Nothing acts as a more impressive centrepiece to a traditional kitchen than a cast iron AGA cooker; and even the sleekest, smoothest and straight-edged modern kitchen is incomplete without a selection of cast iron skillets and pots.
Here are five reasons why we believe that cast iron fits perfectly into your new Squarepeg kitchen.
The first thing any fan of cast iron will tell you is how their favourite pan can last a lifetime - several lifetimes, in most cases. With proper care, a cast iron skillet can be used repeatedly, and forever.
It’s not uncommon to hear of cast iron pans made in the 20th century still being bought and used today, thanks to the ease with which even the oldest cast iron pan can be re-seasoned and brought back to life.
Many people are put off from owning cast iron cookware due to the myths surrounding the difficulty of maintaining it, but the reality is that with just a small degree of effort, it will retain the same quality as from the day it was made.
2) Impressive Centrepiece
We challenge anyone to walk into a kitchen and not be impressed by the timeless design and imposing reputation of an AGA cooker.
Not only that, but just as your cast iron cookware can go on for many decades, an AGA cooker boasts longevity unlike any other oven or heater; 50 years is considered young in the lifetime of an AGA.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and as an AGA cooker can both heat your home and cook your food, a bespoke kitchen by Squarepeg built around an AGA is a heart bursting to the brim with character and purpose.
Dietary fads, the latest superfoods and increasingly bizarre exercise routines are always in the news, telling us how to live a more healthy life. But the health benefits of your choice of cookware is rarely considered.
Cooking with cast iron has been proven by the American Dietetic Association to naturally boost the amount of dietary iron found in food. In one extreme example, making a tomato-based spaghetti sauce in a cast iron pan can increase the dietary iron content from 0.6mg/100g to 5.7mg/100g.
This is especially beneficial to people at risk of iron deficiency, such as anemics, pregnant women and teenage girls. Of course, the opposite may be true for those people with haemochromatosis (iron overload), who should avoid cooking with cast iron.
Making sizzling burgers under a grill, searing a perfect medium-rare sirloin, baking a giant gooey skillet cookie or frying up a thick cheese and ham omelette for breakfast; nothing is out of reach of this most versatile of all cookware.
The most loyal cast iron fans are also likely to invest in at least one enamel coated dish, as expensive as they often are. These dishes add another string to the already overloaded cast iron bow, as they allow season-free cooking, easier maintenance and virtual immunity to rust.
Many recipes even call exclusively for cast iron, as they allow for meats to be seared and dishes to be transferred to ovens for slow cooking. Pizzas, breakfast hashes, cakes, pot pies and pasta; cast iron can do it all.
5) Energy Efficient
One of the most common, and erroneous, objections levelled against cast iron cookers is that they use up much more energy than a conventional cooker, and are therefore unkind to the environment.
However, a kitchen with an AGA cooker is a kitchen in need of far fewer extra appliances. An AGA can do the job of several radiators, an iron, a kettle, a toaster and a tumble dryer. So while your gas bills might go up a bit, your electric bill will tumble.
Fewer appliances means more space for other things you really need and more creative freedom when designing your new Squarepeg kitchen. Furthermore, the more modern ranges of AGA cookers are programmable, meaning they don’t need to be left on for extended periods of time.
Still not convinced? We’ll leave the parting words to the nation’s favourite kitchen queen, the irreplaceable Mary Berry, who says the AGA’s simmering oven is the ideal way to ensure your pastries don’t come out with “soggy bottoms.”
Here at Squarepeg Designs, we know how to create great, bespoke kitchens with you in mind - and we insist on bringing in some cast iron. Our specialist team of London-based designers and cabinet makers work hard to bring traditional craft values to each of our projects. Get in touch!