Cowpeas and Rice: Hoppin’ John

Preparation info
  • Serves

    6 to 8

    • Difficulty


Appears in
I Hear America Cooking

By Betty Fussell

Published 1986

  • About

The dish is simple but the names for it are not. Cowpeas are not botanical peas at all but a type of bean, a low legume that was fed to cattle and slaves in eighteenth-century America and named for the more valued animal. Brought to the West Indies from Africa, cowpeas crept north to Georgia in the 1730s and multiplied so rapidly that they became both the common “field pea,” as they are often called, and the decorative “black-eyed pea” that Jefferson planted at Monticello. Creoles called th