Hoppin’ John is more than the sum of its parts. The ingredients have symbolic importance. Eating the classic Southern dish on New Year’s Day portends good fortune in the coming year.
While black-eyed peas represent coins, more luck is to be had when serving up a pot of collard greens, representing green backs (dollars). Add cornbread to bring you that stash of gold you’ve been looking for.
Where Does the Name Hoppin’ John Come From?
- One source suggests that “Hoppin’ John” was a handicapped man who cooked and sold the dish in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1841.
- One tradition has children hopping around the dinner table as the dish was brought in from the kitchen.
- A more dubious explanation suggests that in South Carolina it was customary to invite a guest to dinner by saying, “Hop in, John.”
Good Luck in a Pot
I have a pot of peas perking on the stove even now, so we’ll see how that goes. I made the recipe from TasteofHome, but with a few embellishments.
I’d be happy if we were lucky enough to have the world rid of COVID. So get busy on those black-eyed peas. We need all the good fortune we can muster this year.