Many people have emailed me asking how they should handle social events now that they are vegan. What do you do when your business meeting lunch is going to be catered? When Aunt Fran invites you to dinner? When your Bible study group is meeting over donuts and pastries?
Bring food. Always bring food. If they tell you you don't need to, bring food anyway. Unless you are absolutely positive about where you're going and what you will have there eat, bring food. Make a dish to share if it is appropriate; if not, bring a fun, well-balanced meal just for yourself.
Because if you don't bring food (as I learned once again last week), you may end up with nothing to eat while all around you are enjoying a feast. This sends the wrong message about veganism to yourself and to everyone else. You may end up feeling hungry and sorry for yourself; your choice may start to feel lonely or isolating. Even worse, other people may look at you and decide that vegans are sad-looking people who eat nothing but carrot sticks.
But bring along a vibrant, fabulous lunch or dish to share and you show yourself and them how fabulous vegan dining can be!
Heeding my own advice, here's a little lunch I packed myself for a recent gathering. In the larger container is a green salad topped with kiwi fruit, almond slices, and strawberry balsamic vinegar (from Trader Joe's).
The smaller container holds a trio of delightful dishes. First I prepared Green Beans & Carrots in a Tarragon Viniagrette from Vegan Lunch Box. By the way, if you're a health-conscious veghead like me, it's easy to cut back on the fat in this recipe; I used just a small drizzle of olive oil as opposed to 2 tablespoons. I also left out the salt and no one was the wiser; Shmoo helped finish the rest of these off with gusto.
Across the happy pink divider is another salad: Cabbage, Apple, and Raisin Slaw from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. I always hated slaw until I tried this one filled with tart apples and sweet raisins; I could eat the entire batch! But I resisted the urge and instead brought the rest to share.
Next to the salads is a ramekin of Mediterranean Eggplant and Beans from Eat To Live. Creamy eggplant and chickpeas taste luscious together with onions and red bell pepper (gee, it's fun to feature foods shmoo would never touch!) I packed this dish in a microwave-safe container in case I wanted to warm it up.
Verdict: It feels nice to be well-fed and taken care of, even when you're the one taking care of yourself! 5 stars.