Susan Spungen, author of the forthcoming Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook, is a master at creating the small, simple details that can transform a recipe—like using a single, beautiful herb sprig to adorn a sweet potato biscuit. Here, her inviting holiday menu.


WINE On Thanksgiving it's tempting to pick a middle-of-the-road wine or two—an easygoing Chardonnay, a light red. But a vivid menu like this one calls for equally unabashed wines. For a white, try a heady, aromatic Gewürztraminer from California. Handley's 2004 suggests spiced pears; the 2004 Chateau St. Jean is more floral and zesty. For a red, go all out with a big, single-vineyard Zinfandel, rich enough for stuffing and gravy, and as fruity as fresh cranberry sauce. Try the briary, blackberry-rich 2002 Quivira Anderson Ranch or the 2002 St. Francis Pagani Vineyard Reserve; made from grapes from a vineyard planted over 100 years ago, it's full of voluptuous black raspberry and chocolate flavors.
—Ray Isle