USDA ‘Hotline’ to Help People Cook Their Thanksgiving Turkey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is getting ready to field thousands of calls to its “meat and poultry hotline” from people who need help preparing their Thanksgiving dinner.

The hotline has been helping struggling cooks for about 30 years. It’s staffed by six people who will take calls from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving day, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the days leading up to the holiday.

“Last November they received more than 3,000 calls mostly about Thanksgiving dinner,” USDA said.

USDA offers some basic tips online, including how to put a meat thermometer into the bird, how to make sure a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit is reached, and how to then take the turkey out of the oven. But last year, nearly 1,000 people called in on Thanksgiving Day to hear a pre-recorded message offering cooking tips, and more than 300 people called the hotline to talk to an agent.