Here at AGA towers we love The English Home magazine and there’s often a little tussle when it lands on the doormat each month. So I was utterly thrilled when its brilliant editor, Kerryn Harper-Cuss, agreed to write a guest post. There’s even a special offer of a 50% saving on subscription to the magazine.
So without further ado, here’s Kerryn…
Here at The English Home magazine, the team and I are regularly subjected to home envy. It is a huge (and deeply pleasurable) occupational hazard. From cottages to castles, the homes we feature are filled with inspirational design ideas and almost all situated in picturesque locations.
And central to many of the kitchens is an AGA. Hardly surprising perhaps, given that for many homeowners an AGA has become synonymous with quintessential English style.
Our American readers often comment on quite how many AGA cookers (and dogs) appear in The English Home magazine. Indeed it would be hard for our US and Canadian readers (and many others around the world) not to believe that everyone in England owns one!
However, until recently, this iconic item was something I had not experienced directly. Then, five short weeks ago, I inherited my own when my family and I moved to our new home, a 16th century beamed property in The Cotswolds with a high ceiling kitchen and a scarlet red AGA as its focal point.
I fell in love with its looks straight away and friends who gathered at our house warming weekends ‘ooohed’ and ‘aahhed’ appreciatively too. And yet, I confess to experiencing significant moments of trepidation in the inheritance. Would the device live up to the hype? Could I master such a different mode of cooking? Would those AGA good looks ultimately be matched by a benevolent temperament to help me on my way?
I had heard that whipping up meals on an AGA is a very different affair to working with an ordinary cooker. But as I had no alternative cooker to provide a safety net, I threw myself into the experience with abandon.
My husband pronounced my first lasagne “better even than your mother’s” (the highest possible praise). My daughter loved my Welsh cakes, hot and freshly buttered straight from the simmering plate (baked as my grandfather made them for me) and the friends at our quarterly supper club gathering left not a crumb of the gooey centred pavlova nor a spoonful of the orange chocolate mousse pots and Sephardic orange cake that I baked for the pudding course.
Lest you begin to think I am some sort of domestic goddess, l should say that reactions of this kind were not at all the norm. I have always been a reasonable cook with a relatively limited repertoire and even passable at more adventurous menus – but something has definitely improved! I can only think it must be the influence of the AGA, with its forgiving nature and moisture-reserving ovens.
And so, enthused with early success, I have booked myself on to an AGA cooking course at my local AGA shop to see what useful tips I can glean. With one of my male friends saying I have turned into Nigella overnight, I find myself (for the first time) with a cooking reputation to keep up.
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