Where to begin?

Tis the season, so with sauce. Which for a downright delicious, tart-sweet payoff requires very little work – 10 minutes, tops, most of that waiting for the berries to swell and not quite burst. And very few ingredients – berries, water, sugar. You can make the sauce your own in a dozen ways: add a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean or a star anise pod. Swap out the water for orange or apple juice – or, come to think of it, Zinfandel. Add cardamom and pears or kumquats and candied ginger. And on and on and on. And did I mention cranberry sauce always looks ravishing?

But don’t limit yourself to sauce. Make cranberry curd. Follow a recipe for lemon curd but use the berries in place of the citrus. (Nigella Lawson has an easy and excellent recipe for this in “How to Be a Domestic Goddess.”) Eat the curd with scones, on toast or spread it between layers of orange-flavored birthday cake. I’ve been known to eat most of a jar with a spoon.

Turn on your stove and bake. Pecan pie may be the world’s most cloying dessert. I’ve never understood why we eat it by tradition after turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, creamed spinach and cloverleaf rolls. My belly hurts just writing that sentence. But add a cup of fresh cranberries with the nuts, and pecan pie is transformed. Include chopped fresh cranberries in oatmeal cookies or blondies. Bake Dorie Greenspan’s Cranberry Lime Galette (find the recipe in “Baking: From My Home to Yours”); it’s the best, most grown-up Thankgiving dessert. Ever. Scatter your Thanksgiving centerpiece with festive frosted cranberries. To make, leave the berries overnight in cooled simple syrup, drain, toss in coarse-grained sugar, and let dry in a single layer for a few hours. Scatter.

What am I thankful for this year at Thanksgiving? Cranberries. (And they grow right here in Maine, too.)