Beyond the bird: Who to call for help with the rest of the meal

There's plenty of advice available for dealing with turkey troubles -- this post in the Shine food section is great -- but how do you handle a ham? Can you put butter in the mashed potatoes if your guests are keeping Kosher? And what about that impossible pie crust?

Here are a few holiday hotlines to help with some of the other things on your Thanksgiving table:

Now in it's second year, the Crisco Holiday Hotline offers help with all things pie -- baking help, storage hints, time-saving tips, and the option to talk to a live "pie pro." Call 1-877-367-7438 or visit them online at The staff at the Land O'Lakes Holiday Bakeline is ready to help if you're not sure whether you can substitute salted butter for unsalted, or if you're a new candy maker in a tough spot with the toffee. Call 1-800-782-9606 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST, seven days a week, until Christmas Eve, or go to And the folks at Fleischmann's Yeast Bakers Help Line can handle questions about dough that won't rise or yeast that won't activate -- and they're available all year round, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST). Call 1-800-777-4959 , or find solutions

Keeping Kosher
From Nov. 19 through Dec. 1, the Empire Kosher Consumer Line is staffed 24/7. (The rest of the year, you can reach someone there during the week, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or until 3 p.m. on Fridays, except on Jewish and secular holidays.) They'll answer your questions about their Kosher cooking, the Jewish faith, and more; call 1-800-367-4734, or go online to

If you don't know know a cranberry from a gooseberry, want to use up leftover cranberry sauce, or are wondering why your homemade sauce won't gel, the folks at Ocean Spray are here to help. Call 1-800-662-3263 or check on the frequently asked questions online at

Wine pairings
The Loews Hotel chain is giving holiday wine help via Facebook. Their wine experts answer questions about food-and-wine pairings and offer suggestions for great bubbly from Nov. 5 through New Year's Day. "Like" them on post your question on their wall; a certified sommelier will get back to you there within 24 hours.

Holiday hams

A first for ham lovers, Specialty Foods Group, Inc. -- who makes the century-old Kentucky Legend brand of ham -- launched a hotline this year. Call 1-866-343-5058 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, Nov. 9 until the day after Thanksgiving (the line closes an hour early, at 6 p.m., on Thanksgiving day). Never made a ham before? It's not a hotline, but there's a great post about how to make one over at