Tales from the Butterball Hotline

Getty Images
Getty Images

It’s 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and you just realized you forgot to thaw your turkey. What do you do?

Don’t panic. You just need to call 1-800-BUTTERBALL. Yes, the Turkey Talk-Line is real. And yes, they really do have poultry experts standing by to help you with your last-minute snafus, flubs, and foul-ups. If you wake up in a cold sweat at 2 a.m. thinking about salmonella or whether you can bathe your turkey with your toddler (see below), never fear—Butterball is there for you. And it's not just about Thanksgiving. The line is open in December, too, to help you with those holiday feasts as well.

When the hotline first opened up to panicked chefs in the early 1980s, a mere six “home economists” responded to 11,000 phone calls during November and December. These days, their staff has expanded to more than 50 and they answer more than 100,000 questions. 

Those staff members have heard it all, too. They get the typical questions you’d expect turkey experts to get, of course: How long will it take to thaw the turkey? How do I stuff a turkey? Are there any allergens in Butterball products? But there’s also the, um, unexpected.

Among the more questionable calls the turkey experts have received: “Can I brine my turkey in the washing machine?” and “The family dog is inside the turkey and can’t get out.” (It was a Chihuahua, in case you’re wondering, and the Butterball expert did manage to help the owners get the dog out safely.)

Another inexperienced caller worried that her turkey wouldn’t come out of the oven because she figured it was going to rise like bread does.

One Butterball employee actually stayed on the line while her caller walked through a grocery store and painstakingly picked out ingredients for his Thanksgiving dinner.

More recently, a hotline employee was surprised to hear from a wife who came home to find the turkey floating in the tub while her husband gave the kids a bath. Believe it or not, because the turkey hadn't been removed from the package, it was salvaged—though the kids complained about the chilly water.

Don’t feel bad if you have to call the Butterball hotline for assistance, though. Even President Bartlet knows when to call in the experts:

By the way, there’s also an option for those of you who prefer assistance in the form of written word: you can text your questions to 1-844-877-3456 through December 24. The company is also answering questions via its social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. And they've recently added Spanish-speaking experts plus their first male turkey-talker.

This post originally appeared in 2011.

Wisconsin Brewery Rolls Out a Candy Corn Beer

iStock.com/AleksandarNakic
iStock.com/AleksandarNakic

Move over, pumpkin ale. A brewery in the Milwaukee area has brewed up some candy corn beer just in time for Halloween. According to WMUR News 9, the sugary cream ale will be served on tap at the Westallion Brewing Company in West Allis, Wisconsin, throughout October.

The divisive confection is typically made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and artificial coloring, but the brewery decided to make its own flavoring. “Instead of smashing up some candy corns and throwing them in our beer, we made our own candy corn out of less beer-destructive ingredients and threw them into our beer!” the brewery said in a Facebook post. “At the base, we created a cream ale using lactose sugars to keep some sweetness, but added Simcoe hops to create a bit of a bite and a balance (and maybe help remind us that it’s still beer?).”

While candy corn beer is likely to be less popular than its seasonal pumpkin counterpart, other breweries have taken on the challenge in the past. In 2016, The Star Tribune reported that a candy corn imperial ale was “scary popular” at Urban Growler, a microbrewery in St. Paul, Minnesota. "It started as a joke three years ago when we needed to come up with a fall beer," co-owner/master brewer Deb Loch told the paper. "It went over so well that we had to make it every year."

Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida, has also made a Candy Corn IPA in the past, and one brave soul sought advice from the Homebrewtalk.com community in 2009 on how to brew an appropriate beer for a “Hate Candy Corn Party.” Some inspiration for your next Halloween bash, perhaps?

[h/t WMUR]

Find the Best Wine to Pair With Your Favorite Halloween Candy

iStock/vadimguzhva
iStock/vadimguzhva

When you're a kid, Halloween is all about the candy. Unfortunately, the more sophisticated palate that often comes with adulthood can dampen the former thrill of a holiday that’s largely about cheap scares and even cheaper candy.

Thankfully, the folks at Vivino, a popular wine app, have found a way to help elevate the Halloween candy game (and with it, your joy). Their “Halloween Candy and Wine Matchmaker” pairs popular candies, from Skittles to Swedish Fish, with wine selections, to make sure your many treats complement one another.

As Vivino founder Heini Zachariassen told The Huffington Post, "Our candy and wine matchmaker is a fun way for our users to learn and talk about wine in a way that feels relatable and fun. Besides, Halloween is scary enough, we don't think picking a wine needs to be."

The best news of all? Many of the wines and candies have multiple pairing options—which means you can try out different flavor combos faster than you can say “trick or treat.”

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