What came first - the vegan or the vegetarian? This isn't a philosophical mindbender like the chicken or the egg question, and now, in the days of Google, it's fairly easy to find an answer to it. While I figured the vegetarian came first, I didn't know by how much. According to Wikipedia, the first records of vegetarianism date back to 6th century BC! The term "vegan" was coined in 1944. I'm sure there were vegans prior to the label becoming official. But, still, that's a pretty big gap in time.
In more than 2 decades of not eating meat, I have tried a couple of times to go vegan. I found it much harder to sustain that diet. It's not so challenging to do at home, especially when I was living alone, but I find eating socially and eating out to be far more of a burden as a vegan. For a period of time, I ate mostly vegan at home, but would be open to eating dairy and eggs when I ate elsewhere. When I moved in with Todd I found it much more difficult to find lots of options of menus he would enjoy sans cheese. I felt I was already imposing my non-meat ways on him, since I do all the cooking, so I should compromise on dairy. Now, if you look in my fridge you would find feta, chevre, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses at any given time. You would also find yogurt and eggs. I still use non-dairy milk and I still enjoy eating vegan meals, especially when I'm flying solo for dinner.
Tonight, I was on my own for dinner, but did not choose the vegan route. I had a mish mosh of vegetables from both the farmers market and the grocer, and I needed to pull together something quick since I didn't get home until 9:00. Heidi from 101 Cookbooks, a vegetarian cooking blog I read regularly, often throws a fried egg on top a salad or a simple veg dish. I finally decided to try this tonight. I have to say the results were tasty, albeit it an ecclectic combination. I used pea tendrils (big score from the Belmont FM last week) as the greens. Then, I added some steamed sweet potatoes, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, chickpeas and a balsamic dijon vinaigrette.