Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Macho Butterball

November 27, 2013

At this time of year we’re bombarded with all types of advice for cooking turkeys. We’re cautioned that, even though generations of cooks have stuffed dressing into their turkeys, this is no longer a safe practice. Too great a possibility of bacteria, we’re now told. Much is said on the Food Network about brining turkeys or marinating them to increase flavor. Deep frying them in peanut oil is becoming vogue. But something unique is happening this year when it comes to turkey preparation that you might have missed.

 

For years the Butterball Company has provided a “Turkey Hotline” for those unsure about roasting a turkey. If you have questions and don’t want to call mom and admit you don’t know what you’re doing, you can call the Butterball Hotline and get all the answers you need.

    

But this year for the first time the Butterball Hotline is adding male experts to handle your questions. The assumption is that more men will be cooking turkeys this year than ever before and guys would rather speak to another dude than a woman. Really?

    

So how does this work? I’m a divorced guy sharing the holiday with my two kids because my ex is in Vail with her new husband. I have no idea how to cook a turkey so I dial the hotline and get a nice female voice:

    

“Butterball Turkey Hotline. How may I help you?”

    

“Um, I’d be more comfortable talking to a dude.”

    

The fact that you aren’t comfortable speaking to women might be the reason you’re now single.

    

“Just a minute, sir, and I’ll connect you with…Ernie.”

    

After a moment of listening to a recording of the Captain and Tennille’s Muskrat Love, Ernie comes on the line. “Yeah, Ernie here. How’s it hangin’?”

    

After briefly wondering if Ernie looks like one of the Duck Dynasty dudes and is about to inform you that the first stage of turkey preparation is plugging the bird full of lead, you ask, “How do I cook a turkey?”

    

With a guy you can expect few pleasantries and instructions far more precise than those you’d receive from a woman. “First, is your bird defrosted or frozen?”

    

“It’s been in the trunk of my car for a week so I’m guessing it’s no longer frozen.”

    

“Cool. There’s a shiny coating on your bird with letters on it that say Butterball. This is cellophane packaging and tastes like shit. Remove it. Go ahead. I’ll wait while you fetch the bird from the trunk of your car.”

    

A few minutes later, “Okay, what do I do next?”

    

“Dump the bird in a big pan so you won’t be cleaning your oven ‘til Christmas. Put it in the oven. Turn it on.”

    

“How many degrees should I set the oven?”

    

“Three hundred, just like a perfect bowling score. If you’ve got birdzilla you can set the oven to 375.”

    

“What about brining?”

    

“Waste of time. Same with marinating.”

    

“Basting?”

    

“You kidding me? You one of those metrosexuals? Real men don’t baste. You’re a real man, right?”

    

“Believe it! Okay, no basting.”

    

“Now listen carefully; this is the important part. Most turkeys have a red thermometer sticking out of them. This part is easy for guys ‘cause nature has equipped us with a doohickey that pops up and turns red when it’s good to go. When this doohickey pops up your turkey is ready to go. Easy-peazy. Now shove that baby in the oven, go pop open a brewski and enjoy a football game.”

    

“But Ernie, what about the fixings? The dressing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole? What are you whispering?”

    

B5*9n M#*&et.

    

“I can’t hear you. Speak up!”

   

“I said Boston Market. Might as well pick up a turkey while you’re there.”

 

 



HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE.


   



