As amateur cooks across the nation try to take on turkey, things don’t always end in golden brown deliciousness. That’s why in November of 1981, Butterball gathered their first force of six home economists to answer what turned out to be 11,000 turkey-related questions. Today the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line® now utilizes over 50 experts including Spanish speakers and men – a first this year – to answer more than 100,000 questions from distressed turkey chefs and chefs-in-training around the world.
Here are just a few quirky questions that the turkey hotline experts at 1-800-BUTTERBALL have fielded over the years:
• One caller asked if, after storing her turkey outside in colder than 40˚ F weather, it would be safe to eat. Unfortunately, an unexpected storm blew through and the turkey was lost in 10 inches of snow!
• Some callers have come up with very creative—and questionable—methods of defrosting the fowl, asking the Butterball experts if it’s safe to do so with an electric blanket, in the aquarium with the tropical fish, or even in the tub with their children!
• Hotline experts kindly explained to one caller that fresh turkey does not need to be thawed.
• A few callers have learned that chainsaw oil and bleach do not a safe and edible turkey make! Brining your turkey in the washing machine is also a questionable sanitary move.
• Some callers are on the prowl for the best way to prepare a turkey for a vegetarian.
• A new bride was concerned that her turkey would expand while cooking and get stuck in the oven. She was pleased to find out that Mr. Tom would actually shrink, if only a little.
• One truck driver was curious if he could cook his turkey on the engine block of his semi while he was driving. Even better, would faster driving mean faster cooking?
• More than once the folks at Butterball have answered calls from people in peril, asking the all-important question: “What do I do if my turkey is on fire?” The answer? Call 911.
And the crowning calls:
A woman rang the hotline in a panic because her Chihuahua had plunged itself into the turkey, and she couldn’t get it out! After trying to pull on the dog and shake the turkey to get him to fall out, she was advised to widen the hole the pooch had climbed in through and was then able to rescue him.
• Last, but definitely not least, “If I put my phone in the turkey, can you tell me if it’s done?”
They were unable to help this hopeful caller, though it wouldn’t be surprising if someday in the near future these experienced experts could tell a turkey’s tenderness over the telephone!