Friday, September 18, 2015

@Foodimentary, My Dear Hopkins

LUCY BURDETTE: A couple of weeks ago, I got the most interesting Twitter message from a man who said he was a huge fan of my books, in fact he wanted to be in one. Intriguing right? Then I looked at his Twitter profile—800k+ followers—on a site best known for tweeting his rendition of food holidays. (Think National Key Lime pie day, of which there isn’t one presently…) I researched further and decided you’d like to meet John-Bryan Hopkins too. Welcome John-Bryan!

So first question, how in the world did you get started with food holidays? Have you always been a food person? Do you cook or are you mostly an eater?

JOHN-BRYAN HOPKINS: Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m a founder of a food related website Foodimentary. To say I was an 'early adopter' of social media would be an understatement. On Twitter @Foodimentary was one of the very first ‘food’ related Twitter accounts EVER. Within 2 months of being on Twitter I became one of the top 100 Twitter accounts in the world and was rewarded many awards/articles by many major news organizations.  I’m known for Tweeting food related things that are universal, like National Food Holidays.

I started researching food holidays when I joined Twitter. From the very beginning people really responded to Food Holidays. They are a universal way to talk about food.  In a medium when there is sometimes not a lot to talk about, food holidays are a great go to retweet. No cooking, sharing of food advice or recipes necessary.

Cooking is something I do almost every day, I have a passion to eat 'in season' but otherwise it’s not a huge passion.  When you write about food every day…cooking can sometimes feel like work when you really want to just eat.
I’m a food trivia nut! My passion with Foodimentary is to create an ‘ah-ha’ moment in food. Like: Did you know that Grapefruits got their name? Spanish explorers saw them hanging of the trees: ‘Like clusters of  grapes’ This translated into ‘Grapefruits'

LUCY: How does a food get chosen for the calendar? (I know you mentioned that Key Lime pie doesn't have it's own day, and we need to fix that!) And what if there's already something on the calendar that day? And what if someone with another calendar disagrees with your choice?

John-Bryan:  Well, there are many sites who have 'food holidays' lists. Most lists are the same. I think that since Google adopted my Icalender of holidays last year. That pretty much solidified my list as the rule.
When I started working with food holidays, the calendar was far from full. I created about 120 food holidays so far. Celebrating foods that people crave and enjoy. There are many food holidays over the years that were about foods out of season( National Strawberry Day was once in February) or foods we no longer eat.

Now a-day, I take foods off my list and adjust the calendar every year to keep it current and relevant. If noone retweets or shares my post, then I need to find a more relevant food.

LUCY: Your bio says you are a social media consultant. With 866,000 Twitter followers, I think we could safely say you're an expert! Can you share some tips for writers who are struggling to make an impact with their social media activity?

John-Bryan: Do not be afraid to tweet to an author or famous person. Sometime if it’s the right question or subject manner, you might get a response.

Too many tweets means lots of people unfollowing you and there goes your audience…

Find a network of fellow writers, publishers and talk to one another. Make your tweets to read as a conversation that the reader is privileged to.

Hashtags and trending topics will make your posts more visible. Put those at the ends. Photos make for great tweets too.

LUCY: You are a big fan of Key West as I am. What are your favorite haunts on the island?

John-Bryan: I love Key West, Especially in the winter. It’s my 3rd home as far as I am concerned, 2nd being my lake house. My husband and I always stay at The Gardens Hotel. We always stay in the main house with a balcony overlooking the central gardens. They play jazz there in the back yard and serve drinks. The locals come out in droves. This helps me feel as if I lived there than and not just a tourist…that feeling is addictive.

Lucy: Thanks so much for visiting! Ladies and gents, he’ll stop by to answer your questions.
What is your favorite food holiday? (And yes he is going to be a character…He asked at exactly the right time. He is running for Fantasy Fest King in KILLER TAKEOUT.)


  1. What an interesting [and fun] post! And food holidays certainly are fun.
    My favorites, of course, National Chocolate Cake Day on January 27 and National Coffee Day on September 29th . . . .

  2. Wait, Google adopted your food calendar? Wow. Impressive.

    Me, of course anything related to chocolate. But I wouldn't mind a National Key Lime Pie day, either.

  3. John-Bryan sounds like you've got your priorities straight. I have ALWAYS wanted to stay in The Garden Hotel in Key West. Seems so posh.

    So I just checked out FOODIMENTARY and discovered today is National Cheeseburger Day. Along with the tidbit... took me back to my first White Castle burgers. Didn't come topped w/onions?

    Interesting about grapefruits. I wonder how breadfruit got its name.

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  5. Yes, I was going to mention it's Cheeseburger day--and, ta dah, I heard about it on the Today Show! Pretty cool.

    John-Bryan, How much do you work every day on this? There are so many people waiting for you to be funny and relevant and informative--it's got to be a huge job.

