THERE'S something strange with the turkey dinner, who're you gonna call? With a week to go until Christmas, SOS lines have been opened as hotels, restaurants and caterers enter into the festive spirit to help home cooks cope with last-minute emergencies. This year frazzled hosts can call on some of Hong Kong's top chefs to help them out. Even so, the flow of miracles can only be maintained while there are turkeys. The Peninsula, the Mandarin Oriental and The Regent are among those who say they will do their best to provide picture-perfect turkey dinners at short notice. But lest they prompt a flood of 11th hour cries for help, the hotels warn that there are no guarantees. The most important factor is the turkey supply. This year, The Peninsula imported 120 birds from Canada plus an ample stock of American turkeys for back-up. 'If someone is really in need on Christmas, of course we will do our best to help - if we can,' says The Peninsula's executive chef Florian Trento. In a perfect scenario, Trento can have the turkey with the stuffing and cranberry sauce ready for the crisis-stricken household within a couple of hours. With 24 hours' notice, the Continental in Quarry Bay will be able to lay on the full Christmas spread - while its freezer full of turkeys and turkey buttes (without legs) lasts. According to owner Andrea Stedman, most people prefer buttes because they are easier to carve, they can still be stuffed, and they're mostly white meat. Ordering ahead is obviously best, but 'we're good at emergencies', she says. And the restaurant's arrangement with Food-by-Fone means the entire meal can be delivered to your door. The Continental's festive range also features ham on the bone, gravlax and an array of mince pies and plum puddings. 'People still order the traditional things, they are not looking for designer roasts at Christmas,' Stedman says. Crisis management becomes a lot less complex, however, when whole roast turkeys aren't involved. Many restaurants in the Food-by-Fone network will serve - and deliver - their full menus within the hour on Christmas Day. Tiffany Delicatessen & Wine Corner in Central will put the dinner together for you - with a choice of turkeys - at three day's notice. All you need to do on Christmas Day is fetch and carry. Small whole roasted turkeys are this year's favourite, says the boutique takeaway, which predicts it will sell a record 50 turkeys over the festive season. Other items on their turkey menu include a stuffed bird and a boneless breast roll with chestnut stuffing. Apart from ordering in, there are other ways home cooks can deal with minor turkey disasters by themselves. In the absence of American-style save-my-turkey hotlines to help them out of tight spots, there's the Internet and the World Wide Web, both of which offer a bottomless pot of inspiration. A turkey hunt through one of the World Wide Web's favourite servers, Yahoo, brings up everything from a step-by-step carver's guide to recipes for honey lime turkey salad and turkey vegetable chowder. These recipes are especially helpful for salvaging turkeys which are dried-out rather than destroyed. Soup and sauces are among the best options for overdone turkey, Stedman says. 'If it's dried out, you need to make it moist,' she says. Her suggestions include mixing it with a sauce and covering it with mashed potato, turning it into turkey and leek pie, turkey balls with tomato sauce and pasta, or smothering the dehydrated pieces in gravy. The Peninsula's Trento says while it is difficult to burn the bird, a dry turkey is 'not the end of the world'. He suggests pouring fresh melted butter or margarine over the bird when it is being carved. But if you have managed the impossible and turned your bird into charcoal, there's not a lot you can do except treat it as a joke, save it up for the annals of Christmas horror stories - and dial around to find a professionally cooked replacement.