Rabia Chaudry was a scrawny baby, underweight and dehydrated after her family’s journey from Pakistan to the United States. An auntie recommended a cure: half-and-half.
“There is no way to know exactly where the wires crossed in this communication,” Chaudry writes in her memoir, “Fatty Fatty Boom Boom.” The auntie later said she had recommended two teaspoons of cream daily; Chaudry’s mother remembers hearing she should give her baby two bottles of cream. Which she did.
When baby Rabia started teething, nothing soothed those gums better than a cold stick of butter. It’s no surprise that Chaudry grew to become what is affectionately known as a “big girl.”
Weight is the driving theme of this memoir — weight, and food, the handmade spicy foods of Pakistan and the greasy fast food of America, both of which she devoured. It’s also a love letter to the traditions and culture of Pakistan and the determination of a family to make it in America.
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It’s not possible to read this without craving “hunks of goat glistening in dark brown korma gravy; platters of biryani; plump red tandoori chicken legs; rich, thick, stewed chickpeas; spinach and potatoes swimming in ghee.”
Chaudry, now an attorney, also writes about her dedication to freeing Adnan Syed, the subject of the podcast “Serial.” But mostly “Fatty Fatty Boom Boom” is a delightful story of a woman who learned to both indulge and curb her appetites.