’Tis the season for gathering around the table with family and friends. But sometimes fixing that festive feast can be a little overwhelming. To make things easier for cooks who aren’t master chefs, we at Monthly have put together this simple but elegant meal that’s perfect for holiday entertaining.

“Easy” can be misleading. Yes, these festive recipes have fewer ingredients and steps than, say, a holiday meal of ham, turkey, duck or roasts with two or three side dishes and elaborate desserts, but that does not in any way mean that they are any less delicious or fall short of a pleasing presentation.

SOME MOMENTS IN LIFE CALL FOR CELEBRATION. AND SOME CELEBRATIONS CALL FOR A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA.

When you want to make a statement with your soiree, there’s nothing like gathering a few dozen of your closest friends for a lavish dinner party. The drinks flow, the food entices, the conversation buzzes and memories are made. But then it all comes to a screeching halt when you have to decide who’s going to clean up.

GO-TO ADVICE FOR WINNING WINES AND COCKTAILS

My friends, here we are again. Another year has flown by and we are staring down the barrel of the holiday season. So many presents to buy and wrap, so many meals to plan and prepare… It can be daunting, especially without the benefits of a festive tipple. But what should we drink? Here are a few tips to get you in the holiday spirit:

THIS TASTY ACORN SQUASH RECIPE SATISFIES EVERYONE’S DIET

Nov. 1 is World Vegan Day. It also kicks off World Vegan Month, which came to fruition in 1994 thanks to the efforts of Louise Wallace, then-president of The Vegan Society. The initial movement took root in 1944, when the Vegan Society was formed as an offshoot of The Vegetarian Society to highlight the differences between the two. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, while vegans take it a step further and do not consume — or often use or wear — food and products derived from animal products, such as milk, eggs and leather. Thanks to a rise in “ethical veganism,” it is no longer unusual to see vegan dishes offered on most restaurant menus or vegan products stocked on grocery store shelves.

PODCASTS DISH ON FLAVORS, HISTORY AND CULTURAL APPETITES

Podcasts seem to be cropping up everywhere, covering every subject on the planet — and for good reason. They’re free and can be listened to on your schedule using an app like iTunes, Soundcloud, Player FM, TuneIn, Google Play, Stitched, Spotify, etc. And because most podcasts run about 30 to 60 minutes, they’re not a huge time commitment. Looking for a few treats for your ears? Here are a few podcasts to snack on — though listener beware: Some of these podcasts may contain salty language.

watusifoodWONDERING WHAT TO SERVE FOR DINNER? WONDER NO LONGER, THANKS TO WATUSI CAFÉ.

Since opening in 2012, the restaurant has earned rave reviews for its breakfast and lunch menus, and now owners Cheryl and Kerri Rieck are hoping dinner will be a success, too. The sisters have crafted a diverse menu of healthy meals, plus gluten-free and vegetarian options, staying true to their vision of Watusi as a cozy environment where friends can gather after a long day to unwind over a glass of wine or hand-crafted cocktail while enjoying a delicious meal.

As part of its planned culinary institute, Technical College of the Lowcountry recently proposed a museum dedicated to the Lowcountry’s unique regional food culture, a venture it’s calling the Lowcountry Culinary Arts Interpretive Center. According to a presentation to Beaufort County Council, the museum would host rotating and permanent exhibits dedicated to area agriculture, cultural foodways and seafood heritage. In addition, the museum could be used to host cooking classes chef lectures and more.

One of the hottest culinary trends parked itself north of the Broad for the inaugural Food Truck Festival this past month. The surprising popularity of the event led to a few long lines, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for some of our area’s most popular trucks including Murican Border, Time to Eat, Lowcountry Lobstaaah and Chazito’s Latin Cuisine. Proceeds from the event benefited the Lowcountry Jaycees Camp Hope.

Local Savannah brewery SouthBound Brewing Co. will soon open a taphouse inside the Savannah-Hilton Head Island International Airport just outside security. The taphouse will not only offer a place to grab a cold local beer before a flight, it will also offer a full menu as well as pool tables. Southbound Brewing Co. opened in 2013 and offers a full suite of craft beers brewed right in Savannah. Launched in partnership with HMSHost, this represents the brewery’s first restaurant venture following new laws allowing breweries to sell direct to consumer in Georgia. For more information, visit www.southboundbrewingco.com.

Blue Heron PubThe Sea Pines Country Club unveiled the newly remodeled Blue Heron Pub and Grille at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October. The 6,250-square-foot casual dining restaurant, offering a Lowcountry-inspired menu, features a modern design with marsh views. The renovation is a part of the ongoing $2.7 million commitment to refresh the clubhouse at Sea Pines Country Club. Robbie Ames is the general manager and chief operating officer of the Sea Pines Country Club.