Black-eyed Peas / Hoppin’ John – African Connection to American Food

Hoppin' John with Black-eyed Peas

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Few people realize the strong influence of Africa on American cuisine. This is a connection that was intentionally buried because of the legacy of slavery.  We would like to share what we have learned about the history of black-eyed peas. Also, here is a Hoppin’ John recipe suggestion.

An example of the influence of Africa on American cuisine are Black-eyed peas which were grown in West, Central and Southern Africa before being transplanted to North America. Initially, the peas were used as a provision on slave ships and to feed livestock. High in protein and minerals, Black-eyed peas became a staple in the South and remain so. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day (with a bit of chitterlings) is an African American tradition. Many grocery stores sell out before New Year’s Eve. Hoppin’ John is a dish made with black-eyed peas, greens, onions, and some kind of pork for seasoning. Check out a great article on soul food.