Leya and Denise Glazer celebrate their second cookbook, ‘The Worldly Vegetarian’
When you think about all modern adolescents have on their plates, it’s hard to imagine them making time for much outside of school, sports, and studying.
But Leya Glazer, a ninth-grader at The Hockaday School, has completed two vegetarian cookbooks – one an international cuisine guide – proving her appetite for extracurricular adventures is far from ordinary.
Leya has been a vegetarian since kindergarten when her mother, Denise, a food scientist and biochemist, explained her reasons for not eating meat.
“After taking a meat science class during my graduate program, I just couldn’t eat it anymore,” Denise said. “When Leya asked about my reasons, she decided to become a vegetarian as well.”
After Leya told her friends she was a vegetarian, the trend caught on at school but not in the healthiest of ways.
“We noticed a lot of her friends we’re becoming ‘pizza-tarians’ and ‘doughnut-tarians,’” Denise said. “We wanted to ensure they were getting the right amounts of nutrients and proteins from their diets, so we decided to write our first cookbook with healthier recipes.”
After publishing her first vegetarian cookbook, Leya’s friends were excited to expand their palettes.
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 bunch fresh coriander, separated into stalks and leaves and roughly chopped
1 small green chili, chopped into small pieces (or one teaspoon chili powder)
1 large cauliflower, leaves removed and cut evenly into eighths
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even pieces
2 (8 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
fresh ginger, peeled and grated
fresh garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and one teaspoon of cumin seeds to the oil. Stir together and cook until onions become creamy, golden, and translucent.
Add chopped coriander stalks, two teaspoons of turmeric, and one teaspoon of salt. Add chopped chilis (according to taste) Stir tomatoes into onion mixture. Add ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly.
Add potatoes and cauliflower to the sauce plus a few tablespoons of water (ensuring that the mixture doesn’t stick to the saucepan).
Ensure that the potatoes and cauliflower are coated with the curry sauce. Cover and allow to simmer for twenty minutes (or until potatoes are cooked). Add two teaspoons of Garam Masala and stir. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top of the curry.
Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for as long as possible before serving.
But then Leya spoke to a friend from India and learned there was still so much ground to cover.
“My friend Anika came to me and said I should include some recipes from India,” Leya said. “She told me there were a lot of great vegetarian recipes from her culture.”
This spurred a two-year journey of curating cuisines from all over the world and culminated in Leya’s second cookbook, The Worldly Vegetarian.
This latest publication was conceived on the philosophy that food brings people together and features 68 recipes from 30 countries, from Greece to Guatemala and Thailand to Turkey. Recipes include international favorites like bibimbap, empanadas, and Aloo Gobi – an Indian potato and cauliflower dish provided by Anika Kapoor, a chief inspiration for the book.
Available on Amazon, The Worldly Vegetarian encourages new adventures in vegetarian cooking and promotes cultural awareness through culinary exploration with vivid maps and historical contexts.
“Food brings people together,” the book states. “breaking ‘bread’ with people breaks barriers!”
Next, Leya and Denise plan to gather ideas for a cookbook promoting gluten, sugar, and dairy-free recipes.
“My son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease four years ago,” Denise said. “So, I think our next step is trying to help others through diet who share that same affliction.”