Treat yourself with Ann Arbor foodie Instagram, smallgirl.fatappetite

An interview with the mind behind the Instagram meals

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

Photo | Sumra Abedi

ANN ARBOR, Mich - Considered “the” food person by her friends and family, Sumra Abedi is the mind behind Ann Arbor foodie Instagram account smallgirl.fatappetite.

Started in 2016, smallgirl.fatappetite has gained a modest but dedicated following of Ann Arbor foodies with its fun eats and tasteful photos.

Telling us that her love of food comes from both her parents -- her mother’s awesome cooking abilities and her father’s adventurous tastes, Abedi confessed that starting her Instagram account was way out of her comfort zone. A fascination with social media and food plus an interest in social media marketing helped her finally jump into the deep-end of blogging.

We emailed with the foodie Instagrammer and asked her about her ‘gram, favorite Ann Arbor eats and about getting the clean photos smallgirl.fatappetite is known for.

A4: You’ve also been featured on Teaspressa’s social media influencer blog as well as Spoon University’s “8 Instagram Accounts Every Foodie in Ann Arbor Needs to Follow,” did you ever think your Instagram account would lead to opportunities like those?

Abedi: Not at all. Initially, I treated my Instagram account as a virtual diary for my friends & family. I enjoyed having this outlet to express my creativity; through food and photography. At the time, when I first started, there wasn’t a massive saturation of food bloggers on Instagram within the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti community and I think that’s when my food account started to grow.

I think one of the reasons why my content stood out was not only for my pictures but for my puns! Once I started to get positive feedback, it only motivated me more to go beyond my limits and continuously refine my content which has definitely paid off. Not only am I grateful for the opportunities I’ve received, but I’m also eternally thankful for those who have supported me from the start.

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A4: Your first smallgirl.fatappetite post was in 2016 at Aventura. Since then, what have been some of your favorite eats in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti?

Abedi: This is probably one of the hardest yet most frequently asked question I get! If I had to narrow it down, I would say Dessous, Wilma’s, TeaHaus, Zingerman’s, Tomukun BBQ, Ma Lou’s, and of course the place that started my journey, Aventura. When it comes to coffee shops, I love Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse, Lab Cafe and Zingerman’s Coffee Company. I wouldn’t be a true Ann Arbor local if I didn’t express my love for Zingerman’s enough!

Read: Gem of Kerrytown: Ann Arbor's TeaHaus serves up delicious tea, baked goods

A4: There are also some traveling eats and some not-so-traditional meals on smallgirl.fatappetite, too. What has been your most adventurous meal?

Abedi: I would say I’ve acquired an adventurous taste from traveling quite a bit. I’ve tried the most bizarre seafood dishes in Spain, eating camel meat in Morocco, and trying “herring under a fur coat” in Russia (a real fur coat may or may not have been harmed in the making of the dish). Lately, I’ve been loving grasshopper tacos. It may not sound tasteful to many, but I encourage everyone to try it!

A4: You definitely prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to your photos. How do you get such delicious looking shots?

Abedi: A lot of practice and patience! If you scroll through my feed, you can definitely see a change in the way I photograph and edit my pictures over time. I’m naturally a perfectionist when it comes to photography so getting the right angles, lighting, and detailing of the meal is SO important to me especially since I'm always striving for quality over quantity.

When it comes to capturing the shot, I only like to photograph during daylight so the photo looks more natural and fresh (usually, I’ll ask the waiter to seat me next to the window). With the majority of my pictures, I like to take flatlay shots so you can see the presentation of the meal clearly. Once I get that perfect shot, I like to use editing apps such as VSCO to sharpen the image, adjust the contrast/exposure, balance out any tones, and play around with different filters to get that crisp look. I’m all for the aesthetics so I take my content creation very seriously!

Aside from eating and making content for her blog, Abedi said that she also likes fashion, travel and is a self-proclaimed "sucker" for horror movies. 

Check out smallgirl.fatappetite for recommendations, reviews, and homemade recipes. 

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