Aga Lovers forum: Introductions - Introduce yourself here!

 
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ImageGwen
Feb 9, 2010 11:43 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Hi! I'm Gwen, and we've had Dorothy, our cream 4-oven Aga for about 4 years. I lose track, it seems like we've always had her! I got interested in Agas after reading Dorothy Cannell's English mysteries. She was always talking about the Aga in the kitchen. Being an Anglophile, my curiosity was piqued, especially after I saw one in a store. As soon as I saw one, without even knowing how they worked, I knew I wanted one. Once I learned how they work, I was a woman obsessed! Lucky for me my husband was intrigued with them as well.

I've been married for 23 years, and we have 3 wonderful sons. I grew up in the California Bay Area. We moved to an island off the coast of Washington in 2001 and love it here. We have a golden retriever, a yellow lab, and 7 chickens.

I enjoy gardening, reading, movies, cooking, and I love to entertain. Dorothy helps quite a bit in the cooking and entertaining department!

I've been a licensed court reporter since 1984, although I took a long break after we moved to Washington. I'm just now re-entering the field. During my brief 'retirement,' I've been subbing for the school district and at our little local movie theater. I also went back to school and got a certificate in floral design and I continue to dabble in that. I'd like to do more in the floral/event design area, but it's hard to do so where I live.

[Last edited Feb 9, 2010 12:35 PM CST]
Quote | Post #23662 (1)
ImageSteven
Feb 9, 2010 9:16 PM CST
Name: SW_Gardener
Ontario, Canada
Zone 6a
Hi Gwen! This is an interesting Cubit you have! May I ask what an Aga is?
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ImageGwen
Feb 10, 2010 10:57 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
An Aga is a stove/oven/range. They have many models, some of which are similar to the typical range you see in most homes, and some which are quite different in that they are kept at a constant temperature, always on.

For instance, my 'cooker' has 4 ovens - a roasting oven which is always at 450, a baking oven at 350, a simmering oven at 250, and a warming oven at 150.

Here's a link with some further info: http://www.aga-ranges.com/_store/scripts/catlist.asp?idcat=3...

Hope this helps!
ImageSteven
Feb 10, 2010 4:19 PM CST
Name: SW_Gardener
Ontario, Canada
Zone 6a
Wow, how interesting! Thanks for sharing that, I'll be following your cubit so I can learn more about these!
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rtl850nomore
Feb 12, 2010 6:14 PM CST
Name: Jayne
Glendale/Parks Az
Gwen, when you say your ovens are always at temperature, do you mean always on and using gas or electricity? I couldn't find an answer on their website during my quick perusal. Langley is a lovely town. I love polking around there. My DIL used to work at Lind's Pharmacy. My son and his family live in Greenbank.
The reason most people fail instead of succeed is because they give up what they want most for what they want at the moment.
ImageGwen
Feb 12, 2010 7:07 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Yes, they are always on. The cooker is very well insulated. Made of cast iron and enameled ceramic and is loaded with insulation. It retains heat very well, as long as you aren't using the plates/hob on top of the cooker. Also, there is no preheating involved!

With a 'regular' oven, 20 percent of the cooking is done in the ovens and 80% on the stovetop. With an Aga, those numbers are reversed. We do the majority of our cooking in one of the ovens. For instance, if I'm making soup or pasta sauce, it goes in the simmering oven rather than on a back burner. Once you get into the mindset, it really is an easier way of cooking. For me at least. I don't think it's for everyone, but for those of us who love them, it's the only way. Smiling

Lind's in Langley closed down last year. Much to the dismay of the entire town. We still haven't gotten over it! They still have their store in Freeland (which has been enlarged) and they've had a store in Coupeville for a few years now. What are your son and DIL's name? You can c-mail me if you don't want to go public. I wonder if I know them! Small place, you know. My middle son worked at Lind's in Langley for a few years during high school. I took advantage of that 30% discount big time in their jewelry department.
rtl850nomore
Feb 12, 2010 9:09 PM CST
Name: Jayne
Glendale/Parks Az
I sent you a c-mail.
The reason most people fail instead of succeed is because they give up what they want most for what they want at the moment.
Yarrow
Feb 24, 2010 2:16 PM CST
Name: Yarrow Maslij
Bridgman, MI
Hi: I'm Yarrow that's short for Yaroslav; Prince of Kiev. I'm no prince but happily not a pauper either :) I've had an Aga for 15 years. No name just A.G.A. Everyone who enters the house is always curious especially about the heat it gives off. You got to like the heat or stay out of the kitchen and we do in July/August. I rarely run air but there are times when it is a necessity. AGA was made for England or Scandanavia not for summer in sw Michigan but I'll keep it. Overnite Irish oatmeat is a speciaity of the house. Everyone gets some whether they like it or not. It's good for you. I create hassle free minimum stir puddings; tapioca, chocolate, various poridges. That simmering oven is a blessing. I only wish we had organic fruit that we could "bottle" but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Makes great bacon to. It's a great cooking machine. Living in a culinary wasteland I find it indispensible. Makes my life a lot easier. Sincerely yours, Yarrow M.

