Wednesday, 1 January 2020

New Year's Day Feast

I made the traditional southern U.S.A. dish for New Year's Day 2020.

It's called "Hoppin' John";  though no one knows why.

Some say that it originated in the South Carolina low country, but  there are variants in other southern states.

In truth it was the simple New Years's food for slaves or ex-slaves from Africa (brought to the U.S.A.  as cargo); and for poor whites.

The simple ingredients are rice and black eyed peas, sometimes with collard greens, and  maybe also cooked with salted pork.

There are myths that the dried  black eyed peas represent a wish for increased wealth (dried peas expand when they are soaked) and that the green colour of the collards speak of "green-backs"  (dollars).

I am sceptical about these myths; and especially about the idea that eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day will bring you "luck" in the year that follows.

Poor people: black or white do not need good luck.  They need justice.

Nevertheless I have made and eaten Hoppin' John every year since  I moved to Florida.  It's a potent reminder of the cruelty of poverty. 

It's a mostly healthy dish, with lots of veggies:  (as well as black eyed peas and collard greens my version also includes celery,  green onions, and diced tomatoes); and this year with a  smattering of meat from a pork hock,  and a wee bit of smoked bacon.


So I had my Hoppin' John today.

I also enjoyed this catchy New Year song which you may have missed.

"One More Step"   -  please listen and enoy/

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