For three decades, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line has answered the desperate pleas of hundreds of thousands of holiday cooks. As you can imagine, in that time the staff of 50-plus experts has heard some pretty outlandish tales of Turkey Day mishaps, and fielded some truly bewildering questions.
Following are a few favorite conversations from the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. And if you need help this holiday season with your bird, don't forget to call 1-800-BUTTERBALL.
After discovering a turkey from 1969 in his dad’s freezer, an Alabama man called the Talk-Line to ask about the best way to cook the 30+ year-old bird. Although the Talk-Line staffer recommended the open roasting pan method to cook most turkeys, this time she suggested that the first step was to purchase a fresher fowl! This same gentleman also had in his freezer: the top of his wedding cake and a snowball from every snowstorm he'd experienced in Alabama.
One caller was well versed at walking down the aisle, but not so versed when it came to cooking her Thanksgiving turkey. The caller explained to Carol Miller, a 20-plus year Talk-Line veteran, Thanksgiving with her first husband was a bust since she forgot to thaw the turkey. She blundered Thanksgiving with her second husband when the foil pan she was using bent and slipped out of her hands leaving the feast on the floor. She was hoping the third time would be the charm so she called the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line to make sure she was doing everything right!
Some holiday chefs take extreme measures to please all guests. A caller was e-mailed a photo featuring a turkey with a “bikini look.” As she was entertaining guests from the Bahamas, she asked the Talk-Line how she could create a "tropical turkey." Believe it or not, Talk-Line vet Mary Clingman suggested using aluminum foil as a way to make the turkey look like a sun goddess!
A woman in her seventies, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, called for help because her mother said she was tired of cooking and it was time her daughter learned how to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.
A new bride cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in a small, apartment-sized oven, wanted to make sure her turkey wouldn't expand during cooking (as baked goods do), and thus get stuck in the oven.
A lady from Colorado called about “how to thaw” her frozen Butterball. She proudly shared the fact that her turkey was stored in a snow bank outside! It had snowed the night before and it then dawned on her that she didn’t have a clue which snow bank her turkey was in. At that point, the conversation was really over because she was now on a mission to go find her turkey.
One caller had always cut the legs off the turkey before putting it in the oven thinking that was how you had to cook a turkey. She later learned that the only reason her mom had been doing that was because their oven had been so small that that was the only way to get the bird into the oven!
A first-time Thanksgiving chef called Marge Klindera, a 20+ year Talk-Line veteran, in tears Thanksgiving morning last year. She was so proud to have thawed the turkey successfully and continued to rinse the turkey – with dish soap! The tears started flowing when the turkey wouldn’t stop sudsing. If only she called before she would have found out you don’t have to rinse the turkey – just pat it dry with paper towels.
One mom called in and told us about how her little girl had asked if they could slow-roast the turkey for three or four days because she liked how it made the house smell. The experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line told her that the turkey should only stay in the oven for a few hours and that it wasn’t a good idea to leave it cooking for four days!