WBEZ | turkeys http://www.wbez.org/tags/turkeys Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Thanksgiving war stories from a Butterball ‘call girl’ http://www.wbez.org/content/thanksgiving-war-stories-butterball-%E2%80%98call-girl%E2%80%99 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP070427036341.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" calendar.="" class="caption" foto="" ladies="" news="" of="" pr="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP070427036341.jpg" style="width: 428px; height: 400px;" talk-line="" the="" title="Take a page from one of the experts featured in Butterball’s 2002 &quot;Ladies of the Talk-Line&quot; Calendar. (PR News Foto/Butterball)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F68040657&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Dynamic Range is taking a break for Thanksgiving and will be back the first week of December. In the meantime, check out this updated episode that originally ran in November 2011:</em></p><p>Butterball produces 20 percent of the turkeys Americans eat every year. And since 1981 their <a href="http://www.butterball.com/tips-how-tos/turkey-experts/overview">Turkey Talk-Line</a> experts have handled some 100,000 calls each holiday season from frantic home cooks trying to impress their in-laws or salvage a dinner gone horribly wrong.</p><p>Butterball&rsquo;s corporate headquarters are in Garner, North Carolina, but their call-in line is located in Naperville, Ill. And, as the company struggles with its public image and <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/butterball-probes-turkey-abuse-accusations-1C7103234">new allegations of animal abuse</a> at its North Carolina plants, the ladies of the Talk-Line may be the company&#39;s best public face: Some of the experts who work there from November to December every year seem to comfortably conform to a kind of 1950s Suzy Homemaker ethos, pleasingly plump Betty Crockerites who majored in home ec. Others are bilingual registered dieticians with master&rsquo;s degrees.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP061115045108.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Before: nineteen-week-old turkeys at the Clayton Straughn farm near Turkey, N.C. (AP/Gerry Broome)" />Sixty call specialists will be on hand this year to answer questions ranging from the mundane &ndash; <em>How long will it take my 18 lb. beast to thaw?</em> &ndash; to the shocking &ndash; <em>My turkey is on fire. What should I do?</em></p><p>The answer to that last question, incidentally, is to hang up and call 9-1-1.</p><p>Butterball&rsquo;s experts recommend taking as long as four full days to thaw your turkey. They&rsquo;ll also be happy to walk you through the steps of microwaving the bird, if that&rsquo;s what you want to do. It&rsquo;s apparently their &ldquo;least popular method,&rdquo; despite being all the rage in the &lsquo;80s, but is still not as horrifying or as gross as <a href="http://www.ask.com/food/Lobster/Microwave-Lobster-Recipes.html">cooking a live lobster in the microwave</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/butterball turkeys_flickr_anthony easton.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="After: Butterball turkeys. (Flickr/Anthony Easton)" />Renee Ferguson is a former Butterball expert and self-described Butterball &ldquo;call girl&rdquo; who parleyed her experience on the hotline into a cookbook &ndash; <em>Talk Turkey to Me</em> (Wishbone Press 2006) &ndash; and an appearance on the Food Network&rsquo;s <em>Throwdown</em> with Bobby Flay.</p><p>Ferguson appeared on the show&#39;s &ldquo;Turkey and Dressing&rdquo; episode, for which she made <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/turkey-recipe-recipe/index.html">roasted turkey with an apple sausage dressing</a> and an <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/apricot-amaretto-sauce-recipe/index.html">apricot amaretto sauce</a>. Flay won the round with his combination of a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/black-pepper-pomegranate-molasses-glazed-turkey-with-wild-rice-goat-cheese-dressing-recipe/index.html">black pepper-pomegranate molasses glazed turkey</a> with a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/wild-rice-and-goat-cheese-dressing-recipe/index.html">wild rice, goat cheese and chorizo dressing</a>.</p><p>If you have any last minute cooking disasters before the big meal on Thursday you can call Ferguson&rsquo;s former colleagues in Naperville between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 1-800-288-8372. (And now, you can also tweet them <a href="https://twitter.com/butterball">@butterball</a> with the hashtag #TurkeyChat.) In the meantime, listen to Ferguson&rsquo;s account of her all-time favorite calls &ndash; and some of her cooking war stories &ndash; in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s<em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Renee Ferguson spoke at an event presented by <a href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/">Culinary Historians of Chicago </a>in November of 2010. Click <a href="../../story/culture/books/talk-turkey-me-good-time-kitchen-talking-turkey-all-trimmings">here </a>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/thanksgiving-war-stories-butterball-%E2%80%98call-girl%E2%80%99