- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Toll-free telephone services and Web sites offer a variety of specialist answers to cooking and food-safety questions during holiday preparation times. Here are some of them:

• U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline: 888/674-6854. Food safety specialists answer calls about meat and poultry preparation and cooking questions, year-round Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Thanksgiving Day, when hours will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day at the same number. Also available in Spanish. Visit www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/USDA_meat_&_poultry_hotline. Or send e-mail to: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov.

• Butterball Turkey Talk-Line: 800/288-8372. Home economists and nutritionists answer holiday cooks’ questions in both English and Spanish, for callers in the United States and Canada. Callers can request a free pamphlet with safety and cooking tips and recipes.

Until Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Monday to Nov. 23, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nov. 25 to Dec. 16, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dec. 18 to Dec. 23, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Automated assistance available outside the above hours and all year long: www.butterball.com

• Foster Farms Turkey Helpline: 800/255-7227; www.fosterfarms.com. Turkey-cooking questions are answered and information given by live operators 24 hours a day today through Nov. 28, including Thanksgiving Day). Otherwise, the help line is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.

• Perdue consumer help line: 800/473-7383. Consumer-relations representatives answer cooking, storage and other questions about poultry products from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays year-round except Nov. 25 and Christmas Day. Free booklet offer with tips on safe handling of poultry.

Longer hours next week:

Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Go to www.perdue.com.

• Empire Kosher poultry customer hot line: 800/367-4734, or 717/436-5921. Help is offered by consumer-affairs representatives year-round Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Program offers recipes, newsletter, tips on defrosting and cooking poultry. Closed Jewish and secular holidays. Go to www.empirekosher.com.

• Ocean Spray consumer help line 800/662-3263; www.oceanspray.com. Year-round, weekdays open Thanksgiving Day; but not Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and other major holidays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Consumer department staff fields questions on cranberries, offers recipes, cooking tips, nutritional information, menu-planning, product information.

• Reynolds Turkey Tips Hotline 800/745-4000; www.reynoldskitchens.com. A year-round 24-hour automated hot line; through Dec. 31 offers advice on turkey defrosting, preparation and cooking options, free brochure and recipes.

For more information on the Internet, go to:

• www.turkeyhelp.com. Cook’s Illustrated magazine’s site features detailed guidance and recipes for preparing turkey and all the trimmings, including apple and pumpkin pies, with bright step-by-step visuals.

• www.eatturkey.com. The National Turkey Federation Web site has Thanksgiving recipes and cooking tips among its year-round general information.

• www.starchefs.com/thanksgiving/2004/html/index.shtml. Thanksgiving and holiday recipes, with tips from professional chefs and cookbook writers, from turkey through desserts.

• www.epicurious.com. Offers a Thanksgiving primer and other help.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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