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10 Regional Foods You've Never Heard Of


7
Hoppin' John
This Southern dish has its base in black-eyed peas, a sign of good luck for the coming new year.
This Southern dish has its base in black-eyed peas, a sign of good luck for the coming new year.
©iStockphoto.com/sbossert

This dish from the Southern United States, mainly the Carolinas, is the traditional meal served in many homes on New Year's Day. Its roots lay in the black-eyed peas believed to be brought the American South by African slaves who worked on rice plantations. The meal today consists of black-eyed peas, white rice, ham hocks and tomato sauce. Other variations include spicy pork sausage, and the meal is always served with collard greens. Some families hide a shiny dime in the Hoppin' John, and whoever finds it gets good luck in the coming year. The greens represent financial gain for the New Year. The meal has such superstitious roots for being the first thing eaten on New Year's Day that some families toast at midnight with a bowl of steaming hot Hoppin' John.


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