The Aga – every Sussex housewife needs one

When we bought the house there was an Aga in the kitchen.

I had never wanted one, knew they were not the best on fuel efficiency and thought they were for women (and men, of course) with pseudo farmhouse kitchens and a chocolate labrador trained to lie artfully in front of it.

But I was informed by all and sundry that I would fall in love with it, and I freely admit I have.

For the first few months I didn’t realise that the two hot plates on the top were at different temperatures and that if you cook on the top you lose such a lot of heat from the ovens.

If I had been told that, it would have confirmed to me that they were a pretentious waste of time and energy.

But I did work out the Aga was a marvellous way of drying clothes.

Living in Brussels, I did a lot of cooking for large numbers and came back here with three large roasting tins.

One is still used for cooking but the other two hold knickers and socks respectively so they can ‘saut√©’ gently on the top of the Aga.

Now I have learned to cook with it, I look forward to putting the Aga back on after a summer with a pretty crappy electric cooker.

It exudes warmth and comfort and the promise of a casserole – of course it is still not very energy efficient but splendidly nice when the wind is howling and the rain drumming on the roof.

(We avoided the chocolate labrador trap but fell into one set by a black and white mutt who tries her best to look like an Aga accessory.)