You can’t judge a cookbook by its cover photo, and “Autumn Gatherings,” a new cookbook by Rick Rodgers, is a case in point. The roasted turkey depicted there looks appetizing enough but makes it seem as if this is a Thanksgiving-centric book. In fact, this compact, 164-page collection is the second in a series devoted to seasonal recipes -- a focus that might sound like someone’s trying to jump on the trend wagon but turns out to be exceptionally reader- and cook-friendly.
Feeling a little autumny? Ready for some stew or soup or gratins? Wondering what to do with quinces, cardoons, butternut squash, chestnuts or pumpkin? You don’t have to hunt through 10 of your favorite cookbooks; instead grab Rodgers’ and go to it. The appealing recipes (celery root and red pepper slaw, polenta “pizza” with wild mushrooms, pork pot roast with dried figs and herbs) combine easily into menus; there are handy head notes and cooking tips throughout. The soup recipe we tried in the Times test kitchen worked perfectly. It’s mellow and garlicky and gives you that healthfulness-in-a-mug happiness so welcome at any time of year.