A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 15, 2008
Hoppin’ John or Hopping John (Limping Kate; Limping Susan)

"Hoppin’ John” (or “Hopping John") is a popular dish in Charleston, South Carolina, but it’s also served throughout the South. The dish consists of black-eyed peas ("Texas Caviar") and rice, and is usually accompanied with bacon.

The origin of the name “Hopping John” has caused considerable controversy. Most scholars believe that the term is an Americanization of the French term for “pigeon peas”: “pois de pigeon.” There are folk etymologies that the dish was named after an African-American with a limp who was called Hopping John, or that the dish was served to a Carolina sea captain on New Year’s Day who was told to “Hop in, John.”

Hoppin’ John is a favorite Southern dish on New Year’s Day, when eating it is supposed to bring good luck throughout the year. “Hopping John” is first cited in print in the 1830s.

“Limpin’ Kate” (or “Limping Kate,” “Limpin’ Katie,” “Lame Kate,” “Simping Jinnie” and other names) is “Hoppin’ John” boiled with hominy, first cited in print in the 1860s.

“Limpin’ Susan” is okra and rice (okra pilau) and is cited in print since at least the 1950s.

“Hopping John” was also the name of a tipple made of brandy and cider, and this “Hoppin John” is also cited in print from the 1830s. It is not known if this drink name (mostly English and not American) is at all related to the food name.


Wikipedia: Hopping John
Hoppin’ John is the Southern United States’ version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout the Caribbean. It consists of field peas or crowder peas (black-eyed peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt.

Some people substitute ham hock or fatback for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices.

Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere. Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is thought to bring a year filled with luck, and it’s eaten by everyone. The peas, or beans with little black “eyes,” signify coins. Fill your plate with them and your proverbial cup will runneth over. Collard greens along with this dish is suppose to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. On the day after New Year’s Day, leftover “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny”, and further demonstrates one’s frugality, hopefully bringing an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.

Variants
Many regional variants exist, including “Hoppin’ Juan,” which substitutes Cuban black beans for black-eyed peas. Also in Brazil, Feijoada (fay-shwaa-da) - which uses black turtle beans in contrast to black-eyed peas.

Etymology
Variations of this dish are seen throughout the American South and the Caribbean, and the dish is believed to have been typical slave food in early colonial times. The origins of the name are uncertain, one possibility is that the name is a corruption of the French Creole term for black-eyed peas: pois pigeons (IPA: [pwapiˈʒɔ̃]).

Another explanation has it that a Georgia land owner’s one-legged slave, John, hopped around the table as he served a meal of rice and black-eyed peas. The meal was so well liked that it was named after him.

The OED’s first reference to the dish is from Frederick Law Olmsted’s 19th Century travelogue, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States. “The greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call ‘Hopping John’.” There is also a recipe for Hopping John in The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, which was published in 1847.

(Dictionary of American Regional English)
hopping John n
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
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 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 (Qu. H50, Dishes made with...peas) 14 Infs.
TX65, Hopping John—southern Texas word, grits and black-eyed peas eaten together;
TX29, Hoppin’ John—rice and black-eyed peas, for New Year’s Day.

(Dictionary of American Regional English)
limping Kate n Also limping Katie, kit
[By analogy with hopping John; see quot 1952] SC Cf limping Susan
1950 PADS 14.45 SC, Limpin’ Kate, limpin’ Kit..Cowpeas and hominy cooked together.
1952 PADS 17.38, As lineal descendants of hoppin’ John a whole family of hlating females has arisen: limpin’ Susan, limpin’ Kate, limpin’ Kit, limpin’ Sal, and the like, representing dishes of similar composition, mostly with hominy to replace the rice.
1954 PADS 21.32 SC, Limpin’ Katie, limpin’ Kate, limpin’ Kit, skippin’ Jinny:..Originally, cowpeas and hominy cooked separately and eaten together. Other reports have it that cowpeas and hominy were cooked together. [Footnote, quoting letter;] I was born in 1873...My father ran a farm—an eight or ten horse farm—could get labor cheap in those days...Sometimes the housewife found her rice out. Her pot of peas was on cooking and no rice. hands all in the field, no time to stop and beat rice...So a pot of grits was the answer...So my mother would say to her help: ‘Well, Mary, we will have limping Katie today.’ The hominy had to be limp or soft to get that name. So limping katie is hominy and peas, but not cooked together.
1967 DARE (Qu. H50, Dishes made with beans, peas, or corn that everybody around here knows, but people in other placed might not0 Inf SC43, Limping Kate—grits and peas, beans.

