LEXINGTON, Ky. — While millions prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, a shortage of essential ingredients, or shopping last minute could alter some households’ traditional menu. 

What You Need To Know

  • Shop early to ensure finding all needed ingredients

  • Prepare to make multiple trips to the grocery store

  • Shop at places you don't normally go

  • Don't always shop in the same time frame

Personal chef Michele Dunn, of Georgetown, offered some tips for those concerned about not having the staples usually included. 

“I don’t think there will be a shortage of ingredients,” Dunn, owner of Dunn in the Kitchen, said. “People may have a problem finding things if they wait until the very last minute, and it may take multiple trips to the grocery store, or going somewhere outside your normal store. Right now, I think everything's there. It's just a matter of getting it when they're stocking.” 

If something is out of stock at the store or forgotten to be purchased, Dunn said her advice would be to work with what is on hand. 

“Lower the expectations a little bit,” she said. “Not that the food will not be great, but just that people are ultimately there to visit with each other. So one dish not there or prepared differently is not going to be the end of the holiday, especially given what we went through last year. I think we can kind of roll with the punches a little bit better.” 

Personal chef Michele Dunn, owner of Dunn in the Kitchen, of Georgetown, has several tips for making this year's Thanksgiving a success. (Michele Dunn)

If the situation arises, Dunn said, improvise. 

“If you don't have green beans for green bean casserole, do a broccoli casserole,” she said. “I don't think there's gonna be any shortage of the true staples, but it’s OK to get outside of your comfort zone.” 

Going somewhere besides one’s usual grocery store and shopping outside of one’s normal time would help. Still, Dunn was adamant that being flexible and preparing ahead of time is equally important. 

“I like a little bit more variety, but there are certain things you always want to have,” Dunn said. “I always want to have turkey at Thanksgiving, so that's a given for me. But you could even do, especially for a small gathering, something like Cornish hens. You're still going to have a beautiful dinner with several roasted birds on the table, and nobody has to fight over the legs. If you have to improvise, there's just something a little bit more special about it, maybe more intimate. It makes for a great story. Some of the best holidays we've had are when something just gets way messed up. You have to roll with it. Then, you remember that Thanksgiving because it stands out from the rest.” 

Dunn said there are plenty of seasonal vegetables available at stores and that branching out is often good. 

“Make it a more colorful table if you can,” she said. “Maybe cook butternut squash or Brussels sprouts. Things like that can be good stand-ins.”