Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Joy of Vegan

Bonnie Goodman's smile radiates like the sun that shines down on the good vegan food she promotes.

In 2009 Bonnie organized a vegan potluck in Livingston and was not discouraged when only 4 people showed up, including her and her husband. After all, somebody showed up! Four years later, an average of 2 to 3 dozen people attend the monthly gathering at the Livingston public library.

The Live and Let Livingston Vegan Food Potluck motto is: you don't have to be vegan, but the food does. Among the 30 attendees today, there were 12 vegans. Some wandered in, curious about what vegans eat. Others were dedicated vegans or just liked to eat delicious food.

"My main intention is to show how good vegan food is," Bonnie told me, "how much healthier for our bodies and the animals."

I'd say Bonnie has succeeded in her mission.

Guests are asked to bring a vegan dish: no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, or gelatin. Or if you don't want to cook, a beverage is always welcome.

Bonnie plans out monthly themes to make things more fun. In the past, themes have included school lunch items, celery, and nutritional yeast (which yielded a lot of vegan cheese dishes). This month it was Cake vs. Pie: Get ready to Crrrrumble! [Spoiler: Pie won!]

You don't have to bring a themed dish, and sometimes that theme can be broadly interpreted. Here is a photo of Patch with his bean dip shaped into -- can you guess? -- a pi! (He also brought an amazing no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie. That recipe is in The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Try it!)

Patch, who in his daily life is a carpenter, is quite a master of amusement. When you attend the potluck, try to sit near him so you can hear some of his stories.

Other delectable potluck items included pizza, green salad, and beet burgers (pictured below), as well as taco pie, Boston cream pie, vegetable pot pie, quiche, key lime pie, chai cupcakes, chocolate pudding (made with avocado, agave, and dates), pineapple rice, cabbage salad, Indian chickpea salad . . . There was definitely a whole lot of something for everyone.

One lovely and delicious offering was a platter of strawberry-topped raw Vanilla Cakes. As shown in the photo, each dish must be accompanied by a list of ingredients or the recipe.

Quite a variety of people enjoyed the fellowship. Folks came from Livingston, Gardiner, Belgrade, and Big Timber.

And there was a wide range of ages. Here is a photo of the youngest, 19-month-old Willamina, and the oldest, 93-year-old Betty.

Each week, Bonnie plans a demonstration to begin the evening -- today it was lemon frosting made with soy margarine and Tofutti cream cheese.

Another bonus is that you can borrow cookbooks and videos from Bonnie. They are spread out around the room so you can look at them while you eat.

I highly encourage you to come to the next potluck, which will be July 14 at 4:30 pm. The theme is blueberries.

Live and Let Livingston Vegan Food Potluck
(click link to join their Facebook page)
Livingston Public Library
228 West Callender Street


  1. Fun! The pineapple rice sounds wonderful; not so sure about the beet burgers ;-)
    What a great way to try out different recipes.

  2. The beet burgers were -- surprise! -- terrific! This is definitely one reason to come, to taste those things you might not be brave enough to make at home.

  3. We ran out of beet burgers, but here is a great recipe from The V Word!

  4. OH!!!! I wish I could have been there.... But, I have had lots of Bonnie's delicious and healthy meals. And I am not just saying that because I am her mother!

  5. What a wonderful thing Bonnie in Livingston,MT is doing, having positive plant-based vegan potlucks and events. A role model for all who seek for themselves and also to help other people mooove to a better way of eating and living!

  6. If you are ever in Sandpoint Idaho, they have a wonderful veg potluck too!
    they usually have a speaker and live music, too :)