Hoppin’ John: A New Year’s Tradition
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.
I am the kind of person that loves when things are laid out for me. Unlike other holidays, I know what I’m cooking and what I’ll be doing on New Year’s Day—Hoppin’ John, playing games, reflecting on the past year and the one ahead of us, new and filled with opportunities. As a holiday, New Year’s is much more laid back as the other ones, as special as they are. In a way, it’s about release, progress, and optimism.
There is no guess-work. 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.