Turkey Trauma

I’ve found my new dream job: Butterball Turkey Hotline phone operator. The simple act of picking up a phone seems to be more rife with hysterical moments than a wedding planner’s entire June, and you’re actually helping these poor desperate people.

Last week, NPR was running example catastrophes between show segments, and the best one was a call from a guy who decided to brine his turkey in his front-loading washer. All was well until his roommate decided to do laundry in the middle of the night and dumped bleach and dirty clothes all over the brining bird. The briner wanted to know if the turkey would still be OK if they washed all the bleach off. If you don’t know the operator’s answer to that, you might want to keep that hotline phone number on you speed dial tomorrow (1-800-BUTTERBALL).

The November issue of Saveur relates a few more choice stories from Mary Clingman, a “turkey talker.” She related:

One lady was bragging that she kept her turkey in a snowbank, but it dawned on her that it had snowed again the night before and she had no clue where her turkey was. She hung up on us.

Do you think the hotline operators have a “laugh” button the way radio shows have a “cough” button?

I had my own Butterball Hotline moment the first time I made Thanksgiving dinner for my new husband and some of his displaced graduate school friends. At the time, my hotline was my mother, so my shame was confined to my family. Until I wrote about it publicly. It’s embarrassing to think about now that I’m a culinary-school grad, but the memory keeps me humble.

What turkey or Thanksgiving disasters have you experienced?

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