The home in rural Eire I visited yearly when my daughter was small had a variety cooker which burned turf from peat bogs.

It should have been 50 years outdated even then, however offered all of the heating and sizzling water for our conventional cottage.

It was actually the guts of the house and there was even a nickname for anybody who huddled too shut — they have been referred to as an ‘ashy pet’. My daughter — an ashy pet if ever there was one — grew as much as develop into a chef and is, not surprisingly, a range-cooking aficionado.

She defined to me: ‘Agas actually lure the moisture, so they’re good for roasts. You may put in a complete rooster with no oil or butter and it’ll come out completely cooked in addition to supplying you with a jugful of pan juices for gravy.

‘It’s good for muffins and bread baking, too, all of the traditional British dishes.’

She just isn’t alone in her devotion to the Aga, which turns 100 this 12 months. Paul Hollywood has one and Mary Berry wrote what continues to be the traditional Aga cookbook.

Dame Mary Berry wrote what is still the classic Aga cookbook in 1999, to keep Aga cookery 'up to date' so it 'need no longer be confined to stews and casserole'

 Dame Mary Berry wrote what continues to be the traditional Aga cookbook in 1999, to maintain Aga cookery ‘updated’ so it ‘want not be confined to stews and casserole’

And for a lot of extra of us beginner cooks, it’s the final higher middle-class fantasy: the Aga within the farmhouse kitchen, bread baking and two labradors snoozing alongside. There are even best-selling novels — Aga Sagas — that remember the approach to life. Absolutely no different kitchen equipment has impressed its personal fiction style?

And but as editor of Good Housekeeping, I noticed one other facet to the aspirational Aga dream.

We have been besieged with questions from readers battling to make fashionable recipes work on this conventional equipment.

Meringues, after all, and muffins have been the same old supply of grief, Victoria sponges that went flat or fruit muffins that burned rock onerous.

We advised the readers to disregard all timings within the recipe and hold checking and testing as in the event that they have been a Nice British Bake Off contestant.

The principle disadvantage for me is the shortage of an oven door window. I’ve woken within the evening prior to now with the realisation that there’s a pound of sausages nonetheless cooking away to a cinder.

A blue Aga cooker in a modern kitchen. These ovens can set you back between £4,000 and £20,000 depending on the number of cookers and different fuel types

A blue Aga cooker in a contemporary kitchen. These ovens can set you again between £4,000 and £20,000 relying on the variety of cookers and completely different gasoline varieties

Then there have been the evenings I sat hungrily in a North London kitchen whereas a flustered hostess tried to steer the vary cooker that took up half her kitchen (and value as a lot as a small automotive) to boil some water for pasta at a cocktail party.

I spoke to that good friend this week and the demon cooker has chosen January to interrupt down, so she was ready for a fitter to return out, freezing chilly and unable to prepare dinner.

Sadly we have been unable to put in an Aga on the Good Housekeeping Institute. The cast-iron body made them too heavy for security on our second-floor premises. We feared one would fall via to the flooring under!

So, after we opened a brand new Institute in 2014, on the bottom flooring, I insisted we set up a state-of-the-art Complete Management Aga. It was a chic pearl gray, ran on mains electrical energy and could possibly be turned on and off from a cell phone. It made the take a look at kitchen superbly heat and cosy when it was on however took hours, not minutes, to heat up — therefore the necessity for distant management in case you are out of the home for a lot of the day.

This lengthy warm-up time just isn’t power environment friendly. A fan oven can attain 200c (392f) in simply 5 minutes — that’s sizzling sufficient for oven chips. Everhot makes a less expensive and — it says — extra energy-efficient different to the Aga or Rayburn, however its ranges can nonetheless take a few hours to heat up. We used our Aga to triple-test recipes, however its most-used operate was as a chic backdrop in photograph and video shoots.

An 'Ideal Home Exhibition' in 1968, showing children playing in a kitchen containing an Aga cooker on show at the exhibition

An ‘Preferrred Residence Exhibition’ in 1968, exhibiting kids taking part in in a kitchen containing an Aga cooker on present on the exhibition

And therein lies the unstated reality, which makes me marvel if Agas will nonetheless maintain their place in Center England’s coronary heart for an additional 100 years.

You see, an Aga is solely not for me, nor for the life I lead. I’m too lifelike to spend a four-figure sum on what may change into a kitchen decoration.

Sure, the producer has made immense strides to carry its cookers into the twenty first century — with choices comparable to induction hobs and extra fan ovens — however the reality is that their fundamental attraction is visible. For many of us, cooking in an Aga requires an excessive amount of dedication. You may’t simply pop a dish within the oven, set the timer and overlook about it.

As my daughter says: ‘They will make the kitchen far too sizzling in the summertime. You may’t see via the oven door and they’re completely different day-after-day — even the wind blowing outdoors makes a distinction to the cooking temperature. It’s no good setting a timer and strolling away, you must study to prepare dinner the right method by odor, judging texture and color.’

If you are able to do that, the outcomes are superb, however too few of us have the talents — or the time.

The Aga was invented by Swedish Nobel prize-winning physicist, Gustaf Dalen in 1922, after he had been blinded in an accident and, while convalescing at home, realised that traditional cooking ranges were dangerous and dirty

The Aga was invented by Swedish Nobel prize-winning physicist, Gustaf Dalen in 1922, after he had been blinded in an accident and, whereas convalescing at dwelling, realised that conventional cooking ranges have been harmful and soiled

In 1922, the Aga was the epitome of recent comfort. It was invented by Swedish Nobel prize-winning physicist, Gustaf Dalen. He had been blinded in an accident and, whereas convalescing at dwelling, realised that conventional cooking ranges have been harmful and soiled.

So he set about inventing a protected and dependable technique to put together household meals and warmth the house: the Aga was born.

The primary Agas arrived within the UK in 1929, the place they proved instantly in style. They have been completely suited to damp British nation homes and, in 1957, manufacturing moved to Shropshire, the place it stays right this moment.

They’ve come a good distance in 100 years — shifting from utilizing coal to fashions working on gasoline or electrical energy. However regardless of technological advances, Agas devour much more power than a standard oven — as much as 38 occasions extra, even for the smallest electrical fashions. Not good in occasions of rising costs and local weather change.

In what could possibly be a scene from a type of ever-popular Aga Saga novels, I’m penning this within the kitchen of my transformed barn within the Chilterns.

Exterior, it’s chilly and wintry. Inside, we’re heat and comfortable, there’s a loaf of home made bread left to rise and two canine snooze at my toes.

There may be one factor lacking from this bucolic picture . . . there isn’t a Aga, simply an energy-efficient German oven with 12 completely different settings — even one for proving bread dough.