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"H" is for Hoppin' John

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio
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"H" is for Hoppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is a pilaf made with beans and rice. The recipe came directly to America from West Africa and is typical of the one-pot cooking of the South Carolina lowcountry. As the recipe moved inland, it became the traditional dish for good luck on New Year’s Day throughout the South. The first written appearance of the recipe in English was in Sarah Rutledge’s The Carolina Housewife, or House and Home, by a Lady of Charleston. Though most often made with black-eyed peas, the original Charleston version called for “One pound of bacon, one pint of red peas, one pint of rice.” Whatever its origins, Hoppin John, originally made with pigeon peas in West Africa, arrived in Charleston and became a favorite of the rice-plantation owners as well as the enslaved.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.