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Heading off holiday dinner disasters
by Alex Carrier

If you are facing an  imminent culinary catastrophe, here are some turkey 911 websites and phone numbers you can call for last minute emergencies. I have rated them for ease and information.

If you want to talk turkey, visit the National Turkey Federation. Everything (and more) you want to know about turkey preparation, storage, safety and yes, leftovers. Very easy to navigate and no pop-ups. Go directly to the how-to-guide for the holidays if you are in a hurry.

The government is ready to help from USDA Meat and Poultry. You can also get help by calling toll-free 1-888-674-6854. Normal hours of operation are 10:00AM to 4:00PM ET weekdays. Recognizing America’s need for special help on Thanksgiving, the USDA operates the hotline on that holiday only from 8:00AM to 2:00PM ET.

Turkey producers have any number of ways for you to get help. Butterball has their turkey talkline (1-800-Butterball) open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. Normal hours are 8:00AM-8:00PM weekdays and 8:00AM-6:00PM weekends.

Thanksgiving dinnerButterball  has lots of recipes and tips. Easy to navigate and no pop-ups. Check out the holiday guide for coloring placemats for the kids and neat ideas for decorating and napkin folding.  Their hotline 1-800-Butterball is open 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM CST on Thanksgiving Day.

Perdue Farms gives good information. It is not as home-consumer oriented as the Butterball site but is easy to navigate.  Interesting ways to serve not just the turkey but a chicken if you want something different. Their hotline 1-800-4Perdue is open 9:30AM –6:00PM weekdays.

Tyson had a website with recipes but nothing special for Thanksgiving. The site is sometimes slow but fairly simple to navigate.  ConAgra Foods has  lots of recipes.

Since turkey alone does not make a Thanksgiving meal, here are some sites for side dishes. Kraft Foods has a special Thanksgiving section. The people who make Reynolds Wrap have a great site with much more than you would expect from a company associated with containers and coverings. 

Get information from the first lady of cooking Betty Crocker. Find last minute tips, look around and then visit the Pillsbury Doughboy where you should take your little kids to look at the D'boys pages.  dinner

For baking from scratch tips, try Domino Sugar with ideas for you and activities for your kids. Land O’Lakes is another site worth checking for all their recipes, ideas and more.. Nestle   gives a choice of easy or challenging recipes plus videos for extra help.

Don’t forget the red stuff! Spoon out the tart and sweet at Ocean Spray.  Click on the “plan it Thanksgiving logo” to go to recipes, crafts, and much more. Take your time.  There is plenty to enjoy.



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