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Saving Thanksgiving: There's a Hotline You Can Call if You Need a Turkey Crisis Counselor

11-23-2022
Thanksgiving dinner (Adobe stock image)

Turkey is the center of the Thanksgiving meal, so what do you do when there are poultry problems in the kitchen?

Call the turkey helpline, of course. 

There's a whole team of trained experts on standby, just waiting so solve your culinary crisis.

Since 1981, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line has been solving cooking conundrums for families across the U.S.

Don't want to burn the bird? No problem. 

Hoping to avoid sending your guests home with food poisoning? Easy fix.

What began with a small team of six "rescue operators" has grown to over 50 trained experts that can be reached at 1-800-BUTTERBALL, by text via (1-844-877-3456), Amazon Alexa, and pretty much every social media platform, including TikTok, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"People come to this job, and they just really enjoy it,"  Phyllis Kramer told the outlet. 

The retired home economics instructor turned 19th season talk-live veteran added, "It's like being a teacher in the best of times. People are so gracious and thankful. They want to get this meal right. They don't want any stress or problems. It's nice, sometimes, to just talk it over with somebody."
 
The self-dubbed "turkey tutors" go through Butterball University training each October to help you to avoid Thanksgiving meal mayhem. 

Nicole Johnson, Talk-Line co-director told Reader's Digest they've encountered some very unusual questions over the year. She recalled a man who called the hotline because he wanted to defrost his bird and bathe his twin toddlers.

"We could hear water splashing in the background, and turns out he has his kids and the turkey in the tub all at the same time," she said. 

According to the outlet, he was calling to find out if bath water would be an acceptable method for thawing the turkey. 

Another gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chainsaw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey.

And another caller dialed up the hotline to say he does not suggest defrosting the turkey in a pool because when he went to check on it, it was missing. 

However, you can beat a Turkey disaster this holiday season by following these tips:

1. Use a meat thermometer

Chris Anderson, a Jennie-O turkey crisis counselor says this is the best way to ensure your bird is cooked.

2. Thaw it ahead of time

Take the bird out now! Anderson advises thawing it in the refrigerator between two and five days depending on the size of the turkey, but you can use the cold-water method if you are running behind schedule. 

3. Enjoy Your Meal

Anderson advises against stressing over the holiday meal and give yourself some grace.

"Those unique elements are what make your Thanksgiving special," he told Bon Appétit. "Not whether the turkey skin is perfectly browned and Instagrammable."

If you find yourself in some trouble and the Butterball hotline is too busy–don't worry. 

JENNIE-O has a hotline too.

You can reach them at 1-800-TURKEYS or text the word TURKEY to 73879.

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