The Classic enameled Aga has an interesting story. First this is the invention of Swedish Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gustaf Dalén for his wife.
In 1932, the classic Agas became all British. They are produced in the central English town of Coalbrookdale. For your information, British call our range a cooker.
What makes an Aga so special?
Besides being always manufactured from recycled scrap iron, what distinguish the classic Aga is the fact that you never turn them off.
Nowadays, the latest Aga Intelligent Management System (AIMS) system performs exactly with your lifestyle. A handset programming control means that your Aga can be shut off when you sleep and you preset at what times during the day the range should be ready to operate at normal power.
You will be surprised to hear that there are no switches or dials either. Each component holds at a temperature specific to its task: roasting, baking, simmering, warming or boiling.
The cast iron construction and energy efficient heating offer a truly unique cooking experience. It is like having 10 appliances in one. With a high-end AGA stove, you can bake, fry, grill, toast, stew, steam, roast, simmer and stir-fry.
How a heavy Aga cooker can be friendly for the environment?
Like I said earlier, the Agas have always been manufactured from scrap iron. Today, old car engine parts, pipes, gutters and so on provide more sources for recycling materials.
This is a remarkable stove if you like the old-fashioned look and have a budget around $12000 CAD. The enameled finish is available in 14 colors to match any kitchen decor. The design is proven so you will probably keep it for a long time. A huge part of green living is not filling up the garbage site.
Several sources of energy
Their natural gas used to the cleanest and lower-cost heating energy source. Now with the introduction of their latest 13-amp electric model in July 2007, things may change.
From a green viewpoint, an electric stove is easier to install and will require less maintenance. Apparently the special design of the electrical Aga results in an electrical appliance that cooks reproduce closely the results of the gas unit. The AIMS reduce the energy consumption too.
Some models can accept bio-fuels once and if they become widely available. The company invests in research to find alternate energy sources for their appliances.
The taste test
From a taste point of view, once you learn the basics of cooking with an Aga, your food will probable taste better. The Aga cast-iron ovens use indirect radiant heat and cook food gently. Food does not dry out and thus, the food retains its natural goodness and flavor. They are lots of books and the Aga stores have a kitchen for you to test drive the stove.
2009.05.28 Update: Debate over the Green Credentials
I would like to get your attention to this article published on The Guardian that challenged the Aga’s affirmations of being green. Personally, I do not believe people buy an Aga stove because they are looking for a green alternative. You probably buy it for its cooking functions and if you like that old-fashioned style. I like the color options. I imagine the Aga stove at a cottage or in an old-style house.
On the other end, is it more green to replace several times an appliance? The energy consumption studies do not take into account the resources needed to make, sell (manufactures, warehouses, retail spaces, transportation), install, remove and throw away the appliances. Sadly, we do not have these numbers for those.
+ Sophie Conran for Portmeirion dinnerware