I hadn't heard the term "hopping john" until I was grown up. We always just called it blackeyed peas and rice. I only remember having it once a year - on New Year's day. They were cooked separately - the rice so that the grains don't stick together and the peas with a bit of the soupy mixture. We served the peas over the rice and topped with either green onions or chopped sweet onions and always with buttermilk cornbread. My mom used hog jowls to season the peas, but I use cubes of ham. Also we serve cole slaw instead of greens, but many people serve collard greens or some other type. I certainly don't believe it brings luck - one way or the other, but my paternal grandmother would have fought me on that. She has some other beliefs about New Year's Day. She wouldn't do laundry and there was something about the first man to enter your door, but I don't remember what that was...probably just as well.
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