Turkey trouble? Call Butterball's fowl hot-line

It's Thanksgiving Day. Are you in a panic about how to stuff that turkey? Relax. Help is only a phone call away.

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line (1-800-323-4848) is open all day today, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST, and 48 professionally-trained home economists and nutritionists all graduates of the Butterball University are waiting for your call.

Since its inception in 1981, the Talk-Line has helped more than 2.4 million turkey troubled callers. And, since the launching of its Internet site in 1995, nearly five million turkey cooks have gotten expert help online (www.butterball.com).

Over the years, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line staffers have had their share of memorable questions. It's 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?" he asked.

But some come pretty close.

Home alone, a Kentucky woman was in the doghouse when she called the 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.

Another woman called to find out how long it would take to roast her turkey. The Talk-Line nutritionist asked how much the bird weighed. The woman said, "I don't know, it's still running around outside."

Not all of the questions are from the twilight zone. The Butterball Talk-Line home office in Downers Grove, Ill., reports the top 10 questions they get every year are:

1. What's the best way to thaw a turkey?

2. What's the best way to roast a turkey?

3. How do you recommend safely handling a turkey?

4. Where does the meat thermometer go?

5. How do you know when the turkey is done?

6. How can leftover turkey be stored properly?

7. What do you need to do to a turkey just before roasting it?

8. What's the proper way to stuff a turkey?

9. Should I buy a fresh or frozen turkey?

10. Is it necessary to baste a turkey?

So don't stand there in a cold sweat today. Close the kitchen door and go dialing for answers. Those 48 turkey experts will be handling about 170,000 other calls on virtually every turkey topic, from thawing to carving.

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