As we developed recipes for this issue — from the deep-fried spicy Thai chicken wings to the slow-cooked Brazilian fish stew — we relied heavily, as always, on our Le Creuset cookware. Take the signature casserole, the French Oven: It heats up evenly, retains that heat, and transfers from stovetop to oven to table better than any pot we know. At the Le Creuset factory in northern France, they keep an example like the one pictured here on hand, with a portion cut away to reveal a cross-section of the materials employed in its design. Le Creuset's artisans have been making pots this way since 1925, pouring molten metal into black sand molds, which are destroyed after the casting process and recycled for future use. The cast iron is then covered with layers of vitreous enamel. Here's a closer look at how that engineering produces such consistently stellar results.