Don't Thaw with Bubblebath, and Other Odd Thanksgiving Turkey Helpline Tips

A Thanksgiving turkey"Is it OK to thaw my turkey in the bathtub while bathing my kids?" Butterball's famous team of "college-educated, professionally-trained" home economists and nutritionists got this question over their annua Thanksgivingl turkey talk-line one year.

This may be the only hotline where you can ask with a straight face whether or not the breast should be rubbed with butter (Butterball suggests vegetable oil or cooking spray; I suggest butter); and it's one of the best ways to get expert advice for free this holiday season.Far more fun than the sensible questions and answers -- like how long it would take to thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator (if you're asking now, it's probably too late, sorry) -- are the really, really awful ones. There is the one above, and in case you are still wondering, no, don't thaw your turkey in the bathtub; there's "Can I take my frozen turkey into the sauna to thaw it faster?" (no, and especially not if your lechy uncle is in there in his Speedo, okay?). Another caller asked if she could brine her turkey in the washing machine (again, no); this article remembers a question from around 1999, when a man wondered if he could safely cook the 1969 turkey he found in a freezer somewhere.

Another very sad question comes from a woman who was in tears over her bubbly turkey. She'd rinsed it as directed, but somehow conflated rinsing with the dishwashing process and used dish soap. Her turkey wouldn't stop sudsing, and she wanted to know what to do. There isn't a record of what the home economist on the other end of the line said, but I'm guessing it wasn't "rinse and repeat."

The worst question in my opinion wasn't any of these soapy ones, however. It was the one that hotline operator Mary Klingman offered up to an NPR correspondent: "can I serve my turkey over cat litter?" The other questions seem sweetly clueless; this one seems downright twisted (and can cat litter really be cheaper than mashed potatoes? Please, oh please, no).

If we can give you any advice this holiday season, it is to ask your questions immediately -- the closer to the time you were planning to serve dinner, the worse things will be for you and your guests. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that turkey is probably 15 or 20 pounds; we'd hate to see it in your trash come Black Friday.
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