BY CHRISTINE BARBOUR
It’s hard to think of anything for the kitchen that can’t be found at Goods for Cooks, the venerable cooking-supply store on the west side of the downtown Square. Gadgets? Goods has them all. Cookware? Check. And hard-to-find food items like imported pastas, fine vinegars, pungent cheeses, grassy olive oils, and smoky Kentucky bacon? Goods carries those, too.
It’s not just goods that the store specializes in, but services as well—not something you’ll find at your box stores or mail-order palaces. Wondering how to cook your holiday turkey? Goods isn’t quite the Butterball hotline, but they field their share of inquires from anxious cooks. Andrew Appel, who has owned Goods since 2005, and his cadre of expert home-cook employees have to be on top of recipe substitutions, metric conversions, and food allergies, and often find themselves called on to weigh in on unexpected topics, like how to get kids to eat vegetables and how to create a balanced liquid diet.
In a way, says Appel, part of his job is to help consumers navigate through the mountains of “too much information” that they face on a daily basis. Confronted by piles of product reviews and other evaluations, some customers just resort to calling Goods, knowing that Appel has researched the appliances and foods that he carries and can tell you the strengths and weaknesses of various brands. “If you get to trust a merchant,” he says, “their opinion matters.”
Appel’s training as an engineer makes evaluating appliances easy, but his passion for food makes tasting the gourmet products he carries fun. Patrons can sample vinegars and olive oils themselves at the tasting bar, but it is Appel and his employees who choose the cheeses and other products, and what they sell is what they like. Products range from the exotic to the local, including Daddy Bob’s peanut brittle, Brown County Coffee, and Muddy Fork Farm granola, and he carries specialty-cured meats from the Smoking Goose in Indianapolis and Broadbent bacon and sausage from Kentucky. Whether you stop into Goods for a missing ingredient or to stock up for a picnic, you can be sure what you buy has passed the exacting standards of Appel and his crew. Too bad Goods and Services isn’t nearly as catchy a name for a store as Goods for Cooks.