(Dictionary of American Regional English)
limping Susan n [Cf limping Kate] SC
A dish of rice and okra cooked together; see quots.
1952 [see limping Kate].
1954 PADS 21.32 Charleston SC, Limpin’ Susan..Okra pilau, a dish made of chopped bacon, okra, rice, and seasoning.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
hopping-john (Southern U.S. and W. Indies), a stew of bacon with pease or pease and rice seasoned with red pepper; hopping mad a. (orig. dial. and U.S.), violently angry, so as to dance with rage.
1838 C. GILMAN Recoll. Southern Matron xviii. 124 Before me..was an immense field of *hopping John. [Note. Bacon and rice.]
1856 OLMSTED Slave States 506 The greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call ‘Hopping John’.
1969 Daily Tel. 13 May 24/6 The dinner consisted of such things as collard greens, fried chicken, water melon, cornbread and ‘hopping John’, a dish of black-eyed peas and rice that is supposed to bring luck.
1970 M. SLATER Caribbean Cooking 32 ‘Peas and Rice’..is cooked on every island, down from the Bahamas, where it is known as Hoppin’ John, to the South American mainland. 

Google Books
Three Courses and a Dessert
by William Clarke
illustrated by George Cruikshank
Vizetelly, Branston and Co.
1830
Pg. 26:
“What d’ye say to Hopping John, made Tom Nottle’s fashion?—Landlord, mix pint of brandy wi’ half a gallon of your best cider, sugared on your own taste; and,—d’ye mind?—pop in about a dozen good roasted apples, hissing hot, to take the chill off.”

In a short time, the two cousins were seated by the fire, in a little room behind the bar of the Sawney’s Cross, with a smoking bowl of liquor on the table before them, and Ned Creese assisting them to empty it.  By degrees, the cousins became elevated, and their chat was enlivened by budding jokes and choice flowers or rustic song.  Harry’s forehead frequently reminded him, in the midst of his glee, of the adventure in the road; and he recurred to it, for the fifth time, since the sitting, as Ned brought in a second brewage of hot Hopping John:—“I’d lay a wager I know where my blind galloway is, just about now,” quoth he; “it’s odd to me if he isn’t stopping at the Dragon’s Head, where he always pulls up, and tempts me to call for a cup of cider and a mouthful of hay.”

Making of America
Recollections of a Southern Matron
by Caroline Howard Gilman (1794-1888)
New-York, NY: Harper & BROTHERS
1838
Pg. 142:
Before me, though at the head of many delicacies provided by papa, was an immense field of hopping John;* a good dish, to be sure, but no more presentable to strangers at the South than baked beans and pork in New-England. I had not self-possession to joke about the unsightly dish, nor courage to offer it.
* Bacon and rice.

May 1849, The American Agriculturalist (APS II, reel 365), pg. 161, col. 1:
Hopping Johnny (jambalaya).—Take a dressed chicken, or full-grown fowl, if not old, and cut all the flesh into small pieces, with a sharp knife.  Put this into an iron pot, with a large spoonful of butter and one onion chopped fine; sttep and stir it till it is brown; then add water enough to cover it, and put in some parsley, spices, and red pepper pods, chopped fine, and let it boil till you think it is barely done, taking care to stir it often, so as not to burn it; then stir in as much rice, when cooked, as will absorb all the water; stir and boil it a minute or so, andthen let it stand and simmer until the rice is cooked, and you will have a most delicious dish of palatable, digestible food.
(...)
SOLON ROBINSON.
Alabama, March 25th, 1849.

10 January 1856, Charleston (SC) Mercury, pg. 2:
I could have better spared a better man; learned was he in the etymologies of Johnny Cake and Potato Pone; profound in that of Hopping John; erudite as Heyne; pains-taking as Erasmus, deep as Grotius; nothing escap’d him.

Making of America
May 1856, New Englander and Yale Review (New Haven, CT), “Olmsted on the Seaboard Slave States,” pg. 286:
Their chief sustenance is a porridge of cow-peas, and the greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call Hopping John
(Communities on the banks of the Congaree, in South Carolina—ed.)

29 April 1858, The National Era (Washington, DC), “Speech of Hon. Henry Wilson of Massachusetts,” pg. 68:
Their chief sustenance is a porridge of cow peas, and the greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call “hopping John.”

10 September 1858, The Liberator (From the Charleston Mercury), pg. 146:
Under this temporary flooring are stored the provisions, consisting of rice, peas and the water to drink. The food is boiled like “hoppinjohn,” put in buckets twice a day, at ten and four o’clock, and placed in the midst of circles of eight or ten each, and well guarded to prevent the strong negroes from taking more than their share, although they are liberally allowed. 

Google Books
Dictionary of Americanisms
by John Russell Bartlett
Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company
1877
Pg. 296:
Hopping John. A stew of bacon and peas with red pepper. South Carolina.

Making of America
March 1879, Atlantic Monthly, “Americanisms VII” by Richard Grant White, pg. 388:
...hoe-cake, hominy, hopping-john,...

