Hoppin’ John is a southern tradition of serving black-eyed peas and collard greens to ensure good luck
for the New Year. Because of the weather, I decided to postpone it this year and will celebrate with
I learned about Hoppin’ John when I married a Southerner. My late husband Tim Rpbinson was from
Dora, Alabama and I fell in love with Southern cooking after we met and married in New York. I had a
mixed heritage of Slovak cooking on my mother’s side and English-Scotch on my Dad’s – so I was open
to adding more traditions.
According to Allyson Jones in The History of Hoppin’ John, the first written “receipt” for
Hoppin’ John appeared in “The Carolina Housewife” (1847), written by Charlestonian Sarah Rutledge.
The simple recipe called for one pound of bacon, one pint of peas and one pint of rice cooked in
a single pot.
Jones notes that the African roots of the dish can be traced to the antebellum rice culture of the
South Carolina Low country, where peas and rice have been cooked together for centuries.
Tradition dictates that a side of collard greens representing paper money be served with Hoppin’
John to ensure prosperity in the coming year. Several sources also suggest a penny or dime
should be placed under the plate or in the dish itself for additional wealth.
I still love to honor this southern tradition now that I am back with family and friends in
Michigan. In fact, my friend Bob, a small town Michigan country boy, is even helping with cooking. The
year 2020 promises a lot of controversy, but Hoppin’ John reminds me that cultures don’t have
to clash. Happy New Year!
Read more and get the recipe at https://www.history.com/news/hoppin-john-a-new-years-tradition