Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-19-2017, 11:06 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,162
Does anyone have or have the use of an Aga range?

I first saw these on the Two Fat Ladies cooking show, and I began to lust after them (the stoves, not the Fat Ladies, God rest both their souls). They weigh a ton (the stoves not the Two Fat... right), so the floor has to be sturdy and they cost in the thousands. I looked at one here in town--the smallest they had--and it was over $3,000. They run as high as $20,000. I'm a renter now and probably will be for the rest of my life, so must say goodbye to this dream (and others, too).

If you don't know about these stoves or "cookers," read about them here:
https://www.agamarvel.com/aga/
and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGA_cooker

Great picture here: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2015/09/...-breakthrough/

I look for them now in the background of all the British mystery and travel shows that I watch. I'm surprised they haven't caught on in our extreme foodie culture here, as IMHO, they are the Rolls Royce of ranges.

Do you have one/use one?

Last edited by ThelmaLou; 10-19-2017 at 11:07 AM.
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-19-2017, 12:16 PM
araminty araminty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 2,406
I'm in the market for a new range, and these things are everywhere. And their cheaper knock-off lookalikes, of course.

I used one a few times at a friend's house in northern England, but it didn't make much of an impression.

An Aga in my CA condo would be incongruous and, imho, pretentious.
  #3  
Old 10-19-2017, 12:37 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,162
Hehe. This little pup is only $8,200. The pink fairly shrieks "California," dontcha think?
  #4  
Old 10-19-2017, 01:19 PM
Sattua Sattua is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Close to home
Posts: 9,627
I'm fascinated by them too, but in reading up I came across a couple of drawbacks. Both come down to them being on all the time, unlike a regular range that you only turn on when you need it. First, they heat up your house, and two, they're expensive to run. I realize there are gas and oil burning versions and they're different, but somewhere I read something about $10K a year just to operate a full-size one.

Last edited by Sattua; 10-19-2017 at 01:22 PM.
  #5  
Old 10-19-2017, 01:36 PM
araminty araminty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 2,406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sattua View Post
I'm fascinated by them too, but in reading up I came across a couple of drawbacks. Both come down to them being on all the time, unlike a regular range that you only turn on when you need it. First, they heat up your house, and two, they're expensive to run. I realize there are gas and oil burning versions and they're different, but somewhere I read something about $10K a year just to operate a full-size one.
That's not a bug, that's a feature! It's MEANT to heat up your kitchen.
  #6  
Old 10-19-2017, 02:12 PM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Elsewhere
Posts: 5,589
They seem to have a lot of drawbacks, but one thing I've never seen spelled out clearly: what are the advantages?
  #7  
Old 10-19-2017, 02:43 PM
elbows elbows is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 12,750
Why on earth do they refer to it always as a 'hob'?
  #8  
Old 10-19-2017, 03:00 PM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2,562
A hob is the flat top of an oven and was used in the distant past to refer to a cooking surface in England.

No relation to hobgoblins. Also called just hobs, who may have been descended from Roman Household Gods ( Romans were dominated by religion ).



Modern Agas don't have to be on all the time, but Esses are cheaper and have been made in Barnoldswick since 1854. Prolly not available abroad for all I know.
  #9  
Old 10-19-2017, 04:07 PM
Sattua Sattua is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Close to home
Posts: 9,627
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Drake View Post
No relation to hobgoblins. Also called just hobs, who may have been descended from Roman Household Gods ( Romans were dominated by religion ).
I thought they were called hobgoblins because you were supposed to keep a special seat for them in the warm place beside the hob.

As to the bug-not-feature argument, I can't think of anywhere in the United States where heating up the kitchen would be a good thing year-round.
  #10  
Old 10-19-2017, 04:26 PM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2,562
Hob was the name for a goblin ( and also a mediaeval christian name, descended like many, many names from the germanic Robert ), hobgoblins are related faeryfolk, that second link suggests your derivation.

