I think you all know that I love a good appliance. And there is one appliance that I absolutely covet. When I see it on movies (Practical Magic or The Holiday) or cooking shows, a little tear goes down my face, because I know how totally loved that appliance would be at Casa de Potter.
My number one coveted appliance is…an AGA Range.
Do you have one? If you do, can I come over and pet it?
I only know one person who does– my friend, Jennifer Glover. She’s an AGA owner and is a great cook (and guest blogger for StyleBlueprint as Carolina Girl Cooks), and she uses her range all the time. So at least I know there is one that has gone to a good home and is not just a showpiece in someone’s million dollar kitchen that they don’t use (i.e. MTV Cribs).
Here’s the background on these ranges from AGA:
In 1922, Dr. Gustaf Dalen, a world renowned Swedish physicist and Nobel Prize Winner, lost his sight following an explosion during an experiment with pressurized liquids and gases. While recuperating at home after his accident, he realized all the trouble his wife went through to put meals on the table and decided to build a better range with a constant source of heat. “He combined a small and efficient heat source, two large hotplates and two generous ovens into one robust and compact unit — the AGA Cooker.”
An AGA can do the following:
It’s like having ten appliances in one!
Here’s first hand review from my friend Jennifer Glover.
They are cast iron cookers heated by either electricity or gas (mine is gas) so that they constantly hold heat. Essentially, it is a big fat crock pot. It stays on all the time. Since I’ve had mine, I’ve only turned it off once because I was on the road for six weeks. When you turn it on, it takes a solid eight hours for it to come up to full heating capacity, which is part of the reason you want to leave it on. It does put off a little bit of heat which makes it a very cozy stove to have during the winter months. I find myself leaning up against it while I eat breakfast, drink my tea or watch the news in the mornings. In the summer it does add a couple degrees to the kitchen, so I usually have the air turned down the lowest in the kitchen to offset the small amount of extra heat.
I’ve had several people ask me about energy costs and honestly, it’s not that much different from regular stoves and ovens. We were told it would add about a dollar more a day to the gas bill and that’s pretty much dead on.
With no preheat time, you can whip up meals in no time. This can sometimes be dangerous for your waistline. Baking cookies or reheating left over pizza (if any is ever left) only takes about 7-10 minutes. Yikes! A couple of other cool things: because there is no flame and it’s radiant heat, you can put wet dish towels inside the simmering oven or on top of the plate covers to dry them quickly without them setting on fire.
It’s also self cleaning. If anything spills over in the oven, it will burn off and disintegrate.
Now, the anatomy of the AGA. My cooker has four ovens, two cooktops (a boiling plate and simmering plate) and a warming plate.
The warming plate is on the far left, and I use it to keep tea or coffee warm, as well as dishes that come out of the oven. The boiling plate is used to, you guessed it, boil water, but I also use it for pre-grilling meat. It gets the grill pan super hot so you get those great sear marks, before finishing the cooking process in the oven. The simmering plate is the “medium heat” eye. It’s where I do the majority of my cooking. It also serves as a griddle. If I didn’t want to use a pan for some reason, I could lightly brush the surface with oil or butter and either crack an egg right on it or pour pancake batter right on it.
This is also where I make toast. My AGA came with a contraption that basically looks like a round grill basket for fish and you put bread in it and close in the simmering plate. Flip it once and you’ve got perfectly crisp toast.
There are number of great colors to pick from as well. Or you can design your own like this one:
Special note: No, I am not paid by AGA. But if anyone from AGA is reading this and you would like to use me as a test case for an oven, I’m open to that.
And I promise to look as cute as this little housewife too: