Black-eye or black-eyed peas seem to figure ubiquitously on Southern tables, and Yankee visitors seem to look at them askance. They are not necessarily country fare, as many people claim them to be. They appear on the tables of rich and poor, the educated and uneducated alike, and are eaten with equal enthusiasm. They are a basis of the dish known as Hoppin’ John, the origin of which name no one seems to be able to explain. The dish is made with either black-eyed peas or cow peas and rice, and it is certainly one of the most traditional of Southern dishes. It is served in many Southern homes on New Year’s Day to bring all those assembled good luck throughout the year. I am amused to think that in South Carolina there is a dish made of okra and rice called Limping Susan. The first recipe for Hoppin’ John is a modernized version demonstrated for me by Bill Neal, a fine young North Carolina chef.
© 1987 Craig Claiborne estate. All rights reserved.