Originally, many of the various celebrations we enjoy in December were based on harvest traditions, except that now -- instead of large sheaves of wheat on wagons -- we load a shopping cart with ham, Milano cookies and Diet Coke.
Get back to real holiday food with the "Holidays & Gatherings" section of the Food Network's website (www.foodtv.com/holidays). There are full menus for international feasts, including the Italian Cennone meal and a traditional Norwegian repast. There are also instructions for creating "12 Days of Cookies," baking fruitcake and cooking up Hanukkah delights -- latkes by Emeril? The best part of the site is probably the "Leftover Alchemy" generator, where you can type in what's sitting in the fridge (turkey AND potatoes AND squash) and come up with a tasty recipe, like "Turkey in Baked Pumpkin." Yes, the holidays really are all about food.