Thumbnail by Yarrow

ImageGwen
Feb 24, 2010 3:01 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Wow, Yarrow, 15 years - you're a pro!

I'm with you on the overnight oatmeal. Do you do yours in the SO or WO? I've done it both ways but I never can remember when it comes time to put it in the oven. I'd love to see some of your pudding, tapioca, and porridge recipes. If you want to post any, start up new threads for each so they can be easily found in the future.

At some point in the near future, Dave, the owner/developer of Cubits.org is going to be adding a database feature, so we'll be able to have individual recipes stored for easy reference.

How do you make your bacon? I manage to burn at least half the bacon I cook. Sometimes I can't even give it to the dogs! Unfortunately, the thickness of bacon differs so much that I can't come up with a set time for it.

Can you not purchase organic fruit in your area?
Josh
Feb 25, 2010 12:51 PM CST
Hi Gwen,

What a great idea! I have been so frustrated with posts to agalovers never posting...

Anyway, in the spirit of introductions, I will try to let you know a bit about me and about my interest in the aga.

I work in a library of a local law school as an assistant in the circulation department, live with my partner of ten years in a big victorian home in Hartford, Connecticut with three cats and two corgis. I grew up just a few blocks away, but also lived for a few years in Greensboro, NC, and Rome. We are happily settled here and enjoy working on our home. We are also interested in keeping chickens, but have not started that yet.

I learned about the aga also in a mystery. An Agatha Christie called "What Mrs. MacGillicuddy Saw". The kitchen is described as having a huge old range, no longer used, and an Aga. I had to look up what it is, and fell in love! A friend of the family lived for a while in the UK and had an Aga in her home, and a friend of my mother recently retired and bought herself an Aga for her home nearby.

We unfortunately do not own an aga yet. I have been researching frantically for years and have probably visited just about every site on the internet in English or Italian about Agas. We are hoping to have a four oven installed in our kitchen within the next year, but are still planning it out. I have lots of fun reading everyone's cooking experiences with the Aga, and thinking about how I would cook various things with one.

Josh
ImageGwen
Feb 25, 2010 1:06 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Josh, your home sounds wonderful! I love the old Victorians. I think we'll eventually have to start a thread or section where people post photos of their homes!

I haven't read that Agatha Christie book - I'm going to have to go in search. I just checked and our library system doesn't carry it. Terrible!

Have you been to one of the Aga demos? I talked about the one I went to on another thread. I highly recommend going - it was so much fun.

Playing the 'how would I cook this on an Aga' is not only a lot of fun, but when you get your Aga, you already know how to cook everything and the transition is so easy.

So why Italian? Are you Italian, or your partner? Do you speak Italian? If you lived in Rome, I guess you do! I've been to Italy once and absolutely loved it there, esp northern Italy. I'd love to go back, but if I get a chance to go over in that direction, my first stop will have to be England. I've never been there and am wanting to go sooooo bad. On my very short bucket list is to live there for 6 or 12 months someday.
Josh
Feb 25, 2010 4:26 PM CST
Hi Gwen.

I think that the Agatha Christie book has two alternate titles you may be able to find:
4:50 from Paddington, and Murder, she said. It is a good one!

My partner is actually from Puerto Rico, so we get to eat lots of yummy Puerto Rican cuisine!

I have not been to an aga demo. Every time I check, the only ones scheduled are hours away. Our local retailer has an aga on the sales floor, but they turned it off about a year ago. The guy told me they just dont sell enough of them to justify keeping it up to temp all the time. I have played around with our friend's aga, though, a little.

I have been planning to take some photos of our house, and can post some when I have them. We moved in here last summer, so are still settling in.

I used to speak Italian almost fluently. I went to university in Rome to study Art History, but moved back here almost 10 years ago and have not had much opportunity since to speak italian with anyone, so I am very rusty now. I can read it fine, and understand it pretty well when listening to someone speak (like watching an italian movie) but have a lot of trouble carrying a conversation now. It's sad!

