Hoppin John

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Eating black eyed peas on New Years is a Southern tradition. One of my sweet memories of a good friend, Matt, is when he brought black eyed peas to a New Years party in San Francisco—giving us both a shared language in the midst of living elsewhere. Funny I felt less out of place there, than I do here in the town I grew up in but for now I’m ok with that. 

Why black eyed peas? I’ve heard several different things: it was all the slaves had to eat on New Years right Hoppinjohn efore they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1st 1863) and/or  it was all Southerners were left with on New Years Day after Sherman marched through.   Also a Jewish guy I knew told me that Jews ate them on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to show humility before God. If you eat them you invite prosperity for the coming year. I made them this year because 2013 was so horrible and we didn’t eat them, that my superstition won out.

I made Hoppin John from some deep regional hive memory I have. Rice, Black eyed peas cooked in vegetable stock with onions, celery, thyme and bacon. It was tasty and I won’t wait until next year to cook it again I think