Meals like Thanksgiving are a highlight of my year, something I look forward to making weeks before it gets here. You know I love to cook, but Thanksgiving gives me an excuse to go all out and buy those exotic ingredients it would be too expensive to include everyday. This year the meal will be at my friend Sarah’s house so most of the food will be made tonight. I did my shopping on Tuesday and I think I was there two hours. I got lucky with Fred Meyer and found wholesale hazelnuts. I’ve made Tom Douglas’ mayonnaise over asparagus for three years and every year it comes with blanching a bunch of stubborn hazelnuts, and that’s more work than it sounds like. Another of it’s unusual ingredients is star anise, which costs you eight dollars to get as a seasoning bottle but 60 cents if you get just what you need from the spice bins. Every grocery store should have a spice bin. Then there was Bosch pears, tricky to find at that store but essential to the cranberry-pear relish (so is cardoman, also not common). Sorry, regular pears are too mushy. My menu can sound ambitious but I’ve made everything I’m doing this year at least five times already so I’m confident the results will satisfy despite being in a new kitchen. And my turkey is fresh. I think most of the horror stories I hear about turkeys not cooking right comes from buying frozen turkeys, I think it’s too risky. Will you remember to brine your turkey? Keeping it in cold saltwater overnight will give you a crispier skin when you roast it the next day. Enough food snobbery. Enjoy your holiday.