11/20/2014 03:36 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Funny Thanksgiving Quotes: Presenting the USDA's Top 5 List

When it comes to funny Thanksgiving food stories, few can beat the USDA's own Top 5 entrants.

Who's ready for some funny Thanksgiving stories? Thought you might be.

It sounds more like something you would hear on a late-night comedy show, but these are strange but true Thanksgiving Day stories as told by the US Department of Agriculture.

The USDA operates a hotline for people to call in with questions about food safety and preparedness. The hotline helps reduce foodborne illnesses that people may contract and be deadly in some cases. The hotline remains open on Thanksgiving Day to give people last-minute advice and Kristina Beaugh, a spokeswoman of the USDA offered up some of these interesting tales from the 2013 hotline as told to food safety specialists

They're definitely hard to believe but after watching some of the reality TV shows on what people do, it sounds plausible.

It's not quite David Letterman's "Top 10 List," but here's the USDA's Top 5 list from 2013 as recounted by Beaugh. You won't see this on the USDA Website, but here's for a good chuckle via Beaugh who asks if people would eat these turkeys. She says she hopes they wouldn't.

No.5: Lifeguard Not On Duty
Never leave your turkey by the pool unsupervised. A couple found a wild turkey in their swimming pool, apparently drowning the night before. The caller actually considered serving it to their guests for dinner. This takes being economical to a whole new level.

No.4: Tumble Dry Low
Make sure you have the tools before you commit. One clever caller didn't have a large enough container to brine his large turkey. So of course, the washing machine is next best thing, right? Wrong. After putting ice and brine solution into the machine, his roommate put in a load of laundry with detergent and bleach.

No.3: What's That Fowl Smell?
It's true that cold water can be used to defrost frozen poultry, but one should really consider where that water comes from. One Thanksgiving host had a large frozen turkey and a small amount of time, so he put the turkey in the toilet and continuously flushed to allow water to run all over it. Somebody get a plunger and a take-out menu.

No.2: In By 9, Out By 5
One "resourceful" Thanksgiving hostess forgot to buy a cooking bag for her turkey. Instead she slipped the bird into a dry cleaning bag. During cooking, the bag melted around the turkey and produced a strong, chemical smell. This is a great way to get the family on the fast track to Black Friday.

No.1: You Are Now Free To Move About The Country

Ever find a great clothing sale when you're on vacation so you take some things back home with you? Yeah, you probably shouldn't do that with poultry. A woman found a turkey on sale while visiting family and decided to pack it in her carry-on for the flight home. To make matters worse, her flight was delayed overnight so she kept the turkey on ice in the hotel bathtub. "Ma'am, you're gonna have to check that bag... for Salmonella." 

If you have a question or a funny turkey story of your own, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHOTLINE. The Hotline will be open from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day. You can also visit or follow them on Twitter at @USDAFoodSafety. Here are some great tips:


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