Google Books
The Life of George Cruikshank
by Blanchard Jerrold
London: Chatto and Windus
1883
Pp. 123-124:
The singlestick players of Somerset are no longer doughty yeomen of the old school, and “Hopping John,"* it is to be hoped, has become an unknown tipple.
* A pint of brandy to a gallon of cider, sugared, and warmed by a dozen hissing roasted apples bobbing in the bowl.

25 May 1884, New York (NY) Daily Tribune, pg. 9, col. 6:
SOUTHERN FARE AS SEEN AT CHARLESTON:
It is a pleasure to feast on “celestials,” small figs that are purplish without and crimson and gold within, and it is amusing to eat “cooter’s” or turtles’ eggs, salting and sucking them through a small opening in their parchment-like shells.

Hominy, “the staff of life” in the South, is the universal breakfast dish, and each well trained child is required to break its fast with it before eating anything else. It is usually eaten with butter, but sometimes with milk, or gravy, or molasses, or sugar, or without anything, that is “dry.” Southern hominy when uncooked is known as grits.  It is ground fine and as it is made of flint corn (a kind into which all varieties are said to be changed on the islands near Charleston) it has a sweeter flavor than Northern hominy.

Clabber in summer is thought by many families indispensable to breakfast, as the quickness with which milk sours in warm climates gives it a peculiarly grateful flavor.

A popular soup with the people is turnip soup, which when well made (as well as cabbage and potato soup) is excellent. The best soup is okra or true gumbo, which is eaten with the green pepper lying at each plate partly sliced into it, and sometimes with delicate flower-stamped wafers. This soup in summer with the dessert forms the usual dinner of many of the first Carolina families.

A favorite dish is the whiting, which, sold in silvery strings, is served in savory whiteness with drawn butter; and an unknown scarlet fish offered for sale in the fish market was called by the colored vender “Pompey’s nose.”

June brings the shrimps, which are made with rice into shrimp pie, or served on toast, or more rarely, in primitive style, when their jackets are removed at the table and they are eaten with vinegar.

Rice is usually boiled, but when fried with tomatoes is called “pilau,” and described by a colored cook as “better than the tother side of nice.” Hominy is often eaten at dinner instead of rice, yet the “low country” colored servants scorn it, demanding the rice instead. Cow peas are nice and spicily flavored, and are made into a nutritious soup against which there is a slight prejudice because it was a standard war dish. When cooked with rice they form a favorite dish known as “hopping John”; and when boiled with hominy, an up-country dish called “limping Kate.”

During the year there are two crops of vegetables. Okra appears in midsummer; it looks like a small, pale, green cucumber filled with rows of pearly seeds. When cooked with butter it is an agreeable vegetable, and very nutritious from the mucilage it contains.

String beans are known as snap-beans, lima beans as scabe-beans, giant egg-plants as Guinea squashes, and potatoes always mean sweet potatoes, the other kind being distinguished from them as Irish potatoes. Sweet potatoes in their native clime are sometimes candied, when they are delicious. They sometimes thus form a dessert, and one Southern divine always called it “God’s pudding.”

Bread is bought by every family of the baker, and although the sight of the loaves through the wire netting of the baker-carts, as they pass over the dusty roads, is not appetizing, it is of superior quality. Crackers are only known as biscuits, and “wigs” are rolls containing currants.

Penny squares of gingerbread are called “Lafayette cakes”; ginger cookies, when large, gungas, and when small, rifle balls; but the Charlestonian cake for the people is “horse cake” or “horses,” which is gingerbread or sugar cake cut by tin moulds into caricatures of horses and sold at the shops at the rate of fifty or a hundred a day.

Brazilian nuts are only known as butternuts, and peanuts are almost invariably called ground-nuts, although sometimes pindars. Ground-nut cakes each consist of a dozen or more ground-nuts fastened together with molasses, which is often flavored with orange-juice. They are delicious and are sold for a penny apiece to everyone by the “mammas” (old colored women) at the street corners, or at the colored people’s doors and stalls all over the State and in Georgia. The coarse brown paper in which each one is wrapped keeps the fingers from contact while eating it.

Sherbet is more popular than ice cream, and the ice used in their freezing is considered a dainty by Southern children.

As less food is required in the South than in the North, “the virtue of the rich,” of temperance (in eating) is the custom.

Documenting the American South
My Life in the South
by Jacob Stroyer (1849-1908)
New and enlarged edition
Salem, NC: Salem Observer Book and Job Print
1885
Pg. 11:
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.”

Google Books
The Unrivalled Cook-Book and Housekeeper’s Guide
by Mrs. Washington
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
1886
Pp. 131-132:
Hopping John (Old Virginia receipt).—one pint of lady pease; one quart or rice; one pound of bacon.
Boil the pease and bacon together until soft, then add the rice, well washed; stir well, and boil until it boils up; then pour off the water, leaving just enough to cover it; cover and set on a slow fire until thoroughly done; when you pour the water off add a teaspoonful of whole black pepper.

