Whether you realized it or not, there was some earth-shaking news this past week.
No, not the Pope talking about giving women an expanded role in the church, even more shocking: Butterball announced that it will be hiring a man to answer the phone on its Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.
Breaking with a 32-year tradition, there could be a male voice on the phone if you call to ask a question about your bird.
The company is seeking applicants through its Facebook page for the honor. The man selected will get to take part in a time-honored tradition of helping home cooks get through the holiday with their birds and nerves intact.
I thought about entering my husband, but considering that his response to any question about how to cook a turkey would likely be, “You’d have to ask my wife that one,” I figured there were more qualified candidates out there.
So many golden-voiced fellas came to mind.
There’s Tom Hamilton, the Cleveland Indians play-by-play announcer. “Make sure you put that turkey waaaaayyy back in the oven.”
How about everyone's favorite weatherman, Dick Goddard? He has a nice pleasing voice, of course, but I’m not sure about the mix of turkey and woolybears.
How about Joe Tait? He’s retired from the Cavaliers’ announcer booth and has time on his hands. I can hear him now: “Take that stuffing and wham with the right hand!”
Actually Butterball is hoping to find a man who has experience cooking a turkey (not to suggest that the men above don’t). But working the Turkey Talk Line is nothing to joke about. In its first year, 1981, six home economists answered 11,000 phone calls from consumers. This year, the team of more than 50 will provide information via the phone, email, Facebook, Twitter and website, to more than 1 million consumers in November and December.
That’s a lot of turkey and a lot of help.
With a little help from email, I was able to get a few answers from Mary Clingman, the director of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, about how the search was going.
If you’re wondering, like I was, why they’re recruiting a man now, you may be surprised to learn that up until now, no man has ever applied for the job.
Clingman explained that a May survey conducted on Butterball’s behalf revealed that there has been a shift in cooking responsibilities in many households, with one in four men saying that they help out more in the kitchen than before. Nearly half of all men surveyed said they play a significant role in preparing or cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
With more men in the kitchen, it seems logical that there should be a man on the turkey line.
“Butterball is embracing the shift in cooking responsibilities by launching a nationwide search to find Butterball’s very first male Talk-Line spokesman,” Clingman said.
Since the search began a week ago, Clingman said it’s too soon to reveal what kind of candidates have been applying so far, but she added that the company hopes “to see great submissions in the coming weeks.”
One of those could be coming from you or someone you know. To apply, men must be 25 or older, and yes, they have to have experience cooking a turkey.
Applicants have to answer just three questions:
• What is your overall cooking experience and style, both in general and related to preparing turkeys?
• What is your favorite Butterball Turkey preparation method and why?
• How would you describe your attributes and talents (e.g., personality, creativity, social media savviness, etc.) both as a person and cook that make you the best choice for the first male Turkey Talk-Line spokesman?
They also have to submit a 1- to 2-minute video on one of these subjects: Favorite turkey preparation method; favorite turkey cooking tip, or favorite story or a personal experience preparing a turkey.
To apply, go to www.facebook.com/Butterball and click on the link to get you to the application. The man selected will get a trip to Chicago, where the talk line headquarters is located, the week of Nov. 11; education at Butterball University; a $4,000 cash prize; and media interviews, where you can share your expertise with others.
Entries must be submitted via the Facebook page by Oct. 20, so don’t waste time if you want to be considered. And by all means, please let me know if you apply, because I’ll want to talk turkey with you.