Comments

26 Comments
Fun T-Day angle! Happy Thanksgiving!
By: Cranky on November 27, 2013
Or you can always get a turkey TV dinner and just pop it in the microwave. I wonder if they've shipped the Butterball hotline over to India yet? It'd be hilarious listening to a vegetarian tell me how to cook meat.
By: PT Dilloway on November 27, 2013
I thought that was part of the 21st Century dowary: You get their daughter off their payroll, they feed you on holidays forever. And in case of a divorce later, you include their turkey dinner obligation in the settlement.
By: Scott Cody Park on November 27, 2013
sounds about right!
By: TexWisGirl on November 27, 2013
Ha! Probably truer than we think. Happy Thanksgiving!
By: Shelly on November 27, 2013
Too funny. I wonder if they would instruct you about using the leftovers in a quiche. ;)
By: Hilary on November 27, 2013
You made me laugh out loud with the red thermometer that pops up when it's ready. I've noticed something like that with Willy Dunne Wooters. I know. TMI Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 27, 2013
It's reassuring to know that I've been doing it correctly all these years!!
By: fishducky on November 27, 2013
Oooohhhhh, you've destroyed my faith in males taking over the kitchen duties! Funny, though.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on November 27, 2013
I don't need a guy to tell me how to cook a turkey. In fact, I don't CARE if a guy gives me a prostate exam (as long as I don't see a hand on each shoulder). But, I will NOT have a guy give me a massage. To quote George Costanza, what would happen if "it moved"?
By: Al Penwasser on November 27, 2013
I did hear about the new male review on the Butterball stage, but I wasn't quite picturing them looking like Duck Dynasty stars! I thought more like Martha Stewart with a tuck! lol
By: Bouncin Barb on November 27, 2013
This reminds me of the scene in the movie The Santa Clause where all of the divorced dads with kids are eating at Denny's!
By: mimi on November 27, 2013
Sadly it isn't Thanksgiving in the UK just another ordinary day. No turkey. Hope you have a great day!
By: LL COOL JOE on November 27, 2013
I shouldn't laugh too hard at this . I may cook some things but a turkey is beyond my experience. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
By: red on November 27, 2013
I am laughing. Butterball turkeys are incredibly easy - and I'm no chef. I would appreciate a fudge hotline, though. I don't always get the consistency right. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mrs. C. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on November 27, 2013
Thanksgiving is going to Hell in a handbasket. Great story!
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 27, 2013
I don't know why guys couldn't just buy those sodas that come in all the Thanksgiving dishes flavors.
By: Val on November 27, 2013
Hey, that is pretty much how I've done it. No reason to make it diffcult.
By: Akansas Patti on November 27, 2013
As I sit up late waiting for my pumpkin cheesecake to cool so that I can put it in the fridge, I got a good laugh from your two dudes! Reminded me of the green bean casserole guys. Have a HAPPY Thanksgiving!!
By: Tabor on November 27, 2013
Great post.I really enjoy Turkey, we usually have ours at Christmas.
By: John on November 28, 2013
If you really want to have a drama free Thanksgiving, then I suggest you dash the turkey and try a roast chicken instead. It's much easier and no fuss at all. Maybe next year.
By: Rum Punch Drunk on November 28, 2013
Yep, that's what I'm afraid it would be like if SM was in charge of the turkey. Although he did teach me to cook when we first wed. I could only prepare fudge and scrambled eggs. Not together. But here we are 40 something years later and the man has forgotten how to warm water on the stove for tea. Something about selective memory. Happy Turkey Day, Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on November 28, 2013
oh bwa hahahah I'll bet that Butterball hotline is based off shore and those poor folks probably have never cooked a turkey before.....I can hear them now ...... Actually in my family a lot of my brothers and nephews know how to cook those ginormous birds....even my dad could make a mean gravy. Have a great day Stephen and all the best to your family!
By: Kathe W. on November 28, 2013
Really? Someone thought having women answer the turkey hotline might be a gender issued that needed correcting? While I don't have a problem with men manning the phones, the fact they are talking about it like they need to be "high fived" makes me suspicious of their motives. BUT...I am so glad this happened because it led you to post a really funny post. If I ever call the hotline I hope I get Ernie. Hope you are having a great day, Chatterbox...
By: Cheryl P. on November 28, 2013
LOL that's hilarious! I'm kind of like a guy when it comes to things like that (you think I'm joking, but I bought a ready-made meatloaf that I just needed to microwave & killed it because I forgot to remove one of the plastic covers on it.)
By: The Bug on November 29, 2013
LOL - you are too funny! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day. It seems that if a guy had to ask for help cooking a turkey, it would be much easier for him to just watch a youtube video.
By: Pixel Peeper on December 7, 2013

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