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: ...

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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 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, except Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day, when hours will be from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day at the same number. Also available in Spanish.

On the Net: www.fsis.usda.gov.

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

Hours of operation: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Friday; 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Nov. 26; 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving Day); 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays Nov. 28 to Dec. 23; 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 24 and Dec. 25; 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 26. www.butterball.com

The Seattle Times: 206-464-2300. Our home economist will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 26 to answer questions about recipes that have appeared in The Times. The service will be closed Nov. 28.

• Foster Farms Turkey Help Line: 800-255-7227. Operators provide information and answer turkey-cooking questions 24 hours a day from today through Dec. 1 (including Thanksgiving Day). After Thanksgiving, the help line is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. www.fosterfarms.com

Ocean Spray consumer help line: 800-662-3263. Year-round, available 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays (including Thanksgiving Day; but not Christmas Day, New Year’s Day or other major holidays). Consumer department staff fields questions on cranberries, offers recipes, cooking tips, nutritional information, menu-planning worksheets and product information. www.oceanspray.com

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

Other helpful Web sites:


• 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.turkeyhelp.com

• The National Turkey Federation Web site has Thanksgiving recipes and cooking tips: www.eatturkey.com

McCormick’s holiday entertaining guide: www.mccormick.com

Thanksgiving and holiday recipes, from turkey to desserts, with tips from professional chefs and cookbook writers: www.starchefs.com

Thanksgiving recipes and turkey information and hints: www.southernfood.about.com

Cooking advice, including a guide to perfect mashed potatoes: www.potatohelp.com

Baking assistance, cooking tips and free recipe brochure: www.landolakes.com

A Thanksgiving “survival guide”: www.bhg.com