Phones are nice, but also look to laptops and iPads for quick answers to cooking questions.
There will always be a Butterball Turkey hot line for those critical moments when you really need to talk to a human being (who is not your mother). But social media has even more ways to get answers fast while trying to avoid lumpy gravy or soggy pie crusts, or for those first-time cooks encountering that small parcel of turkey innards. Between website live chats, YouTube videos and well-staffed Facebook pages, here are some of the top lifelines:
Butterball Turkey Talk-Line: 1-800-288-8372, or visit www.butterball.com for videos, recipes and tips weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or follow Butterball on Twitter, or go to Butterball's Facebook page.
Crisco Pie Central: 1-877-367-7438, or visit www.crisco.com for tips, recipes and step-by-step visual instructions for making pie crusts, or go to YouTube and search for Crisco pie crust. Also on the webpage, a live chat with pie experts weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 14-23 and Dec. 12-22.
Land O'Lakes: Its Facebook page seems nimbly staffed for all sorts of baking questions.
Nestle: The maker of Libby's pumpkin pie filling fields questions at www.verybestbaking.com. Click on "Thanksgiving collection" for a live chat 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-674-6854, or for more food safety questions, visit www.fsis.usda.gov. There's also a 24-hour automated response system where you can ask "Karen" for food prep advice.
Martha Stewart: Martha is available to solve viewers' last-minute dinner dilemmas via e-mail at email@example.com or Twitter hashtag: #AskMartha. She's also hosting her annual "Thanksgiving Hotline Show" at 9 a.m. Nov. 23 on the Hallmark Channel.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper will host her annual "Turkey Confidential" from 10 a.m. to noon Thanksgiving Day on MPR, 91.1 FM; call 1-800-537-5252 with questions. Or check the webpage at splendidtable.publicradio.org/turkey-confidential. Or follow the new Lynnebot on Twitter, twitter.com/#!/Lynnebot. It's worth it just to see Kasper's icon looking like a Borg, a la Star Trek.
Star Tribune Taste: See our videos on how to carve a turkey, how to make a pie crust and how to make a pumpkin roulade at startribune.com/taste.
Finally, there are a bunch of Thanksgiving smartphone apps. Forbes magazine noted these: iFeast, which helps "synchronize your meal prep work"; Thanksgiving planner: The Android version of iFeast; and Thanksgiving recipes from iPhone, which also has ideas for leftovers.
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185