History of the Hoppin John Bowl

Hoppin-john-bowl.JPG

“Hoppin-john-bowl” by Srjenkins – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The origins of the name are uncertain; one possibility is that the name is a corruption of the Haitian Creole term for black-eyed peas: pois pigeons(pronounced: [pwapiˈʒɔ̃]).

The Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference to the dish is from Frederick Law Olmsted‘s 19th century travelogue, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States(1861).[7] However, a recipe for “Hopping John” in The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge,[8] which was published in 1847, is also cited as the earliest reference.[9] An even earlier source is Recollections of a Southern Matron,[10]which mentions “Hopping John” (defined, in a note, as “bacon and rice”) as early as 1838.[11]

Hoppin’ John was originally a Low Country food before spreading to the entire population of the South. Hoppin’ John may have evolved from rice and bean mixtures that were the subsistence of enslaved West Africans en route to the Americas.[12] Hoppin’ John has been further traced to similar foods in West Africa,[9] in particular the Senegalese dish,thiebou niebe.[13]

One tradition common in the U.S. is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune and romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck (or wealth) that the diner will have in the coming year. On Sapelo Island in the community of Hog Hammock, Geechee red peas are used instead of black-eyed peas. Sea Island red peas are similar.[14]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s