Discovering True Scrappiness in a Best-Selling Book

Cover of Scrappy Cooking. Carleigh is tossing an apple into the air, wearing a green jacket in front of a lighter green background with all sorts of fresh food in front of her.

Have you ever known someone who became famous? I mean, really famous. Ten million social media followers and appearances on major TV shows like Good Morning America famous? Having their face on a New York city billboard famous? While I’m stretching the definition of the verb “know”, I recently discovered someone’s a self-made sensation.

Carleigh Bodrug was a student in my news writing class at Fanshawe long ago. Over the years, I taught at Humber College (mostly), briefly at Mohawk in Hamilton, and at London’s Fanshawe. Anyway, I remember her as talented and inquisitive. We met in person only once or twice. It was an online course, pre-pandemic, with little face-to-face interaction. And I want to make it super clear that I’m not claiming to have had ANY role in her future success!

Successful By Any Measure

As I write this, not quite a week after the release of her latest cookbook, Scrappy Cooking, it’s #11 of all books on Amazon. Not just among cookbooks. Not in any category of books – out of ALL books. Amazon’s bookstore contains about 33-million titles so this is huge. Her previous book was a New York Times best seller, too.

She became a social media phenomenon (Brand name: Plant You) by showing people how to easily make plant-based meals and reduce food waste. She’s compelling to watch – an enthusiastic young woman sharing what she knows with those of us who want to learn. The new book is, quite honestly, phenomenal. Her recipes take into account what you might have on hand, not what you need to go out and search for. It’s really well done.

Roasted cauliflower with tomato sauce and cheddar on them.
My own creation: air-fryer Cauliflower Parmigiana, made with cheddar I was too lazy to grate. Delicious!

In addition to wanting to cut down on what I throw out, I’ve been adding more vegetarian and vegan recipes to my repertoire. I feel better when I eat less meat and there are plenty of other ways to get protein. (But you’ll have to pry cheese out of my cold, dead hands – real cheese is a deal-breaker!) My Scrappy Cooking book arrived last week and I’ve already tabbed a half dozen dishes to try. There are 140 of recipes and with all of the variations and substitutions one can make, many more than that. Best of all, they’re simple.

Did you know that households account for most food waste, even more than restaurants? (The student is the teacher now!) In these days of grocery prices risng out of control, it’s just smart to make the most of what we buy. Carleigh turns cut-off beet tops into pesto, onion skins into flavoring, and has loads of other ideas for food scraps that would usually get tossed.

Humble Canadian Sensation

As Scrappy Cooking shot up to Amazon’s top sellers, Carleigh described it as “bonkers”! Here she is, a tiny force of nature from Canada, making a positive impact on so many people’s lives. Social media influencer wannabes take note: it’s not all about using filters or posing or hashtags. It’s about authenticity and a genuine desire to make the world a better place.

I couldn’t be more delighted to (finally!) discover Carleigh’s work. And make no mistake, it is work. She spends long days and nights in her kitchen experimenting with ingredients and ideas. Sadly, her Mom passed away just a few short weeks ago, while she was in the throes of preparing for the book to come out. Success on this level doesn’t come without stress on its own. In fact, I’d bet there’s more stress now because there’s so much more at stake.

As an introduction, check out Carleigh’s recent appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s TV show where she shares a few brilliant ideas for leftover scraps.

6 thoughts on “Discovering True Scrappiness in a Best-Selling Book”

  1. Claire Cascone

    Thank you for introducing us to Carleigh Bodrug.
    I have been a vegetarian almost my entire life, and Carleigh is showing me how to take recipes up to a whole new level.
    I’ve always been adamant about not wasting food, it’s just the way I was raised. However, Carleigh just taught me a whole bag of new tricks that I had never heard of. I just put our breakfast banana peels into a jar of water. My Rosemary plant will appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Wonderful! This morning I made her vegan ground beef which I am now enjoying as part of a taco salad! Enjoy, Claire.

  2. Carleigh was a student of mine at Western in the MIT program. She is indeed an authentic person and a smash success!

    1. You would have known her much better than I did. I’m starting down the recipe rabbit hole and so far so good!

  3. This is amazing! Thanks for the share and congrats to Carleigh. Can’t wait to try your air fryer cauliflower and cheese, too, Miss Lisa!

    1. Please call it by its the fancy name! It’s not just tomato sauce and melted cheese on slightly burned cauliflower steaks. (Yes it is!)

      Imagine – a vegan low waste cookbook is currently number one on the NYT best seller list! 🙂

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