One of the original metals used for cookware, cast iron is very efficient at absorbing and retaining heat. There are two basic styles regular and enameled. The latter, which is coated with porcelain enamel, is available in a variety of colors. Regular cast iron requires seasoning (see season) so that it won’t react with or absorb the flavors of some foods cooked in it. Seasoning, which is a simple process of rubbing the inside of a pan with cooking oil and heating it for an hour in a moderate oven, gives cast iron a natural nonstick finish. Clean cast iron pans by first wiping them clean with a paper towel or soft cloth and, if necessary, gently scrubbing with a nylon pad.