24 November 2005

Turkey instructions

OK, one more thing today, for fun, in honour of Thanksgiving. President Bartlett's phone call with the Butterball hotline, from The West Wing

Operator: Hello, welcome to the Butterball Hotline.

Toby: What the hell is ...

Bartlet: Shhhh. Hello!!

Operator: How can I help you, sir?

Bartlet: Well, first let me say, I think this is a wonderful service you provide.

Operator: Well, thank you. May I have your name please?

Bartlet: I'm a citizen.

Operator: I'm sure you are, sir, but if I have your name I can put your comments in our customer feedback form.

Bartlet: [sighs] I'm Joe Betherson ... sen. That's one 't', and with an 'h' in there.

Operator: And your address?

Bartlet: Fargo.

Operator: Your street address, please?

Toby: [picks up another phone, into it] Zip code, Fargo, North Dakota, right now. [hangs up]

Bartlet: [with evident strain] My street address is 114 ... 54 Pruder Street, and it's very important that you put 'street' down there because sometimes it gets confused with Pruder Way and Pruder Lane. Apartment 23 R... Fargo, North Dakota ... [Charlie walks in with a piece of paper, Bartlet grabs it.] Zip code 50504.

Operator: Thank you. Your voice sounds very familiar to me.

Bartlet: I do radio commercials for ... products.

Operator: And how can I help you?

Bartlet: [sits down] Stuffing should be stuffed inside the turkey, am I correct?

Operator: It can also be baked in a casserole dish.

Bartlet: Well, then we'd have to call it something else, wouldn't we? [Toby sits down and puts his hand under his chin.]

Operator: I suppose.

Bartlet: If I cook it inside the turkey, is there a chance I could kill my guests? I'm not saying that's necessarily a deal-breaker.

Operator: Well, there are some concerns. Two main bacterial problems are salmonella and camplyobacter jejuna.

Bartlet: All right. Well, first of all, I think you made the second bacteria up, and second of all, how do I avoid it?

Operator: Make sure all the ingredients are cooked first. Sauté any vegetables, fried sausage, oysters, etc.

Bartlet: Excellent! Let's talk temperature.

Operator: One hundred and sixty-five degrees.

Bartlet: No, see, I was testing you! The USDA calls for turkeys to be cooked to an internal temperature of 180 to 185 degrees.

Operator: Yes, sir, I was talking about the stuffing which you want to cook to 165 to avoid health risks.

Bartlet: Okay. Good testing!

Operator: Do you have an accurate thermometer?

Bartlet: Oh yeah. It was presented to me as a gift from the personal sous chef to the King of ... [Toby raises his hand] auto sales in ...

Toby: [whispering] Fargo.

Bartlet: Fargo. Phil Baharnd. The man can sell a car like ... well, like anything.

Operator: Very good, sir. You have a good Thanksgiving!

Bartlet: And you do, too. Thanks a lot! [hangs up the phone] That was excellent! We should do that once a week.

Sorry. I've had dialogue screenwriting on the brain lately. Back to regular scheduled programming tomorrow.