Turkey Day can be a little nerve-racking for a new cook, or if you have a houseful of guests and you're trying to make everything come out perfect. No one ever said family gatherings were easy, it's just that our Moms and Grandmothers made it look that way! Practice made for perfect meals, but in reality they probably flubbed up on many occasions before they got it under control!
Uncle Tracey, Aunt Zesta and cousins Shirley, Patsy and Betty
I was talking to my cousin Patsy the other day and I told her I sure wished I could bake a pie like her Mom, Aunt Zesta. She was a master of pie making, each slice picture perfect. I don't think there was a pie college that all of my female relatives graduated from, but they all had degrees in crust making and filling finesse. Aunt Joy, Aunt Hope and of course my Mom and Grandmothers could turn out a holiday meal in two shakes of a Revere Wear pan. And they did it with everyone in the family underfoot in their little kitchens!
Shirley, Betty, Patsy and my brother Sheldon
Our family compiled a cookbook years ago, it was the brainchild of my dear Aunt Joy who loved to cook for all of us. As I turned to "Desserts" to look for pie recipes, I couldn't help but notice just how fat that chapter was! There are 6 recipes for pie crust, each a little different from the others. Hmmm, I've had all of these through the years and they were all Blue Ribbon good, so what's the real secret? Maybe, just maybe it's the hands that made it and the love that was rolled inside.
Uncle Tracey, my Dad and Uncle Walton
Just in case you are the cook this year and you have a few questions that need answering.... here's a list of hotlines and websites that might just save you from making the meal a "learning experience!" Most of these have a hotline and email that works all throughout the holiday season so keep this list handy.
All times below are Central time.
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: (888) 674-6854. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays year round; 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; recorded food safety messages available 24 hours a day. Email email@example.com. The website features tip sheets and an automated response system available 24/7, including "Ask Karen."
National Turkey Federation: Recipes, FAQs, chef demos, tips galore.Eatturkey.com.
Butterball Turkey Talk Line: (800) 288-8372. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through next Wednesday; 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays Nov. 23-Dec. 26, plus the weekend before Christmas; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 24. Butterball.comfeatures tips, recipes and FAQs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with other Thanksgiving cooks on Facebook.com/Butterball or follow @Butterball on Twitter.
Honeysuckle White Turkey Line: (800) 810-6325. 24 hours daily during the holiday season. Recorded messages on a variety of topics. Honeysucklewhite.com has tips, recipes, FAQs. Live help from a consumer response specialist, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, (800) 532-5756 (not Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day).
Jennie-O Turkey Hotline:(800) 621-3505. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays. Jennieo.com has recipes, tips and FAQs.
Reynolds Turkey Tips Hotline: (800) 745-4000. 24 hours daily during the holidays. Recorded messages on thawing and roasting turkey. More at reynoldskitchens.com.