Nov 17, 2009

Turkey text messaging on Thanksgiving

by Katie Bell

 This Thanksgiving, turkeys have gone high-tech. The turkey is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner and as such, it has a very important role to fulfill. The rest of Thanksgiving dinner can be horrid, but the bird must be perfect.

The Butterball turkey talk-line has been helping frazzled Thanksgiving chefs for 39 years, according to This year, they have outdone themselves. Through the months of November and December, people can instant message with turkey talk-line experts and register their mobile devices to receive Turkey Text Messages. Texting the word TURKEY to 36888 will send weekly turkey tips, such as thawing reminders and cooking alerts will be sent to your phone, according to

The Butterball turkey talk-line answers approximately 100,000 questions during November and December. Although the idea of a turkey talk-line seems humorous, it has saved countless Thanksgiving dinners across the United States.

Butterball has infiltrated all aspects of modern media. It even has a Facebook fan page where Butterball fans can share secrets and tips on preparing a turkey for the big day. The fan page includes instructional videos from the director of the turkey talk-line on how to select the perfect turkey for any table.

The ladies on the other end of the line are indeed experts. The more than 50 turkey specialists are all college-educated home economists, according to

My mother, faithful preparer of Thanksgiving dinner for 35 years, will never forget the Thanksgiving she watched a newscast featuring the Butterball turkey-talk line. She laughed hysterically when a caller phoned in and asked, “Can I clean the turkey by putting it in the dishwasher?”

“I used to think the Butterball turkey talk-line was funny, now I see it as a vital part of the success of many Thanksgiving dinners,” my mother said. “I think it sad that younger generations do not know how to cook and resort to media to teach them how.”

Gone are the Thanksgivings of old, when moms and grandmas spent hours in the kitchen before and on Thanksgiving Day clad in aprons. Thanksgivings in the new millennium feature the family cooks on their BlackBerries frantically awaiting their latest Turkey Text, and webcam savvy cooks can converse with experts by Skyping 1-800-BUTTERBALL with their questions. One must wonder how the Indians knew to come to the first Thanksgiving without receiving a Facebook invitation from the Pilgrims. Regardless of whether your Thanksgiving will be old school or high tech, have a happy one.

Contact Katie Bell at

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