“To baste, or not to baste, that is the question."

Can you imagine the calls that Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts get when it comes to advice on baking the perfect Thanksgiving bird?

First of all, no question is too dumb. And second of all, just when you think you’ve heard it all, it’s another first-time cooking calamity.

I would love to help them out with “talk turkey” questions.

“Hello, how many hours should I cook my turkey?”

“How much does your husband weigh?”

“He weighs about 219 pounds, why?

“Well normally, the general rule is around 15 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey at 325ºF. When was the last time he ate?”

“I don’t know, the turkey’s dead.”

“No, I mean your husband. Is he stuffed?”

“Well he ate some breakfast, but he generally eats on and off all day.”

“Are we back to talking about the turkey or your husband?”

“The turkey’s still dead, my husband eats all day.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere! Did he forget your birthday or anniversary this year?”

“He always forgets our anniversary. Listen I need to get this turkey in the oven.”

“Just one more question? Is he sitting in the recliner watching a football game while you’re cooking?”

“That’s where he always is. But he did help me peel some sweet potatoes.”

“Listen sweetheart, I’ll bet you’ve got the checkbook or credit card. Tell him you’ve got to run to the store. Go buy yourself something nice to wear to dinner. Bring him back a single hamburger, no fries. Let him eat that appetizer while you get in that nice new dress and tell him you’re going out somewhere nice to eat for Thanksgiving. If he says ‘no.’ Hit him with a hammer. Stuff him with a couple sweet potatoes. Bake him for 54 hours and 45 minutes and feed him to the cat. Thanks for calling Butterball.”

I’m a natural.

If you’re still afraid your turkey cooking question will sound silly, here’s a couple of hilarious stories from Butterball’s Talk-Line which ran in Reader’s Digest.

One lady called and said she had nine slow cookers plugged into her kitchen outlet. She wanted to know if she was going to blow a fuse. She was told to tell her husband to go get nine fire extinguishers.

The cooking lesson in this story is that the kids are always watching. Seems the parents of a newly married couple arrived at their home for their first Thanksgiving meal cooked by the newlyweds. One of the dads noticed the turkey thawing in the sink in cold water with a dish drainer and a rubber mat on top of it all. Her dad inquired why she was thawing the turkey that way. She said that was the way her mom thawed the bird. The mother’s response: “Well, yes, but we had a cat!” Meow!

One year a man called using the Talk-Line as more of a confessional, not really asking a question. He was letting the expert on the call know that, in his experience, the cold water-thaw method doesn’t really work. Curious, the Talk-Line operator asked what he meant because they use that thaw method all of the time at Butterball. His response: “I put it in the pool and when I came back it was missing.”

After discovering a turkey from 1969 in his dad’s freezer, an Alabama man called the Butterball hotline to ask about the best way to cook the 30+-year-old bird. Advisors gave him two options: McDonald’s or Wendy’s.

Another gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chainsaw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey. I guess he also asked about the sawdust stuffing.

Good luck with cooking your turkey. (And don’t forget the chainsaw bar oil)

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