Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hop'n'John

Where I am from, we always have hop'n'john on New Years Day. I was surprised that folks here didn't know what hop'n'john was. I suppose in an area where the best food is always plain and good that the custom of eating a poor man's meal to assure luck throughout the year might seem strange here.

The traditional New Years meal for my family would be hop'n'john...black-eyed peas cooked with smoked ham hocks or jowls mixed with rice...collard greens and pig tails and cornbread. It would stick to your ribs until the next time you had it...usually the following New Years Day.

Though collard greens and pig tails were a year-round favorite. It's hard to find pig tails anymore. Once, when my best friend from college visited home with me, my mother played a very sly trick on her. Therese was in the kitchen while my mother was filling the plates to place on the table. My mother calmly selected a particularly succulent pig tail from the pot to put on my plate. Therese watched in horror.

"Let's play a trick on Rosie!" My mother said and proceeded to hide the pigtail under a pile of greens on my plate. She maintained a girlish nature throughout her life and though I was only told later of the trick, I can see her eyes glinting with amusement.

Therese was cutting her eyes at me during the meal, but I didn't quite know why.

When I discovered the pig tail on my plate, I held it up on my fork for all to see.

"Gee! Thanks for the pig tail, Mom!" I said, before putting it in my mouth and savoring the familiar combination of fat, pigskin and gristle.

Damn, I love a good pig tail.

My Mom was funny that way. She totally set my friend up.

My mom has been gone over 20 years now. I still miss her sly sense of humor and drama.

I hope you are all out there having a wonderful New Year's Eve.

And tomorrow, remember to eat some poor man's food for the success of your new year. And give your Momma a call.

Pig tails optional. But highly recommended.

3 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    Lawd, have mercy; where would I get a good pigtail anymore? Most folks throw the good parts of a hog away, and don't take the time for the rest. Used to be able to get 'em around Fayettevillle, AR if you knew where to look.

    Make do with neck bones, but it aint the same.

    JohnieB, hissef
    Rosie said...
    Are you flirting with me?
    Velociman said...
    I had my heapin' heppin' o' hop'n on New Years Day. I forgo the pigtail, but my mother always kept a jar of pigs feet hidden in the back of the fridge. Tough being a politician's wife and having to sneak a quick foot gnaw during cucumber sandwich bridge parties, I suppose.

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