Over the years, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line staff have had their share of memorable calls — inquiries that stand out from the crowd because they’re heartwarming or amusing. We asked some of the veteran staff members to tell us their favorites; plus, we rounded up a bunch of our own personal favorites from the Talk-Line archives.
Its hard to beat the call from a trucker who planned to cook his Thanksgiving turkey on the engine of his truck (‘Will it cook faster if I drive faster?’), but some of these come pretty close. Warning: do not attempt to adjust your screen — these are real incidents, true stories — from the front lines!
* Home alone, a Kentucky woman was in the doghouse when she called the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. While preparing the turkey, her Chihuahua jumped into the bird’s body cavity and couldn’t get out. She tried pulling the dog and shaking the bird, but nothing worked. She and the dog became more and more distraught. After calming the woman down, the Talk-Line home economist suggested carefully cutting the opening in the cavity of the turkey wider. It worked and Fido was freed!
* Birdie, eagle and turkey? Roasting a turkey doesn’t have to interfere with the daily routine, so said a retired Floridian. He called’ Turkey Central’ for turkey grilling tips while waiting to tee off from the 14th hole.
* Taking turkey preparation an extra step, a Virginian wondered,’ How do you thaw a fresh turkey?’ The Talk-Line staffer explained that fresh turkeys aren’t frozen and don’t need to be thawed.* Don’t wait until the last minute! On Thanksgiving Day, a Georgian woman took the’ Be prepared’ motto to heart. She had just agreed to host Thanksgiving Dinner and called the Talk-Line a year ahead of time for turkey tips.
* Happy Thanksgiving, President Clinton! A Southern woman called to comment,’ On Thanksgiving Day, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is more important than the President. He can take the day off, but the Talk-Line staff can’t.’ (The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is open Thanksgiving Day, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Standard Time.)
* Thanksgiving Dinner on the run. A woman called 1-800-323-4848 to find out how long it would take to roast her turkey. To answer the question, the Talk-Line home economist asked how much the bird weighed. The woman responded,’ I don’t know, it’s still running around outside.’
* Tofu turkey? No matter how you slice it, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without turkey. A restaurant owner in California wanted to know how to roast a turkey for a vegetarian menu.
* White meat, anyone? A West Coast woman took turkey preparation to extremes by scrubbing her bird with bleach. Afterward, she called the Talk-Line to find out how to clean off the bleach. To her dismay, she was advised to dispose of the turkey.
* A young girl called on behalf of her mother who needed roasting advice. To provide approximate roasting times, the home economist asked what size the turkey was. Without asking her mother the little girl paused, then replied,’ Medium.’
* A novice turkey-cooking chef wanted to know if the yellow netting and wrapper around the turkey should be removed before roasting. Envisioning a melted plastic turkey blob, the home economist responded,’ Yes,’ then offered complete roasting directions.