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. (Looking for a stress-free Thanksgiving? Get our FREE guide for an unforgettable Thanksgiving. You'll get easy recipes, kid-friendly crafts and games, inspiring traditions, and more ideas for the best holiday yet.)
A father in charge of thawing the turkey and bathing his toddler twins decided to hit two birds with one stone. “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,” says Nicole Johnson, Talk-Line co-director. The man was calling to find out if the bath water would be an acceptable method for thawing the turkey. (Related: Here are funny Thanksgiving quotes to share around the table.)
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. (Related: Here are tips for buying the perfect turkey.)
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!
Mother-in-law knows best
One woman called the Talk-Line from a closet so her family couldn’t hear her. “Can you hear me? I’ve never cooked a turkey, and my mother-in-law is convinced I can’t cook—and I can’t cook, but I want to do it,” she whispered. The expert walked her through all the steps, advising against basting the turkey (even though the mother-in-law insisted). Read these fixes for mistakes you'll probably make this Thanksgiving.
A few hours after his wife had give birth, a new dad called to make sure the turkey hadn’t been thawing too long while he’d been at the hospital. The Talk-Line staffer asked how much it weighed, to which the flustered father replied, “The turkey or the baby?” After determining the turkey’s weight and thawing time, she assured him he would be able to deliver a safe, delicious Thanksgiving dinner by the time mom and baby got home.
Third time's a charm
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! (Here are simple answers to the most-asked Thanksgiving questions.)
All in the family
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. (Related: Stop falling for these Thanksgiving myths that everyone believes.)
Even Santa has Turkey Day questions—he and his wife called the help line before making a showing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The jolly pair wanted to check in on the Turkey Talk-Line experts to see who was naughty and nice, plus get roasting information to make sure their bird turned out picture-perfect. “Guess the Turkey Talk-Line expert made the nice list, because Mrs. Claus was very happy with the help,” says Johnson. Here are some more hilarious things you never knew about the Macy's parade.
Realizing his oven was too small to fit his Thanksgiving turkey, a landlord came up with a solution: switch roles and “rent” one of his tenant’s ovens for $25. He figured his problems were solved, until he realized he’d have to constantly interrupt his tenant to baste the turkey. In a panic, he turned to the Turkey Talk-Line to ask how often he’d have to baste. The staffer assured the relieved landlord that just once would do the trick. Check out these genius ways you never thought to use a turkey baster.