GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With public health officials urging against large gatherings, Thanksgiving will look different this year. That has led to changes to another longstanding tradition: the Butterball Turkey Talk Line.
“Butterball certainly recognizes the fact that Thanksgiving is going to look and feel a lot different for us this season,” Nicole Johnson, an expert who has taken turkey calls for Butterball for 19 years, told WOOD.
Since the line opened earlier this month, she has noticed many questions from people who would normally be part of a bigger gathering but are opting to stay home this year.
“I’m already seeing a lot of requests for smaller gatherings, which in turn leads to more first-time cooks,” she said. “A lot of those first-time cooks that we’re seeing this year … they’re asking what size (turkey) should I purchase, and should I buy fresh or frozen.”
There’s a simple formula when deciding which bird to buy:
“Two pounds per person,” Johnson said. “And that’s encouraging a lot of leftovers.”
Along with avoiding burning the bird, many first-timers are looking at alternatives to the traditional oven roasting method.
“We’re getting a lot of request for ways to prepare your turkey outdoors,” Johnson said. “We’re in the Chicago area, it’s a little chilly here today. But we’re seeing a lot of requests for outdoor preparations, whether it’s charcoal grill, gas grills, a deep-frying method.”
A Butterball study suggests nine out of 10 Americans are still determined to have a great Thanksgiving, and it can be done by following expert guidelines and keeping gatherings small and spread out.
“I think people, because they’re home, we really want to celebrate the good,” Johnson said. “Grateful to focus on Thanksgiving. I think it’s a good time to spend time within family, even if it’s a smaller gathering.”