hopping John n
1 also happy Jack, happy John, hop-in-John: A dish usu composed of black-eyed peas, rice, and side meat, eaten esp on New Year’s Day for good luck; see quots. chiefly S Atl, esp SC, GA See Map 1838 (1852) Gilman S. Matron 124 seSC, Before me . . was an immense field of hopping John[Footnote: Bacon and rice]; a good dish, to be sure. 1885 in 1976 Rose Doc. Hist. Slavery 397 SC, Among the many desirable things our parents brought us, the most delightful was cow pease, rice, and a piece of bacon, cooked together; the mixture was called by the slaves, “Hopping John.” 1938 FWP Ocean Highway xxviii SC, Hop-In-John: cow peas, rice, and bacon boiled together. 1950 PADS 14.38 SC, [Footnote:] Hoppin’ John is probably on most tables in S.C. on New Year’s Day. This with collard greens is supposed to bring the family plenty of greenbacks and loose change throughout the year. It is believed that one is tempting fate if one fails to have hoppin’ John on the table New Year’s Day. 1962 Hench Coll. VA, [Letter:] The conversation we had over the “hoppinjohn” New Year’s Day is still remembered. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. H50, Dishes made with . . peas) 14 Infs, chiefly S Atl, Hoppin(g) John—(black-eyed) peas and rice; DC12, GA24, MA122, SC9, Hopping John; GA67, Hopping John—old-fashioned; GA55, Hopping John—rice with peas; country term, old-fashioned; NJ67, Hopping John—rice and peas, from West Indies; SC22, Hopping John—rice and field peas or cow peas; FL19, Hopping John—peas cooked with rice and salt pork; GA12, Hopping John—field peas and side meat; GA79, Hopping John—black-eyed peas, rice, bacon; SC62, Hopping John—(red) peas and rice cooked together with small bits of meat; SC4, 11, 21, 46, 70, Hopping John—(peas and rice)—always eaten on New Year’s Day (for luck); GA3, Hopping Johns [sic]—black-eyed peas; NC51, Hopping John—on the South Carolina border more than here; SC32, Hopping John—corn, peas, rice [FW sugg]; TX65, Hopping John—southern Texas word, grits and black-eyed peas eaten together; GA70, Hoppin’ John—mix peas with dried fruits; SC19, Hoppin’ John—cow peas cooked with rice—it’s more softer than more harder; TX29, Hoppin’ John—rice and black-eyed peas, for New Year’s Day; SC7, Happy Jack—peas and rice; Happy John—peas and grits; (Qu. H45, Dishes made with meat) Inf GA15, Hopping John—peas, rice and fat meat (pork). 1988 Lincoln Avenue 196 wNC (as of c1940) [Black], I’d heap rather have a bellyful of . . cornpone an’ hoppin’ John.
2 Transf: a cowpea.1966 DARE (Qu. I20, . . Kinds of beans) Inf SC21, Cowpeas—brownish looking—the pea itself is called hopping John.
3 A grasshopper.1970 DARE (Qu. R6, . . Names . . for grasshoppers) Inf PA247, Hopping Johns.