGA works as a stand-in radiator  –  only it heats and cooks, which is a pretty efficient use of energy.

aga collage

3. DESIGN
People often think of AGAs as being a conservative-looking piece of kit. Still, the most popular colour is cream (27% of sales), and lots of traditional colours are still available, from racing green to pillar box red. But AGA is constantly bringing out new colours which make it a great centrepiece in a kitchen.

There’s minimalist pewter –  perfect for a modern kitchen – as well as lemon or heather, which harness a retro vibe, or the beautiful duck egg blue or aqua models. Especially  if you have a neutral palette in your kitchen then an AGA a great way of introducing a dramatic pop of colour. The iconic design is also available in a smaller model, the City-60, which are a great way of creating a bit of drama in smaller apartment kitchens.

4. VERSATILITY
A 3-door AGA has a roasting oven (250°C), a baking oven (190°C), a simmering oven (140°C), a boiling plate and a simmering plate which makes it a very versatile piece of kit. It means you don’t need to bother with a rice cooker, a toaster, a toastie maker, a slow-cooker, a pizza oven – hell, you don’t need a tumble dryer when you can finish, fold and iron clothes on the boiling and simmering plates.

From making drop scones or frying eggs on the hot plates, to grilling in the roasting oven, cooking rice in the simmering oven or using the floor of the roasting oven as a pizza stone, it’s a seriously versatile piece of kit.

aga versitility

5. FAMILY VALUE
It’s a schmaltzy point. But a chrome oven is never going to give a home a ‘heart’ like an AGA does. Particularly in open-plan kitchen-dining areas it’s great to have something which draws people in.

When friends come round to dinner they lean against it and chat while I cook. When it’s raining outside I walk straight in, lift a plate to put the kettle on and hang my coat on the rail to dry, and AGAs are well-known favourite spaces for pets. It’s impossible to put any tangible value on the emotional aspect, but pretty much everyone who has an AGA surprises themselves at the affection the suddenly feel for their oven.

6. MADE IN UK
For more information about how the AGA is made, read this piece on my expedition to the AGA Factory in Telford –where generations from the same family are still work alongside each other. Iron smelting was first developed in Shropshire in the early 1700s, and it’s amazing having something with such heritage, and knowing that it’s supporting such an important industry in the Ironbridge Gorge.

telford aga

7. KEEPS ITS LOOKS
The average lifespan of an AGA is getting on for 40 years. The cast iron casings and enamel finish is designed to last, and ages beautifully, unlike plastic or chrome appliances.

When the Coalbrookdale foundry launched a search to find the oldest AGA in Britain, they eventually tracked down the Hett Family who were still using one of the earliest models made: the 1932 long barrel D AGA which had been in continuous use for 77 years.

8. INVESTMENT
The new generation AGAs are designed to stay with people for life.

The City-60 models can be bought on 0% finance, with a £465 deposit meaning that AGAs are becoming available for a whole new demographic. In their 20s, the AGA owner might want to programme the ovens to come on for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening. As their family expands, they might want to add a module to it, and start leaving it on the whole time to make quick meals round the day.

Unlike the traditional models, which were assembled in people’s houses, the new generation AGAs are pre-assembled in the Telford factory making them far more mobile. So when you move house the AGA can come with you. It’s rare to you can put your money toward something tangible and permanent which will stay with you for life, but an AGA is certainly one of them. Unlike rice cookers and toastie makers, panini presses and slow-cookers which all come and go, and AGA is with you for life.

If you have any more questions, would be interested in coming to play about on my AGA or have a bespoke demonstration, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch: thefoodieat@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Michele Beers says

    Which online retailers in the UK offer 0% Finance options on the AGA City 60. Also, how much would it cost to install as a replacement for a conventional gas cooker?

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