Hoppin’ John

A southern tradition.

We celebrate New Years’ Day with two traditional foods from the South Carolina Lowcountry: Hoppin’ John and Collard Greens. These classic dishes were inspired by African traditions and have been a New Year’s tradition in the Carolinas for at least a hundred years. Pam (who grew up in lowcountry South Carolina) made a wonderful meal for us this year, guaranteeing us good luck and financial prosperity: “Eating those two dishes will ensure prosperity in the new year, and the collards represent greenbacks and the black-eyed peas coins. Or so they say.” [Moss 2014]

A small serving of collards (left) and hoppin’ john (right).

In preparing this post, however, I looked around a bit and found that fascinating article ([Moss 2014] from a Charleston food writer in 2014) about the history of Hoppin’ John… providing interesting background on the African origins of this dish, and how the commercial evolution of the key ingredients (bacon, rice, beans) mean it’s difficult to really accomplish the original quality of this dish. Next time, we’ll strive to find the original ingredients and see how it turns out!

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

One thought on “Hoppin’ John”

  1. Happy New Year! Great post! We blended culinary traditions yesterday. Pennsylvania Dutch pork and sour kraut. (Always eat pork on New Years Day, never chicken. Pigs eat while moving forward, Hens peck while moving backward.) Then, black-eyed peas and rice, cooked traditionally so that flavors absorb into the rice.

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