Relating to the Aga, we are planning to get a 4 oven but will probably opt to swap out the warming plate for the two gas eyes instead, because one thing I need to cook correctly is pasta, and I gather that the boiling plate has trouble handling a large pot of pasta water. What has your experience been? I know that pasta can be cooked in less water, but my time in Italy developed a bit of pasta-snobbery in me and I cant stand pasta that is not cooked correctly. We also like to do canning in the summer, so I think the burners will be a good investment. We have also considered a two oven with the companion, or just a second gas or electric range or cooktop. I guess it will come down to space and price.
ImageGwen
Feb 25, 2010 6:11 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Fabulous! I have 4:50 From Paddington on its way to me. My library system lists Murder She Said as a video movie. I'll have to see if I can get that as a dvd from Netflix. I wonder if the Angela Lansbury series Murder She Wrote is based on that book, or they just borrowed from the catchy title.

I have to tell you, the Aga demo is worth traveling miles for. At least mine was. I took a ferry and then still drove over an hour to get to mine! Maybe you can make a weekend of it or something.

Now let me try and talk you into the warming plate. Big Grin Where else will you keep your pizza warm? Dry your silver and crystal in a flash with zero water spots left behind? Dry linen napkins and have them come out perfectly 'ironed'?

I do can on my Aga. I have canned both with a water bath and I have also 'dry canned' in the SO. I can every summer. Last summer I bought a propane 2-burner camp stove for a farmer's market I was participating in and I've been known to use those burners. They came in handy on Thanksgiving. I also have a propane paella burner that's on legs that I can use, altho it's not as stable as the camp stove. And the table top portable propane burners (Costco/Ace Hardware) are super cheap and can be used indoors.

So there are all sort of alternatives.

There is so much to say about pasta, and I want to hear how you do it, so I'm starting a new thread for pasta!
valleygrl
Feb 25, 2010 6:16 PM CST
Name: joy larsen-mcevans
livingston, mt.
hello gwen.....exactly like josh, i'm here today because of the last posting on the "yahoo agalover group"...there aren't many postings!!
got my first AGA 12 yrs. ago,moved 2miles away and HAD to have another..we have a white 4 oven...classic looks, no name.
we have two children, 9 and 10 yrs. old. we live in sw montana, paradise valley (livingston).our "new" house is a square-cut log farmhouse circa 1863. i have a small herd of dairy goats that i milk by hand......my passion is making cheese! we also have chickens, a livestock guardian dog, a lab, horse and donkey....my husband is kept quite busy helping manage all of the above!
again, like josh,.....i'm also interested to know about cooking pasta, as there doesn't seem to be an option other than the top if you want to use your pasta pot and plenty of water....yes, my mother is italian.
i'm VERY consious of propane usage, and enjoyed the postings on that subject today (yahoo group).
i grow, and purchase organic food products when possible and LOVE cooking, because i LOVE my AGA!!!!
Josh
Feb 25, 2010 8:45 PM CST
I am very interested in making cheese. Do you make any hard cheese, or just soft? I make lots of yogurt, but have not tried cheese yet.

I find the energy usage of the aga a bit scary. I am quite a tree-hugger, and have taken a lot of effort to cut our household energy usage to the minimum, both for environmental reasons and cost concerns. The aga we eventually buy will be our only real energy splash-out. We both walk to work and do a lot of our errands by foot too. When it is not winter I try to use the bicycle a lot too. So while I realize that I need not feel guilty about an aga, I am a bit apprehensive. We can, thankfully, run ours on natural gas, which is reasonably priced (right now, anyway) here. But it will still be quite expensive to operate.

Josh
ImageGwen
Feb 26, 2010 12:06 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I've taken a couple of cheese making classes, soft cheeses and ricotta, but have not tried it alone at home. In the classes, it looks easy! You do need to order the rennet or whatever that's called, which I also have not done. But I love making all those things that normally one would buy. Or maybe I just like the idea of it because I don't do it nearly enough.

Valleygrl, what breed of guardian dog do you have? I was reading up on the breeds last year because I think the next time we get a dog (not for a very long time as we currently have two), I'm going to seriously consider one of the guardian breeds.

