Has the Aga had its day?

A whole chicken, not so much roasted as burnt to a crisp. Charred potatoes. Carrots so blackened they were welded to the pan. And don’t even get me started on the Yorkshire puddings, which resembled lumps of coal, still smoking amid the debris. Only once have I failed (catastrophically I might add, and in front of my entire extended family) to cook an edible roast dinner. And I blame the Aga. Long a middle-class status symbol, Agas – in varying shades of duck-egg blue and volcanic red – can be found in country piles, cosy cottages and even the odd city kitchen. Devotees rhapsodise about the cast-iron cookers, which cost upwards

The enduring appeal of the Aga

A cooker is not just for cooking. That is the starting point to understanding the Aga. It is impractical, environmentally unfriendly, and expensive. Everyone – including the Aga’s most ardent devotees – knows that. And yet the Aga cooker next year will celebrate its centenary. Despite all the modern appliances that should long ago have rendered it obsolete, these enamel-coated cast-iron behemoths continue to soldier on indefatigably. They are one of the twenty first century’s great survivors. The brand has a glorious history. The Aga cooker was invented by a Nobel Prize-winning Swedish physicist. Having been blinded by an explosion from an earlier invention that went awry, he decided to