You Can't Become A Butterball Talk-Line Operator Without A 4-Year Degree

"West Wing" fans aren't likely to forget the time when President Jed Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, got into a discussion with a Butterball hotline operator about whether turkey stuffing should go into the bird or be prepared in a casserole and what the temperature of the stuffing should be. At the end of the conversation, during which Bartlet pretended to be a citizen named Joe Bethersenthen, pronounced the line to be "excellent" (via YouTube). In the same sequence, we're also told that the Butterball hotline is staffed with "experts," but as the term can be used quite loosely these days, we probably didn't know what being a turkey "expert" meant – until now, that is.

Per Mental Floss, being a Turkey Talk-Line operator has one important requirement: to have a four-year degree from a food-related program, which can mean having a food science degree, one in nutrition, dietetics, public health, or home economics. If you call the hotline, you may even be speaking to someone with a culinary arts degree, especially since some of the people who staff the hotline have also been chefs before. Patch says these experts range in age from the mid-20s to the mid-70s – showing the team doesn't just have breadth but depth too.

There is longevity in being a Butterball Talk-Line operator

And that's not all. Turkey Talk-Line experts also receive training at the company's Butterball University, a three-day course that gives you the ins and outs of how to prepare turkey the right way. There is a Butterball University 101, where newbies are given an overview of different ways to cook a turkey (11 of them, including roasting, grilling, smoking, and microwaving). Those who have been doing it for a while will get an annual refresher seminar, per Chicago Tribune.

Given the amount of time needed to become a Turkey Talk-Line expert, you'd imagine those who get the job and get good at it aren't likely to leave, so turnover is low. Mental Floss says that's very much the case. Turkey talk expert Janice Stahl told Patch she'd been on the job for nine years and has fielded some interesting calls for help. "One of my favorite ones came in years ago ... She was newly married and had her in-laws over and she was whispering. I said to her, 'I can't really hear you,' and she said to me, 'I'm in the hallway closet,'" Stahl said, adding that the woman called her later to thank the crew for saving the holiday feast.

So if you have a question, feel free to pick up the phone and call. As "The West Wing"'s Charlie Young (played by Dulé Hill) put it, "It's an 800 number. The phones are staffed by experts."