It needed ten days of heatwave, but finally, this morning, I have turned off the Aga. It is done with reluctance really, as my alternative means of cooking are three table-top items, none of which is any substitute. There is an electric oven with two cooking rings, which is used for most of the cooking. However, as it has to go on the counter top, the rings are uncomfortably high and I can’t see into the saucepans. Of course, I can’t put it on the table, which is lower, because of the electric lead. There is a grill, which is fine, which can also be used as an oven, which is not brilliant. Then there is the microwave, which has a combination grill. Between them I can do most things I need to, but it’s more effort and we have to eat off cold plates.
For the first few years we lived here, the Aga was on all the time as it was my only means of cooking and provided all our hot water as well. Then we had a run of very hot summers and my temper frayed. I’d spend an hour watering the greenhouse and picking the vegetables, then prepare them and cook a meal, by which time I was growling. I’d shove it all on the dining table and mutter ‘give me a drink, I don’t want food.’ I’d settle down after a while of course, because I rather like food.
So we had an immersion heater put in, bought the mini oven (the other equipment had found its way into the kitchen over the years) and the Aga goes off in the summer. Though, after the first few puritanical years, it occurred to me that if I did want to do a lot of cooking for a couple of days, or make jam or something like that, there was nothing to stop me turning it on just for a day or two.