cover image Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family

Rabia Chaudry. Algonquin, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-1-643-75038-5

Chaudry, cohost of the Undisclosed podcast, celebrates and complicates food and culture with this engrossing account of how both shaped her. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1974, and raised in the U.S. by Muslim immigrant parents, Chaudry was subject to myths of American nutritional supremacy that favored processed foods, as well as baby formula over breast milk. “The abundance of America strained at our skin and clothing,” writes Chaudry, “and our relatives were torn between embarrassment... and mild jealousy.” Internalizing her Pakistani family’s comments that her weight made her undesirable, Rabia married an abusive man and suffered years of disordered eating. A trip to Pakistan, where she eats naan pakora (“a big fluffy carb stuffed with deep fried carbs”) and spends time with relatives who support rather than shame her, becomes a turning point. As she traces her path toward a healthier relationship with food, Chaudry refreshingly eschews conventional narratives about weight loss, as well as fat acceptance (“Don’t make me feel terrible... for not being able to feel great no matter what,” she says to internet scolds), concluding, “I will never deprive myself of the joy of food.” That joy is contagious in descriptions of Pakistani street burgers, the rainbow hues of Punjabi daal, and 50 pages worth of delectable recipes. Victory is sweet and savory in this ebullient tale of self-acceptance. (Nov.)