I love Thanksgiving. Saturday I went shopping for pearl onions and sweet potatoes and bought some Yukon golds for mashed potatoes, which are a recent addition to our basic menu, first compiled in 1987 and consisting of turkey (of course) with traditional stuffing and sides of French Salad (recipe from Dola, my father-in-law’s Polish housekeeper); creamed onions (Julia Child); Sweet Potato Puree with Walnuts and Ginger (Craig Claiborne); my niece Carla’s cranberries with Grand Marnier; pumpkin pie and sometimes mincemeat pie for dessert. The past couple of years I’ve also added Ali’s mashed potatoes with Wasabi, although I may try the NY Times mashed potatoes with chives this year, smothered in turkey gravy, which I’ve begun making since I discovered that Williams Sonoma makes a great gravy base, which I use without shame. Some items can be hard to find, so I purchase them ahead of time: the ginger preserves for the sweet potatoes (Keillor makes them, but not everyone stocks them); and the gravy base (W-S has been known to run out). Also, the pearl onions can be elusive, and also outrageously expensive; a lot of stores carry them in tiny10 oz bags that sell for $3.99 each, with the result that one could end up paying more for the pearl onions than for the turkey! The past couple of years, I’ve had luck at Central Marker, where I’ve been able to purchase them in bulk at a reasonable price. That’s what I did yesterday; they were $2.99 per pound, and I bought 2 pounds. It’s a huge amount of work to make that recipe, but everyone loves it, so I always try to prepare a couple of pounds, no matter how many or how few will be sitting at my table.