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Nov 7, 2013 01:44 PM

Martha Stewart On How To Cook On an Aga

Smittenkitchen posted this video clip today during a convo we were having on Aga ranges. She cooked on one on a houseboat! Don't know how she did that when they weight in at over a ton!

For all of my fellow Aga friends out there--are there any?--this is for you.

What a hoot!

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  1. Thanks, sandiasingh:

    Wow, that's a younger Martha, that's for sure!

    I came very close to installing a new Rayburn (sister company to AGA) solid fuel range about 18 months ago, but went with a 1910 American solid-fuel.

    Cooking on these "constant heat" ranges freaks some people out, but once you get used to it, it's pretty easy. Instead of two hotplates, my range is a smoothtop, so I get close to infinite heat adjustment simply by moving the pan(s). Oven cooking is a little more dicey than in an AGA by virtue of having only one oven and all the dampers/draft adjustments needed to adjust the oven temperature. And of course there's a big difference with having to stoke a solid-fuel--AGA owners needn't worry over that! Between adjustments, building and stoking, and the cooking itself, there's never a dull moment.


    3 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Ha and I thought the Aga was never a dull moment :-) I haven't seen one like yours--would love to see a picture. We don't have dampers, etc. as you know. The entire range is just ON all the time and the four different ovens are insulated at different thicknesses to provide for a wide range of temperatures, from warm to hot, but there are no dials, switches or any other controls at all. Good news is no moving parts means it will probably never need repairs. Bad news is that it does take some adjusting to, like you said, and many people do not have the time or patience for it. I work at home and am here most of the time so I'm always close by. It does keep life in the kitchen quite interesting. Friends tell me to get a "real stove," but I wouldn't trade it for a Wolf or Viking any day.

      1. re: sandiasingh

        Hi, Sandia:

        I am envious of your 4 ovens which all stay where they're supposed to be. Between managing the fire and all the oven and damper adjustments, my oven temperature is always in flux.

        I have never cooked on an AGA, but I've been around several. The two cook plates--how many pans can you get on them at one time? It's always appeared to me that one 11" saute would take up most of the available space, not leaving room for anything but a small milk pan. Is this true? The Rayburn I nearly bought had rectangular plates, so there were "corners" into which other things might fit.

        I work mostly from home, too, and I can vouch for having a warm kitchen (my house was built in 1907 with this kind of stove being the kitchen's only heat) this time of year. I'm actually looking into tying the stove into my hot water radiator system so it can help heat the entire house. Wood heat AND hot water without paying the power company sounds good to me!


        1. re: kaleokahu

          Wow, that is a beauty, Kaleo. I have not seen one like that. You have a nice, large cooktop which is really nice. I have the two round hotplates that each accommodates a 12" pan or two smaller ones. Since the entire range is hot, you can sit something anywhere on the top and it will stay warm, but to really cook it, it needs to be on a hotplate. One is very hot and one is medium. We don't have a microwave (by choice) but when I need to melt chocolate or butter, I just set it on the warming plate and wait 15 minutes and it's melted.

          Our wood stove is near the kitchen so in the winter it's the warmest area of the house combined with heat from the Aga. The one Martha was using was shiny and clean, it reminded me that we need to turn it off for a few days next spring and really clean it. These stoves are really works of art in my mind.

          I will definitely mention your idea about hot water rads to my husband. He's really into that stuff and will be interested.

          Happy cooking! (Jacques Pepin)

    2. Growing up in England, we always had a Rayburn in the kitchen. Not only was it used for cooking throughout the day, but also as a source of hot water for the radiators in the house.

      I do seem to remember though that it only fed the back of the house; there was a separate boiler for the front of the house,

      My sister has an AGA and that is her main cooker.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Spelunk

        Your sister is in England, Spelunk? Agas in the US are pretty rare, I found out after inheriting mine with the house. There used to be a dealer in Santa Fe, but they are long gone, so if we do ever need a repair (say to the pilot lighter, door falling off, etc.) we'll have to fix it ourselves.

        I have a Pinterest page called "Aga" and people who "pin it" are usually from the UK.