Metal Utensils: Iron

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Cast iron is a hard, brittle metal containing large amounts of carbon. (Wrought iron is almost pure and quite soft; it is no longer manufactured, and any modern implement that appears to be made of it is actually of mild steel.) Cast iron is a good conductor of heat, so that thick iron pans cook evenly. Rust, iron oxide, is harmless but tastes unpleasant. Iron frying pans become coated with an impervious layer of oxidized fats which have become linked to one another in a polymerized, plastic-like solid. So they are not a problem in this respect. And iron casseroles are enamelled, so they should also be problem-free.