For generations, cooks have depended on cast iron’s durability and heat-holding capacity to make everything from pancakes to stews to fried green tomatoes. It browns food beautifully, cooks evenly, and is widely available and inexpensive. It offers health benefits, too. The author, Ruth Rohde Lively, does address its disadvantages and explains how it’s made, how it cooks, and how to find it. She also sneaks in a recipe for puff pancakes made in cast iron. A side article addresses seasoning and cleaning cast iron.