Signature Dish

Anna Baranowski with her famous cranberry sauce in White Plains, New York.André Baranowski

I'm the kind of cook who's always looking for new twists on holiday foods, but there's one dish on my Thanksgiving table that I'm not allowed to mess with: my cranberry sauce. "You can do something in addition to it," my son Maciek told me in my kitchen in White Plains, New York, last year when he sensed that I might want to change the recipe, "but not instead of it." I started making this sauce soon after my husband, Andre, and I moved to the United States from Poland in 1981; that year, a friend invited us over for the holiday and I loved the tart sauce that he served with the meat. We don't use cranberries in Poland; if there's a fruit sauce with a roast, it's usually made with lingonberries. The next year, I made Thanksgiving dinner in my own kitchen, and I experimented with a bunch of different recipes to make my own sauce. I added brandy for depth and black peppercorns to warm up the tart flavor. The dish goes well with all the different kinds of turkey and sides I've served over the years. Maciek, who usually finishes the sauce on leftover turkey sandwiches, got married recently. I gave my recipe to the newlyweds; I figured that if he makes my cranberry sauce next year, he might finally let me try something new. _—Anna Baranowski, a gemologist in White Plains, New York _