Hoppin’ John Cook-Off
The cook-off has been canceled for 2021, with the interest of everyone’s health in mind. We are so delighted to be able to gather together in the open air once again, but recognize that we are not out entirely of the woods yet in regards to COVID safety.
The cook-off has been such a lovely part of the Hoppin’ John Fiddlers’ Convention, and we bid it adieu for now.
Remembering Charles Murphy and Jasen Morin.
They made it happen, and we will always love them.
What is Hoppin’ John?
Hoppin’ John is a tasty Southern dish made of rice, black-eyed peas, and a variety of other ingredients and spices, often including some sort of cured pork such as bacon, ham, or fatback. It is traditionally served at New Year’s for good luck, alongside greens, cornbread, and sometimes tomatoes. The tradition—some might call it superstition—holds that eatingthese foods on the first day of they year helps ensure that in the new year, one will have an abundance of the things they symbolize: coins (black-eyed peas), cash (greens), gold (cornbread), and health (tomatoes).
As for the name of the dish, it seems time has shrouded its origin in mystery. Some say the dish was first hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina in the mid-1800s by a one-legged man known as Hoppin’John. Others maintain the name comes from the age-old tradition of Southern hospitality itself, where a visitor arriving at mealtime would be invited to “hop in, John”.
Some linguists suggest the name came from the French patois spoken in much of the Caribbean, where a dish of rice, peas, and salt pork called pois a pigeon, pronounced something like “pwahahpeejawng”, was popular. Over time, English speakers, pronouncing the name more or less phonetically, perhaps with a little humor, evolved it into “Hoppin’ John”. This explanation may be plausible as much of traditional Caribbean fare comes from African culinary traditions, having been brought along to the New World by those who came involuntarily as slaves. Once here, they adapted their recipes to use locally available ingredients.