For the first time since it started in 1981, Butterball will have a man as one of the experts to help you with your turkey questions on its Turkey Talk-Line. Really?
At a point where many men have dominated the culinary world for decades and decades, why would it have taken Butterball so long to add a man to its calling center? That is a mystery to me.
The staff at the call-in center has increased from 6 in 1981 to 60 now. And there's just one man? Why? The reason Butterball gave also left me shaking my head.
Butterball's reasoning is that "today's kitchen and the American family are evolving which has led to a shift in cooking responsibilities. A new Butterball survey found that one in four men say they help out more in the kitchen than they did a few years ago and nearly half of men play a significant role in either preparing or cooking the turkey for the Thanksgiving meal."
What? So a man wrestling with a turkey in the kitchen would feel better talking to a man? And what does he do when he calls, say "Hey, can I talk turkey with the guy?"
While more men in the kitchen may be true, lots and lots of men are in the culinary field and having a man as one of the operators -- or several men -- should have happened naturally years ago.
But what surprised me more -- and I used to work in advertising so nothing should surprise me -- Butterball actually conducted a nationwide search to find the first male Turkey Talk-Line spokesman. A nationwide search? Really?
Butterball says "experts of both genders will be on-hand to share the best turkey advice for the new Thanksgiving table by answering questions through Facebook, Twitter, live chats and email, sharing recipe inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest and delivering advice at your fingertips with the Butterball Cookbook Plus app."
What is all this "both genders" stuff? It's not as if the only cooks we see are women, ala Betty Crocker, Julia Child, Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen..etc. The first cookbooks surely had women's names as authors but the first TV cooking show in the 1950s was hosted by James Beard.
How about the Iron Chef? How about Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck? Bobby Flay? Mario Batali?
And right here in Cleveland we have Iron Chef Michael Symon and he has several restaurants. I would rather get Michael Symon or Cleveland culinary wizard Rocco Whalen on the phone if I am having trouble in the kitchen. I am not looking for a man who cooks for me, although on a cold night, a hot bowl of soup tastes good.
Maybe I am making too much of this but I just found it odd that so much hoopla surrounded the announcement.
For those of you who want to give it a try -- and over one million of you call every year -- the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line provides answers to all turkey questions in English and Spanish at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372) through December 24. It's open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT, and on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.
After that, you are apparently on your own.