Aga Love

My Love Affair with an Aga.

                                      by Cheryll Bretherton

My love affair with an Aga began- I don’t know when- probably about the same time that I knew that Chanel No 5 would suit me (too long ago to mention the year!)

I saw a picture of one in the 70’s and decided that I would own one one-day. Little did I know that I would own two 4 oven Aga’s in the same house. One, a ‘modern’ 1980’s bright red and the other discovered boxed in, cream circa 1923.

It was very exciting discovering the old Aga. I had lived in the house for 3 years before curiosity got the better of me. In that time I had a new country style kitchen fitted and the perfect finish to it was a lovely, cheerful, warm, solid fuel red Aga. So warm in fact that one day when the winds were really blowing up the side of the Mendip Hills where I lived the one top plate was glowing the same colour as the enamel of the Aga itself and crackling as the metal expanded- it continued to do so until the fire went out. Needless to say after that whenever the forecast was for high winds the Aga was not stoked up! Clotted cream was made in a bowl on the top from milk from our Jersey House Cow Blossom (yes, her calf was called petal!) and the rice pudding, cooked slowly in the simmering oven was heavenly.

One day when I had a little too much time on my hands I decided that it would be a good idea to see what was hidden beneath the big plywood box in the room next to the utility at the back of the house. Armed with a screwdriver and hammer I started to dismantle the box. When the top was free of screws I levered it off and saw the top of a cream Aga, it was very dusty but it looked fine. The front  came off next and it was obvious that it was very old because of the handles, cream enamelled lids and the scrollwork of the embossed AGA name. The sides and framework soon followed along with a good clean. I did some research about the Aga and found out from the Aga shop in Sherbourne (where I had taken a course in how to use your Aga) that it had to be run on Anthracite. ‘wonderful’ I thought, the new one uses Phurnacite so now I needed two types of fuel! As it was nearing Christmas I thought it would be a good idea to fire her up with the possibility of using her to help cater for the large party we were having. With everything crossed- and no winds roaring up the hills- the fire was lit. She fired up beautifully and soon the temperature gauge was increasing, the top plates and all four ovens were heating!

That Christmas, in 1984, I think our house must have been the only one in the country with one of the most modern and one of the oldest Aga’s operating at the same time. It certainly was a good party with no panics about getting the food cooked – 8 ovens are a must for everyone!

Unfortunately I do not currently own an Aga, a brief fling with a small Rayburn was not quite the same….but one day…

Posted in Memories of an Aga

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