In Scandinavia the goblins ( Nisses ) like porridge from their patrons, as Andersen related. This would require a hob.
  #11  
Old 10-19-2017, 09:29 PM
araminty araminty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 2,406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
They seem to have a lot of drawbacks, but one thing I've never seen spelled out clearly: what are the advantages?
AFAICT...
They're always on, so you don't need to wait to preheat them
They keep your kitchen/house warm (as mentioned)
They look traditional/smack of olde worlde charm to Americans
  #12  
Old 10-19-2017, 09:35 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 13,351
I remember seeing these in a showroom years ago. What is the net benefit to having several smaller chambers?
  #13  
Old 10-20-2017, 05:21 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
I remember seeing these in a showroom years ago. What is the net benefit to having several smaller chambers?
The original AGA was designed to operate continously, like your boiler / ducted heating. It doesn't change temperature, which is part of its appeal: it's always ready, always at temperature, not even drifting in use.

And the different chambers are at different temperatures: you've got your warming oven, your baking oven, your slow-roast....

Also, its big by design: it was for people who didn't have central heating or electricity and wanted double ovens.

Last edited by Melbourne; 10-20-2017 at 05:22 AM.
  #14  
Old 10-20-2017, 07:12 AM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Indonesia and Hawaii
Posts: 4,180
I don't know much about Aga ranges (they had some on display in a high-end mall here in Jakarta...I scurried away since, as we only rent, there was no point in being tempted) but I share your affection for Two Fat Ladies.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
  #15  
Old 10-20-2017, 07:31 AM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2,562
It seems AGA, Aktiebolaget Gas Accumulator, was invented by a blind Nobel Prize winning Swede to help his wife.

The British AGA is now owned by an American Corp.



No doubt other Euro countries had their own AGA companies --- or just bought them from Swedish AGA, now owned by a German Corp.
  #16  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:07 AM
RobDog RobDog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,830
We inherited a gas-fired Aga with the London house we bought 6 years ago. I have the following observations.

1) Yes, it was more expensive to run than a standard cooker, what with it being on all the time. Having said that, once it had reached operating temperature it required only a little fuel to maintain it. Once you started using it though it would start to suck gas again.

2) Someone above mentioned that it maintains a constant temperature, but that wasn't my experience. After a long period of use (Christmas day for example) the operating temperature gauge would drop considerably. One mitigated against this by cooking slightly differently, eg never simmering things on the hotplates for the full cooking time, but bringing the dish to a boil, then moving it to the simmering oven. You more or less have to abandon the notion of cooking something at x degrees per y lbs plus z minutes, and go back to the method of "and cook it until it be ryte well dun". Joints of meat did cook beautifully though (supposedly a radiance vs convection thing?)

3) The hotplates were never really hot enough. Certainly not for flash frying.

4) They certainly do heat up the kitchen, and how! Ours was switched off for at least 6 months of the year and we switched over to the gas hob / electric oven for the other 6, otherwise the heat would have been intolerable.Cozy in winter though, and yes, occasionally it was handy not having to wait until it heated up.

5) They can be fussy little bitches, well certainly the gas-fired ones. We had to have it serviced once a year. If we didn't it would refuse to start after its 6 month hibernation.

So, unless you live in a cold climate (far north of Sweden perhaps), and you're going to use it to provide heating and hot water as well as cooking... not worth it.

As it happens, we moved from London to the countryside about a year ago, and inhereted another Aga. This time though a completely knackered solid-fuel burning model. There's no way we're paying to have it renovated; who wants to get up at 5am every morning to fill it up with coke or whatever the damn thing eats. So we're stuck with it, we can't even get rid of it for scrap value

Last edited by RobDog; 10-20-2017 at 11:09 AM.
  #17  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:20 AM
RobDog RobDog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,830
Just to expand on my point 2 above. The reason for not overusing the hotplates is because once you lift their (very heavy and well-insulated) covers they cause the whole oven system to lose heat very quickly. So if you were cooking something like a casserole, you would soften the onions, brown the meat etc on the hotplate, then once everything was in the pot and at a rolling boil, you'd move it to the simmering oven to finish cooking. You're ideally aiming for a 20/80 split between cooking on the hotplate and the simmering oven.
  #18  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:21 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,162
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
We inherited a gas-fired Aga with the London house we bought 6 years ago. I have the following observations.

..:
Thank you so much! This is exactly the sort of info I was looking for.

So...good-looking, expensive, high maintenance, and temperamental... I think I dated that guy...
  #19  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:33 AM
RobDog RobDog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,830
But was he any good at keeping your buns warm?
  #20  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:46 AM
RobDog RobDog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,830
On the plus side, ThelmaLou...

The Aga ovens are capacious. They're so deep that it's perfectly possible, for example, to have one roasting tray at the back roasting your veggies while you have another tray in front of it roasting a joint of meat.

The areas around the hotplates on top are great for keeping sauces, gravies etc warm if you've prepped them a wee bit too early.

The Aga certainly made me think a bit more about how things cook. Instead of mechanically following the temp and timings of a recipe, I was forced to think much more about "done-ness", if that makes sense?

The ovens are dead easy to clean. Basically anything that gets on the oven walls gets carbonised as they're constantly hot, so they just need brushing out once in a while, they never get a build-up of gunk.

If you get the three oven model (roast / simmer / warm) apparently the warming oven is great for reviving a poorly lamb

Last edited by RobDog; 10-20-2017 at 11:47 AM.
  #21  
Old 10-20-2017, 12:44 PM
Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
Posts: 620
On the US website they have the traditional cast iron ranges as well as "normal" ranges that seem similar to those from Wolf, Viking, etc. According to the website, you do not have to have the current cast iron models on all the time; however, it takes the ovens an hour to heat up and the hot plates 11 minutes. I can't see this possibly fitting into a modern lifestyle - if I get up in the morning and want an omelet, in the 11 minutes it would take for the AGA to reach cooking temperature I have cooked my omelet on a conventional range, finished eating, and am cleaning up.

Not to mention that here in the desert the last thing you want is some honking big pile of hot cast iron inside the house. Not only do you have to spend the energy to heat the sucker up, you need to spend the energy to get the heat out of the house.

However, looking at the AGA prices I don't feel nearly as bad having splurged on a Wolf rangetop and double wall oven.
  #22  
Old 10-20-2017, 01:06 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,162
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
But was he any good at keeping your buns warm?
Sadly, no.
  #23  
Old 10-21-2017, 04:33 PM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,191
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
. however, it takes the ovens an hour to heat up and the hot plates 11 minutes. I can't see this possibly fitting into a modern lifestyle - if I get up in the morning and want an omelet, in the 11 minutes it would take for the AGA to reach cooking temperature I have cooked my omelet on a conventional range, finished eating, and am cleaning up.
..
When you're cooking with coal, this is a plus, not a minus. You get up in the morning, poke the fire and add coal, then go do something different. When you want to start cooking, the stove is sitting there ready to go.

You really don't want to be adjusting the coal while mixing the omelet
  #24  
Old 10-21-2017, 05:47 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: on your last raw nerve
Posts: 17,237
What form do you need to fill out to get that baby hooked up?
  #25  
Old 10-21-2017, 06:04 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 13,351
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
What form do you need to fill out to get that baby hooked up?
27b/6.
  #26  
Old 10-21-2017, 10:38 PM
gaffa gaffa is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 10,713
One of my clients in Iowa has a huge natural gas AGA and they love it. They have a regular range top next to it that they use for pots and frying pans rather than the hot plate. She loves it for baking. I didn't notice the kitchen being too warm, but it is a huge kitchen/dining room.

Last edited by gaffa; 10-21-2017 at 10:39 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017