    Two quick things: which foods failed to catch the hearts of your readers? (Spam Day? Lima Bean Day?) Do you take nominations? And, oh, one more. when is bacon day?

    Joan, EVERY day is coffee day.

  6. Yes, indeed, Hank . . . but I love the idea of a day devoted to celebrating coffee!
    [And I wouldn't vote for a Spam Day, but Lima Beans are yummy, and I'm definitely on board with a National Bacon Day . . . .]

  7. Joan you and I are probably few of the fans of lima beans!

    I was thrilled to find out there was a raspberry cake day--several years ago before I'd heard of Foodimentary! I made a raspberry cake which then appeared in FATAL RESERVATIONS. In fact I went to a booksigning last weekend where the lovely hostess made the cake for all of us. Isn't that the best?

    We're going to have to work on Key Lime pie day when you're in Key West this winter. We need to get David Sloan on board too--he's written a cookbook on KLP and he makes those giant pies for publicity. Last year he came to Boston to make one when you Massachusetts people were overwhelmed by winter.

  8. How much fun is this??? I have to check out the calendar! Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day?

  9. So glad you guys like what I do! It's a full time job indeed. When I started blogging it was simply a hobby. Within 3 months I had to drop everything and start a whole different life.

    There have been some real food holiday clunkers and huge successes. I created on a whim 'tater tot day' and in 2 hours it was a trending topic globally. The least likes food holiday of the year is always fruitcake day. I keep it on theca lender because it's part of our food history. They say that only 10% of all fruitcakes are ever eaten and they are the most re-gifted food.

    The 'holiday' I got the most flack from was September 11 being Hot Cross Buns Day. I did my research and felt the idea of celebrating the 'day' with 'soul cakes' seemed appropriate. The year before I saw so many bakers serving them on September 11 in New York. I didn't really know what they were until I researched their history and meaning.

    That being said, I got a lot of flack the first year, now it's slowly becoming a staple to commemorate the day that we all will never forget...

    I'm ready to create National Key Lime Pie day but need direction... when is the time of year to celebrate it? Spring, Summer, Fall? I assume Winter would not be the best time.

    let me know what you think and I will work on finding a day on the calendar open.

    Thanks Again!


  10. Key lime pie, to me, always says "summer." So my vote would be July or August. But I defer to Lucy/Roberta as the Key Lime Pie expert. =)

    And I adore tater tots.

  11. Now I want Key Lime Pie.

    And congrats from one character in a book in this series to another. It's fun!

  12. What a fabulous post! John, I'll be in Key West next month. What is your favorite seafood restaurant?

    1. Sarabeths for breakfast. Martin's and Santiago's Bodega. They have seafood but wonderful places. The keys are best if you get Reservations in advance. I use Open Table almost exclusively. I

  13. Rhys, we'll see what JB says, but my favorite is Seven Fish. You do have to make a reservation though...

    Mark, I forget where you're a character?

  14. +1 on bacon day. And we need one for root beer floats!


  15. Yes, Jim, Root Beer Float Day! And what about crossing the Pond for Devon Cream Tea Day?

    John-Bryan, I love Hot Cross Buns Day for September 11th. Thanks for introducing me to Foodimentary. Huge fun and going to be part of my daily routine.

    John-Bryan and Lucy, do you think The Gardens Hotel is where they filmed the TV series Bloodlines? The description sound exactly like what I saw.

    And thanks so much for the Twitter tips. I can certainly use them:-)

  16. Yes I am a Root beer float fan too. And the cream tea day sounds fun. I think they filmed bloodlines up the keys around marathon

  17. John-Bryan, what fun to be the food calendar king! I'm looking forward to following you on Twitter and taking a look at that calendar. With Key West being one of my favorite places ever, I love hearing about other people's experiences, food tastes, and hotel choices there. I'm going to have to check out The Garden Hotel.

    I vote for Key Lime Day, too. And, Lucy, I'm also one of those rare lima bean lovers, so Lima Bean Day sounds great to me.

    Rhys, I enjoyed Santiago's Bodega, too, but it is definitely a place you need to get reservations, and be careful that you reserve a table at the Key West Santiago Bodega on Open Table. There's one in Miami, too, and guess who arrived at the Key West one, having made a reservation at the Miami one. I did get to eat there another night. And, I'm going to push Firefly Restaurant, too, which is also on Petronia St., before you reach Santiago Bodega's. Firefly has the most delicious dessert I've ever tasted, key lime cake made from the chef's grandmother's recipe. Forget Death by Chocolate. Death by Key Lime Cake would be much better.

    So cool that you are going to be a character in Killer Takeout, John-Bryan. Lucy, you have a role for a passionate tourist? Hehehe!

  18. When the Jungle Reds descend on Key West---we are swooping you up, John-Bryan! We will follow you anywhere: on Twitter--and in real life!

  19. John-Bryan and Debs— May I vote for Devon Cream Tea Day followed closely by Root Beer Float Chaser Day? xoxoxox