Fragrant, delectable homemade Pakistani dishes are central to Rabia Chaudry's touchingly warm and intimate narrative in Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat and Family. Chaudry is an uplifting storyteller, and her humor-laden anecdotes balance the underlying gravity of her story with grace and skill.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Chaudry moved with her parents to Northern Virginia when her veterinarian father was offered a job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Misguided efforts to make their scrawny toddler look like her American counterparts included feeding her two bottles of half-and-half daily and letting her gnaw on frozen butter sticks. As an overweight girl with a dark complexion, Chaudry was constantly reminded of her "future unmarriageability" by an immigrant community preoccupied with their daughters' marriage prospects. She got married while in college to an unsuitable boy in an effort to disprove the naysayers. Food was Chaudry's family's love language; her cherished memories include restaurant hopping with her feuding uncles, and drinking copious amounts of steaming chai.
Chaudry is an attorney, podcast host and author of Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After 'Serial'; she was also an executive producer of an HBO documentary based on her book. Being in the media spotlight made her self-conscious about her weight; it turns out that, for Chaudry, wresting control of her own narrative from those eager to pass judgment ultimately opened the door to self-acceptance. At the very end of Fatty Fatty Boom Boom, Chaudry shares easy-to-follow recipes for some of her favorite foods. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer