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Expert Voices

A prep essential for every dish

The secret to a happy Thanksgiving lies in half-quart vessels that once held Chinese soup, or, as the cognoscenti more simply call them, deli containers. Those opaque, sturdy, well-sealed cylinders — available online or in dollar stores if you don't have any stashed away — line the cook's path to mise en place nirvana.

Planning ahead will seal in success on Turkey Day. Chopped veggies, peeled potatoes (stored in water in the fridge), stuffing, chilies, shucked clams, diced Brussels sprouts — all will reside happily in the prosaic little receptacle. You may think planning is the important part, but no: The plastic containers are what matters. They make you want to plan. They offer a neatly sealed home for the raw materials on your obsessively composed checklist, so you can glide through the day waving to friends and family like the majestic creature you are. And don't forget to give thanks for all you have, and spread the love.