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Turkey Talk: Online And Over The Phone, Ol' Tom Turkey Has You Covered

Cary Wolinsky
Pictured with the turkey is researcher Dr. Clinton Rubin

Many traditions have made their way to the Americas since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, but one tradition that has stayed the same is the Thanksgiving turkey. In fact, Ol’ Tom Turkey even has his own hotline.

Turkey fact: Hens are in greater demand than Toms as they have more meat on them at younger ages.

Karen, a hotline operator for Butterball said people call from all over the world with questions – everything from how big of a turkey they should get to whether or not they can defrost their turkey in their electric blanket. Some questions might be a little harder to answer.  

“A woman called me and asked me if she should invite her sister-in-law to dinner or not," Karen said. "And I had no answer for that one, what so every. What do you say to that? I thought, ‘Ooh, I don’t know, should ya?’”

She said working on the hotline has provided her with more than recipes to enjoy, it has given her memories of people who have touched her life just by calling in for help.


Her first Thanksgiving as an operator she received a call from a group of  soldiers wives who were stationed abroad and were faced with the ordeal of preparing their first Thanksgiving dinner.

“Soldiers and newlywed wives [were] trying to put together a turkey dinner," Karen said. "They had gotten a butterball turkey and they had been shipped all kinds of dried goods from their families to use but the ladies themselves had never made thanksgiving dinner so they called us for some helping hands to talk them through how to prepare the turkey, step by step, so that was kind of cool. That’s one of my favorite memories.”

Craig, from Wight Fresh Turkeys, said everyone has their own way of cooking their turkeys, but there is one rule that shouldn’t be broken.

“We just recommend that you don’t overcook them," Craig said. "We put a little pop-up timer in them and, at 180 degrees [it pops up]. When it’s done they’re done. If you go past that, then all you’re doing is just drying your bird out.”

He said turkeys are smarter than chickens, they don’t drown in the rain and they make great pets.

If you prefer to call in and speak to a live person, fancy chatting online, or just want to dive into Facebook or Twitter for your answers, your basis are covered because even though Ol’ Tom is as old as he is, he’s pretty savvy when it comes to social media.

One thing for certain this holiday season, whether it’s the first time you’re preparing your holiday feast or you just want to bounce some recipe ideas off of a seasoned chef…there is a cornucopia of hotlines to help you get it just right.