As tell-all memoirs go, ‘Top Chef’ host Padma Lakshmi’s autobiography is set to be a tasty morsel — though ex-husband Salman Rushdie probably experienced some heartburn on reading it. From the reasons why their marriage failed, to the insecurity Padma felt as a “brown” girl growing up in America, the book traces her journey thus far “through the lens of the culinary experiences that eventually shaped her fame.”
Titled ‘Love, Loss, and What We Ate,’ the 324-page memoir is a no holds barred account of her life — detailing stories from her childhood, her love affairs and her work. Described as “a memoir rich with sensual prose and punctuated with evocative recipes,” it navigates the scents, tastes and textures of a life lived in the spotlight.
The book also recounts the long-withheld tale of the cruel taunts Rushdie apparently subjected Padma to during their three-year marriage. Revealing that the award-winning writer called her a “bad investment” when she refused sex due to a painful medical condition, Lakshmi claims Rushdie was “deeply unsympathetic” about the undiagnosed endometriosis she suffered from at the time.
For a woman who has, for the most part, kept mum on her private life, this tell-all book is a bold move. Sharing her mental and emotional scars with the world couldn’t have been easy, and will get harder still — since critics and readers will now (no doubt) pass judgement on the data therein.
Having been labelled as “irrational, vapid and vain” by Rushdie in his 2012 autobiography, Padma’s memoir offers her the platform to share her side of the story — though this is but one facet of her book. Yet, it isn’t the fact that she speaks up against her still-powerful former husband that is laudable. It is her journey as a vulnerable woman who persevered to achieve the success and acclaim that she has, that wins our vote as a commendable bold move.
The hardcover edition of ‘Love, Loss, and What We Ate’ will be available for sale in India from April 11, 2016.
Image Credits: James Farrell for Women’s Running