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The Holiday Dish

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Not to be alarmist, but in case you haven't noticed, it's already Dec. 10. That means Hannukah begins in just six days. Christmas Eve is a mere two weeks away. Kwanzaa starts on Dec. 26. And, for the rest of you, Festivus arrives Dec. 23.

We've certainly noticed that this month of family get-togethers is in full swing. That's why this edition of DISH, our special quarterly section, has a holiday theme. After all, whatever December occasion you celebrate, they all have a central thread of family and togetherness. And, of course, family and togetherness usually involves food, especially here in the South where "Are you hungry? Can I fix you a plate?" basically means "I love you."

In this issue:

• Emma Laperruque recalls the Jewish Christmases of her past, and seeks out appropriate places to celebrate it in the Triangle. You'll appreciate both the memories and the General Tso's chicken recommendations. It begins on this page.

• Greg Barbera suggests some winter seasonals from your local bottle shop that are tasty brews for this time of year whether you're taking some to a holiday party or just sipping something while decorating your house. Then again, based on last weekend, they also taste pretty good when you're just hanging out and watching TV. Pop it open on page 16.

• Curt Fields embarks on a search for gifts a foodie would love and finds far more. Enjoy his discoveries on page 18.

• We also provide a few recipes that have been tried and loved through generations. If you don't already have a go-to dish, or maybe you just want a change of pace, try one of these treats that can help make you a star at the next holiday potluck. Find them on page 21.

So dive in and enjoy.

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Merry Jewish Christmas: an insider's guide to the unofficial holiday

Nothing takes us back like holiday treats

Seasonal brews bring tasty options for gift-giving or, better yet, gift-receiving

A simple gift search revealed a galaxy of utensils undiscovered

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