When Cat Cora was growing up in a Greek family in Jackson, Miss., Thanksgiving meant "corn pudding, okra, turkey, kalamata olives and spanakopita [spinach pie] on the table," says Cora, 40. Now the Food Network's lone female Iron Chef is creating new traditions with her partner, Jennifer, 36, who helps run Cora's business, and their sons Zoran, 4, and Caje, 6 months. But some things, like Grandma's mustard, remain on their table, and Cora's Santa Barbara kitchen is filled with family during the holidays. "I do have some territorial tendencies," she admits. "But Thanks-giving is about cooking together."

1 MUST-HAVE MUSTARD
"My grandmother Alma made a mustard that friends and family coveted. I add pomegranate and use it to glaze the turkey, and on sandwiches the next day." (Get the recipe at PEOPLE.COM/CORA)

2 HEIRLOOMS
"I have china, silver, a turkey baster and a carving kit from my grandmother, who passed away at age 96. She was my best friend. These are treasures I rarely bring out, and I'm very careful with them."

3 TWO PIES
"The pecan is for me, but Jennifer has to have pumpkin. I bake both. On our first date she burned three bags of microwave popcorn. I taught her how to caramelize. Now she's an amazing cook."

4 MY SON AS SOUS-CHEF
"I love people gathering in the kitchen. My son Zoran helps make our sweet potato casserole. As long as I promise him he can eat two or three marshmallows for every one he puts on the sweet potatoes, he's very energetic."

5 THE MACY'S PARADE ON TV
"As soon as I wake up, I turn it on. I love to have it in the background. I liked Peanuts when I was young, so I always look for Snoopy."

  • Contributors:
  • Reagan Alexander/Santa Barbara,
  • Calif..