On Thanksgiving Day, thousands of people will be calling and texting culinary hotlines to answer questions on the many pitfalls of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
The Butterball Turkey Talk (1-800-BUTTERBALL) will field more than 10,000 calls that day asking how to defrost a turkey, how many minutes to cook it, how to tell when the bird is done, how to stuff a turducken (yes, that’s a real question) and whether you can cook turkey in a slow-cooker.
But those who want to get ahead of the game can ask their questions now. The hotlines, including Jennie-O Turkey Hotline (800-621-3505), are open now; the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (888-674-6854) is open weekdays year-round from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. On Thanksgiving Day it will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cranberry questions can be answered by contacting Ocean Spray Cranberries (800-662-3263) weekdays year-round, while Libby has a Pumpkin Helpline (800-854-0374) that is open weekdays throughout the year.
Baking questions also can be answered by the Crisco Pie & Baking Hotline, which is open year-round (877-367-7438) and live experts are available through online chat at piehotline.com 8 a.m.-7 p.m. now and prior to Christmas.
Also fielding baking and dessert questions is “Ask Betty” at askbetty.bettycrocker.com.
If you are planning to bake a pie or cook a turkey for the first time, now is when you want to think ahead. If baking a pie, it’s not a bad idea to do a trial run; taste testers are usually easy to find.
While Thanksgiving dinner mostly includes traditional, well-loved dishes, there is no reason you can’t try something that a little different, like this recipe from delish.com:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll
FOR THE CAKE:
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
3 large eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
Powdered sugar, for rolling
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15-x10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment and grease with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, pumpkin spice, eggs, and pumpkin puree until just combined. Spread into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, lay out a large kitchen towel on your counter (try to use one with little to no texture) and dust with powdered sugar. When cake is done baking, flip onto kitchen towel and gently peel off parchment paper.
3. Starting at a short end, gently but tightly roll cake into a log. Let cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and salt. Using a hand mixer, whip until smooth.
5. When cake is cooled, gently unroll (it’s okay if it remains slightly curled) and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll back up and dust with more powdered sugar. Slice and serve.