Thanksgiving is here—which means it’s time to brave the grocery store crowds, check your cupboards, and make sure everyone who comes will contribute—whether it’s paper plates, drinks or garnishes.
When you’re cooking and something big goes wrong, like if you accidentally fry your turkey too close to your house or your gravy catches fire on the stove, don’t hesitate—just call 911 right away.
But if your questions are more along the lines of “when should I start defrosting my turkey” or “how long do I roast a turkey in the oven?” there are several online hotlines and live chats you can consult in case you are ashamed to call an adult.
Here is a list of helpful hotlines:
- Butterball Turkey Talk Hotline: Established more than 40 years ago, the long-running hotline allows those who aren’t strong in the kitchen but are trying their best to call or text with questions. The Butterball website also has a helpful calculator converter that can help you with Turkey Roasting 101. The site also has prep videos and instructions on how to season. Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL or text 844-877-3456 to speak with their turkey experts.
- Food52 FAQ and Discussion Board: The popular foodie website is here to answer questions or point you in the right direction with tips and best practices.
- Ask Betty: No one makes boxed desserts like Betty Crocker. The Ask Betty chat room is open year-round and is especially helpful for Thanksgiving desserts, both traditional and seasonal. Just type in your answer and the hints fill in Ask Jeeves style.
- King Arthur’s Baker’s Hotline: Don’t ruin your grandma’s yeast bun recipe by trying to be fancy. If you mess up the ingredients or baking isn’t your forte, this flour company is here to walk you through it. You can call (855) 371-2253, email or chat online to speak with their expert bakers.
- Jennie-O’s Talking Turkey Call Center: This division of Hormel Foods has live chat, text messaging and Butterball-like phone operation. “Call 1-800-TURKEYS or text ‘TURKEY’ to 73876. Consumer engagement experts are happy to answer your questions and help you in the kitchen,” according to their website.
- USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: If the government can’t help you, who can? The Department of Agriculture’s 1-800 hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. You can call 1-888-674-6854 or email [email protected].
- Food Network also has a list of “10 Sanity-Saving Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Thanksgiving” that you should bookmark.
Don’t want to be on hold? Here’s a list of dangerous habits to avoid while preparing a Thanksgiving feast, according to the USDA:
- Do not wash your hands or kitchen surfaces before, during and after preparing food.
- Using the same cutting boards and utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
- Defrosting your turkey on the kitchen counter.
- Cook your turkey overnight on low.
- Relying only on pop-up temperature indicator; use a meat thermometer to make sure the thickest part of the bird is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stuffing your turkey the night before.
- Keeping leftovers for more than a week.
“Safe steps in handling, cooking and storing food are essential to prevent foodborne illness. You cannot see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that can cause illness,” the USDA website states. “At every step of food preparation, follow the four guidelines to keep food safe.”
Four easy steps:
- Cleaning — Wash hands and surfaces frequently.
- Separate — Do not cross-contaminate.
- Cook – Cook to appropriate temperatures, checking with a food thermometer.
- Cool down – Cool down quickly.
Remember – no one likes dry turkey and burnt macaroni and cheese, and there’s no shame in asking for help. Happy Thanksgiving!