By Marion Sullivan

By the end of September, college football is well under way and the calendar of special fall activities is full. Everything is sandwiched between work week and school days, however, so entertaining and tailgating need to be easy while still enjoyable. If you want a little inspiration, these two cookbooks might do the trick.

“Martha’s American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation’s Most Treasured Dishes, From Coast to Coast.” The scope of Martha Stewart’s (and her company’s) published work ranges from fancy catering to down-home picnics. In this themed book, Stewart divides our country’s cuisine into regions. For casual weekend entertaining, it sure is handy to have access to her creativity.

Plan a football party around the foods of the West for a change. Give it a Cali slant and start with Pisco Punch and a couple of kinds of guacamole. Dish up some Grilled Fish Tacos and Tri Tip Steaks with Chimicurri Sauce. And put out a basket of Hazelnut Cookies for the final sweet bite. When it gets colder, let Stewart take you to the Northeast for Cape Codders and Manhattans with New England Clam Chowder and Philly Cheesesteaks. The book is chock-full of ideas. Hardcover. Clarkson Potter/Publishers. $40.

“The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A Treasury of Timeless, Delicious Recipes.” Lodge Manufacturing has been producing cast-iron pans in South Pittsburg, Tenn., since 1896. That precious well-seasoned black skillet that you inherited from your grandmother is most probably a Lodge. You know it as the best thing ever for cooking fried chicken and cornbread, but here you’ll find many more uses. Among the 200 recipes are great ones for weekend entertaining, such as Miller Union chef Steven Satterfield’s one-pot Savannah Red Rice With Andouille Sausage and Shrimp and Jane Gaither’s Pimiento Cheese Panini. Plus there’s a whole chapter on outdoor cooking. Semi-hard cover. Oxmoor House. $24.95.

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