Every year, our family welcomes in the New Year with a big steaming bowl of Hoppin’ John (southern-style black-eyed peas).
Hoppin John: A New Year’s Tradition
This has been a tradition in our family ever since I was a little girl, when we’d have our New Year’s party over at my grandparents’ house. So New Year’s Day and Hoppin’ John go hand-in-hand in my book.
Hoppin’ John is just the Southern (aka the proper) name for this black-eyed pea dish. The tradition of feasting on black-eyed peas cooked with pork—in large quantities—on New Year’s Day is a must for every Southerner.
It brings the whole family together under one roof around one big pot of delicious beans. It’s wholesome and healthy and uniquely Southern. But there’s one more thing that makes this tradition worth more than almost any other.
Food for Prosperity
As the saying goes, “The more Hoppin’ Johns you eat, the more money you will earn in the upcoming year.”
On the Value of Traditions
With the passing of each year, I am starting to realize the importance of maintaining traditions.
Holidays, and the traditions we associate with them, allow us to slow down and take a break from the “real world.” Some people I know wouldn’t ever have time on their constantly busy schedules for family if it weren’t for traditions.
And for my unapologetically Southern family, Hoppin’ John at New Year’s is one of those traditions we don’t ever miss.
A Laid-Back, Easy-to-Plan Holiday
As a holiday, New Year’s is much more laid back than other traditional winter holidays, as special as they are. In a way, New Year’s is about release, progress, and optimism.
On the other hand, New Year’s is super easy to plan for. I am the kind of person that loves when things are laid out for me. Unlike with other holidays, I know just what I’ll be doing on New Year’s Day: playing games, reflecting on the past year, and looking forward to the one ahead of us, new and filled with opportunities.
And I know what I’ll be cooking—Hoppin’ John,
So there is no guesswork. We will always be eating Hoppin’ John cooked with pork (black-eyed peas represent prosperity and pork represents forward progress), collards (the green color of the collards represents money), and cornbread. Altogether, the meal prep is sooooo simple (you can find the recipe here). Way less work than Christmas and Thanksgiving!
One other reason that I just love celebrating our New Year’s tradition is that I get to go straight out to the garden and pull up the fresh collards to be cooked that day as well as the onions, and I get to use the dried beans that I stored from our summer harvest.
The meal just seems to taste extra good knowing that you planted and harvested the food that your family is enjoying. They love it that much more too!
You can hear more about my traditions growing up in the South as well as a recipe for Hoppin’ John New Year’s Salad on Cooking Network TV Blog.
Happy New Year and Happy Cooking! You can find this recipe in my book!! I think you will love the fresh Southern recipes.