Vegan Cooking with Jacob Goodman

Jacob Goodman, coordinator of the Bloomingfoods Kirkwood store, spends his days interacting with customers, stocking out groceries, and pulling together the operational details of our original location. Tucked into an alley intersection, between Village Deli and Runcible Spoon just off Kirkwood, this first Bloomingfoods store attracts Indiana University customers who stroll down the block down from Sample Gates. It’s the only co-op we know of that is made of limestone (it’s a former carriage house), featuring a wide staircase and upper floor. Packed with history and delicious things to eat, the Kirkwood location offers prepared foods biked in daily from the Near West Side deli, by Chad Roeder of Bloomington Pedal Power. Calvin Wong makes fresh sushi each day in the small Kirkwood prep kitchen.

In this intimate space, conducive to conversation, Goodman invariably talks with people about food, sometimes sharing the fact that he is vegan. He has recently begun to offer vegan cooking classes, too, at Jan Bulla-Baker’s Bloomington Cooking School on the Courthouse Square. He is also available to talk with student groups, as he did recently at Eigenmann Hall.

People choose a vegan diet for a variety of reasons: most are motivated by the ethics of (not) eating animals. Unlike vegetarians, who also refrain from animal protein, vegans decline animal by-products of any kind, including dairy and eggs. They may select to not wear leather, and to adopt other cultural features of a vegan lifestyle. (Many vegans ingeniously use the visual arts, including body art, to promote their identities and values.) Jacob talked about food choices at his recent sold-out cooking class. “For me, right now, being vegan has expanded my horizons tremendously. I eat so many more fruits and vegetables, for one thing, and have begun to enjoy cooking to a degree I never did before.”

Another dietary change he has made, unrelated to animal products, involves consuming much less sugar. “Except for the truffles we’ll be preparing today, I haven’t had any sugar in over a month,” Goodman confesses. Eliminating dairy and sugar from his diet also meant that a long-standing battle with psoriasis came completely to an end. “That’s gone, without a trace. And, as often happens, when you stop eating sugar and start to pay attention to what you eat – I have a lot more energy.”

Goodman invites people of all dietary persuasions to take his class, not necessarily to convert to veganism, but to learn how to make nutrient-dense dishes that appeal to any palate. “You quickly feel the benefits of eating more plants,” he says, preparing the ingredients for avocado soup. A favorite cookbook is 500 Vegan Recipes: An Amazing Variety of Delicious Recipes, From Chilis and Casseroles to Crumbles, Crisps, and Cookies by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. “But honestly, I haven’t been disappointed by any vegan cookbook.”

Goodman also contemplates a future that involves some form of nutritional consulting and counseling. “Each person is so unique, and I find myself thinking a lot about how what we eat has a huge effect on our health. Working at Bloomingfoods, I talk with people all the time about favorite recipes and strategies for feeling better, based on what they eat.”

Jacob Goodman’s next class at the Bloomington Cooking School is tentatively scheduled for Saturday March 27th, from 11:00am-1:00pm. You can log onto the school website ( to register and learn more about the many other classes offered there. Or check in with Jacob directly at the Kirkwood Bloomingfoods store. Ask him about those delicious dairy-free macadamia nut truffles! You’ll find two of his favorite recipes in our recipe section: for Raw Green Avocado Soup, and Coconut Creamed Corn.
 Ellen Michel