I have a love hate relationship with Aga’s. Some of my earliest and fondest memories as a child are my visits to my Uncle and Aunt’s farm in Somerset. Mainly Cattle but a few pigs who ate the waste food from the kitchen. My most vivid recollections revolve around the kitchen and the big Aga that sat as a centre piece. Whatever the time of year and whatever the weather the Aga was on, keeping the kitchen warm and cosy. I remember coming in from the cold with uncle Roy after milking the cows and we would all huddle around the Aga basking in its warm radiance. Then Auntie Tui would pull out rolls of bacon that had been slow cooking for an hour, quickly fry up some eggs, make tea from the kettle from the hob and then we would all sit down to a well earned breakfast and family chatter and laughs- Magic!
More recently my step mother redid her kitchen and decided that she wanted to replicate her childhood memories of the country at their new place in London. We had a somewhat heated discussion over this for it has always struck me that an Aga is great in a cold, damp farmhouse with no central heating but a total anachronism in the middle of a city,in a well insulated modern kitchen. The house has central heating and so there really is no need to have it on all the time. In fact it gets so hot in summer that it has to be turned off. She put it in anyway - fair enough!
I was reminded of this argument by a Radio 4 programme (You and Yours) yesterday which featured a discussion between George Monbiot and an Aga representative. George has similar views to mine, but backed up with more salient facts such as ‘An Aga produces 6 tonnes CO2e per year almost as much as the average household in total’! The argument from Aga was that whilst, yes, it used more energy, it was in fact a lifestyle choice and people should be allowed to choose.
This issue goes straight to the heart of what Planet Positive Living is all about. Yes it is about making choices but more importantly it is about making the right choiceand unfortunately having an Aga is not one of them. I apologise to all of you who already have or who are thinking about getting one, but I see no justification, on any level, of choosing such a cooking system for our modern way of life. Slow, energy inefficient and a throw back to a time gone by - unless you live in a drafty kitchen in which case you should get it insulated!
Aga, I am sorry to say it but like the big American car companies that have singularly failed to move with the times, your time is up and your business is ultimately doomed to failure. Or as Darwin ( 200 this week) might say - Adapt or Die!
29th January 2009
Tags: Planet Positive Living