Holiday Helpers

Cooking hotlines come to the rescue

1. Butterball Turkey Talk-Line
(800/BUTTERBALL; talkline@butterball.com)
For 30 years, turkey savants have been fielding more than 100,000 questions annually in the weeks before Thanksgiving. Most frequently asked: "How do I thaw this thing?"

2. Crisco Pie Hotline
(877/FOR-PIE-TIPS; crisco.com)
Let the pie pros coach you past soggy crusts and failed fillings, aided by online instructions at Crisco Pie Central.

3. Kentucky Legend Ham Hotline
(866/343-5058)
These folks give advice on buying, cooking, and carving ham. They also advise home cooks on what to do with all that's left over. One suggested solution entails using mushrooms and whipping cream to make a version of ham a la king.

4. Loews Wine Line
(facebook.com/LoewsHotels)
Certified sommeliers are using the social networking site Facebook to dispense wine pairing advice throughout the holidays, with suggestions catered to your menu delivered within 24 hours. This year's emphasis is on new-world selections, such as California pinot noir and Washington State riesling.

5. Ocean Spray Helpline
(800/662-3263)
The experts here can help alleviate cranberry fatigue with fresh recipes for cocktails, salads, and desserts like cranberry—ginger upside-down cake. If you opt against serving canned cranberry sauce, Ocean Spray operators will tell you how to make your own at home.