Cookbook Review: Foodimentary by John-Bryan Hopkins

Note: I received a digital advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

With bright, colorful illustrations and a dedication to celebrating food holidays, one for every day of the year, this is a fun book but not really an essential one. This is coming from a person who never saw the point in food holidays to begin with, so perhaps I am just biased. In the intro, John-Bryan Hopkins describes how he came to be the food holiday guru, which apparently started with a desire to launch a food blog with a punny name and no initial idea of what to write about. He eventually realized that food holidays, such as National Donut Day, were always trending on Twitter, and thus an idea to blog about self-created food holidays was born. He respected some food holidays that were already around, replaced some of the less popular ones with more exciting food holidays of his own, and made up the rest to fill in the remaining days of the year. While I had never heard of Foodimentary before, he apparently has a loyal Twitter following and has been written up in many magazines, proof that anyone can carve a niche for themselves with a little ingenuity and media savvy.

Perhaps I'm not giving Hopkins enough credit. While I found his tale of self-promotion and Facebook tragedy off-putting (talk about first world problems), he has done an excellent job researching food trivia and finding a way to deliver it in bite-size pieces that make each day of the year a little more fun. The book mostly features recipes that are cornerstones of American food (strawberry rhubarb pie, sloppy joes, tapioca pudding), but also some with a more interesting spin, such as his pretzel-inspired pigs in a blanket and his BLT bruschetta. I would have enjoyed hearing more about John-Bryan Hopkins' cooking credentials, as the only thing I knew about him before reading the recipes was that he was a food blogger, and I wanted a more compelling reason to try his recipes compared to similar recipes in other cookbooks.

The design of the book is clever and well-thought-out. Cute illustrations abound; vintage photos add to the historical vibe; the font is eye-catching and trendy; and the organization by season and month give it an appealing calendar format. I enjoyed flipping through the book casually, stumbling upon the occasional recipe and absorbing the food trivia as I went along. If you ever enjoyed the Food Network show Unwrapped, you'll enjoy the facts in this book. While this isn't a book that I would necessarily run out and buy right now, it would make a lovely coffee table piece.

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

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