New Years is the season for Hoppin John

Every year the approach of New Years Day brings a host of pieces on the Rice Kingdom’s most famous export: Hoppin’ John.


The New York Times has a substantial piece that goes beyond that dish and cover the farm to table efforts in South Carolina. It covers the usual suspects in the movement (Sean Brock, Glenn Roberts, and Emile DeFelice) but also less famous folks such as Edisto Mills’ Greg Johnsman and chef Jacques Larson of Johns Island.


The Washington Post covered Hoppin’ John specifically a day earlier and interviewed food historian Hoppin’ John Martin Taylor.

Both pieces have been syndicated.

From these and other pieces on Hoppin’ John you would see that the black-eyed pea is considered the staple legume for many, but is also disdained by traditionalists. First off, the black-eyed pea is not the same as a cow pea, as reported in this story on Hoppin’ John and the Geechee Girl Rice Cafe in Philly. The cow pea is smaller and, in my view, a more interesting tasting item. It is also more traditionally the legume for Hoppin’ John.

Cow peas are hard to find. In fact, I find that northern cuisine, at least as judged by ingredients one can by in middle and high-end groceries has a paucity of legumes. However, I’ve had pretty good luck growing several varieties of cow peas (and butter peas and butter beans) in Pennsylvania. Maybe that’s because eating my Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day each year made the luck roll in.

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