I would love to have more 'farm' animals, but my husband would not. Altho I think he has been pleasantly surprised by how much he enjoys the chickens (and their eggs). Goats would be fun, and I've spent quite a bit of time online looking at pigs and miniature donkeys (soooo cute!). And cows. Smiling I don't see myself as a milking kind of person, though. What I really wish is that I lived next door to someone who had all these animals and I could look over the fence and admire theirs! Let me know, Valleygrl, if the place next door to you goes on the market!!!

Regarding the Aga propane usage, I try not to think about it. I try and do my part where I can and we've made do with very little in the way of heat since November of 2006 when we had an unfortunate incident with our new retro-fit radiant floor heating that we have never had fixed. I love my Aga - there're a lot of other things I'd give up before I gave up my Aga!
Imageportland1
Feb 26, 2010 11:12 AM CST
Name: Judi Darin
Portland, Oregon
Newbee
Hello everyone! My name is Judi and I live in Portland, Oregon. I moved here two years ago from San Francisco. I am recently retired and loving it. I have no idea how I had time to work! I was an RN for many years, became interested in hospital design, returned to school to become an architect, and spent 15 years working with several large architecture firms designing large medical centers. My job involved a lot of travel, both domestic and international, and one day when I woke up in a hotel and had to get the newspaper outside the door to my room to recall what city I was in (it was London), I decided enough was enough.

I have 5 sons, 2 daughters, and 7 grandchildren so life is busy. The last kid finished college last year so I am finally free of tuition bills. I have been single for about 14 years. I bought an old 1905 house in Portland and spent several months restoring it and redoing the kitchen. I have an AGA, but it is not the kind with the hop plates. It has 6 gas burners (two for woks) and two electric ovens - one of those is convection and the other has many functions, including regular oven, convection, defrosting, heat on bottom, heat on top, etc. It also has a separate broiler. I bought my AGA in San Francisco before I decided to move to Portland and then brought it with me. I designed my small kitchen around it. I considered the more traditional AGA but being a LEED certified architect I was reluctant to commit to using that much energy. And I must confess that changing the way I cook scared me a bit. I love my AGA!

I was married to an Italian for 28 years and our family spent time every summer in his family village in Northern Italy. My kids learned to speak Italian while there, but as soon as we returned to California it disappeared. Then the next year, after being back in Vigo di Cadore for a few days, it would return. I love that part of Italy - it looks like the scenery from the old Heidi movies.

I love gardening, skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking with my dog Koka. I also have 2 cats. I also love rain and snow, which is a good thing because it is plentiful here in Oregon!

It is exciting to see so many others who love AGAs!
"Give me again o nature your primal sanities."
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
ImageGwen
Feb 26, 2010 1:31 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Hi, Judi! It's great to see you over here. For the rest of you, Judi and I have been 'friends' on the PNW gardening forum both here at Cubits and also over at Dave's Garden.

Judi, I'd love to hear more about how the ovens in your Aga work. Do you want to start a separate thread (you could call it Judi's Aga) and tell us about it? I'm really curious about when you use the below heat, when you use the above heat, etc. I think the others would love to see the photo of your Aga as well!

What was the name of the village in Italy you visited? I spent two weeks in Lucca back in the summer of '77 visiting a friend from high school. We traveled around a bit - Portofino (which I LOVED), Rome (not so much), Florence and then some other small villages, all of which I loved. Then I went to Venice by myself. I would really like to go back!
AgaToast
Feb 26, 2010 2:16 PM CST
Hello everyone and a big thank you to Gwen for setting this up! I too have been totally frustrated by the impossibility of posting anything to the yahoo group! It took all the fun out!

I am thirty-something North Carolinian married to a German and currently living in South Carolina. We have a toddler named Wolfi and a terrier named Pumpkin and one gorgeous claret two-oven Aga.

Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom, but I have a Ph.D. in German literature and my dissertation was on the history of food during the eighteenth century! Please let me know if you need a good recipe for beer soup!

Please also feel free to drop by my Aga blog at: http://www.agatoast.blogspot.com

Cheers everyone and thanks again to Gwen!

Sabrina Moser

Thumbnail by AgaToast

ImageGwen
Feb 26, 2010 2:44 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Hi, Sabrina,

I would LOVE to have a recipe for beer soup and any other recipe you might want to offer! Can you start a new thread with 'beer soup' as the subject? At some point, we'll have a database here and I'll be able to transfer all recipes there for safe-keeping and reference.

Your Aga looks very sparkly and clean. Perhaps you can tell us how you clean it on the 'cleaning your Aga thread.'

I would imagine the history of food is an interesting topic. I bet you had a lot of fun researching that!

Welcome!!!

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