Hoppin’ John, Rice and Peas

In the southern United States, as in Brazil and most of the Caribbean, rice culture has its roots in Africa. As legend has it, rice first came to North America aboard a British sailing ship enroute from Madagascar to England. The ship had taken refuge in Charleston, South Carolina, seeking repair, and after receiving assistance, the ship’s captain left behind a bag of Malagasy rice to show his gratitude. The rice, a long-grain Asian rice of the indica type, was then planted, whereupon it flourished, and there began the long and important history of America’s first rice, called Carolina Gold.