25 August 1887, Macon (GA) Telegraph, pg. 2:
The rice crop of South Carolina is not seriously injured and the colored statesmen of that commonwealth will still enjoy their rations of “Hoppin’-John.”

Live Search Books
Americanisms, Old and New
compiled and edited by John Stephen Farmer
London: Privately printed by Thomas Poulter & Sons
1889
Pg. 305:
HOPPING JOHN.—A South Carolinian dish of bacon and peas stewed with red pepper.

Google Books
Society As I Have Found It
by Ward McAllister
New York, NY: Cassell Publishing Company
1890
Pg. 314:
Some features of the everyday Southern dinner were pilau, i.e. boiled chickens on a bed of rice, with a large piece of bacon between the chickens; “Hoppin John,” that is, cowpeas with bacon;...

9 June 1895, Worcester (MA) Sunday Spy, pg. 8:
Sometimes Southern folks sweeten rice for sick people or ailing children, and call it rice pudding. Again they make a pillau of rice and peas and call it Hopping John, and it is a food fit for all upright and healthy men.

Google Books
The Thorough Good Cook:
A Series of Chats on the Culinary Art and Nine Hundred Recipes
by George Augustus Sala
New York, NY: Brentano’s
1896
Pg. 465:
26. Hopping John.
(A Carolina Dish.)
This is made by boiling a kind of small bean, called cow-peas in the Southern States, with an equal quantity of rice, and sending them, mixed and lubricated with butter, hot to the table.

Live Search Books
Hampton and His Cavalry in ‘64
by Edward Laight Wells
Richmond, VA: B. F. Johnson Publishing Company
1899
Pg. 15:
Old General Hampton in his later years was on his way one summer to the Virginia springs to drink the waters and take a rest. it was the custom of those hospitable days for the traveler to stop with his horses for the night and lodge at almost any convenient house where darkness overtook him. It was in this way, as local philologists assert, (Pg. 16—ed.) that was originated the name of a well-beloved Southern dish, “hopinjohn.” At the door of a planter whose larder, strange to say, happened just then to be slenderly provided, appeared one evening the genial face of an acquaintance, who announced that he had ridden in to pass the night, and to him cordial welcome was given. Said the kindly planter, as he warmly shook his guest’s hand, and conducted him to the house:

“Right glad to see you. Sorry I have nothing for you to eat except rice and peas and a chine of bacon, but we will do the best we can for you. Hop in, John!”

So John “hopped-in” doors, and for so doing deserves immortal fame, for he christened an excellent dish. 

Google Books
A New Dictionary of Americanisms
by Sylva Clapin, et al.
New York, NY: L. Weiss & Co.
1902
Pg. 233
Hopping-John. In South Carolina, a dish of bacon and peas stewed with red pepper.

Google Books
Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences
edited by Cora Linn Morrison Daniels, Charles McClellan Stevens, et al.
Chicago, IL: J. H. Yewdale & Sons Co.
1903
Pg. 1565:
The Germans have a superstition that if you serve “Hopping John” (peas and rice boiled together) at dinner on New Year’s day, you will be lucky all the year.

Feeding America
Cooking In Old Créole Days
La Cuisine Créole À L’Usage Des Petits Ménages
By Célestine Eustis, with an introduction by S. Weir Mitchell…
New York, NY: R. H. Russell
1904
Pg. 14:
HOPPING JOHN
Cup of cow peas, boil with piece of bacon. When peas are thoroughly done, not till mushy, drain water off, three hours boiling. Boil separately a well washed cupful and a half of rice. Mix together after it is done. Skim off grease from top of pot peas are boiled in, add salt and cayenne pepper, put in over and dry out. Serve with sliced bacon in center or fried sausages.
-- MRS. EUGENIA PHILLIPS, Washington, D. C.
Pg. 16:
HOPPING JOHN
Take a cupful of cow peas (small black peas) that have been soaked over night, one onion, parsley and a laurel leaf. let them boil in a quart and a pint of water for an hour, or until soft. Add two cupfuls well washed raw rice. The rice must cook about fifteen or twenty minutes. Then add a quarter of a pound of well-fried sausages, a slice of ham and a small piece of bacon, both cut in small pieces and fried. Put your saucepan aside to soak, or dry.  Cover closely. be careful it does not burn at the bottom. If the rice has to be stirred use a fork, as it turns easily, and still can not be stirred too much, or it becomes soggy. Those old-fashioned black pots are the best to use.
-- “UNCLE JOHN,” S. C.

18 August 1905, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 16:
“Hopping John”—This is a favorite Southern dish made of cow peas and rice. Cook one quart of cow peas until almost done, and one cup well washed rice and two cups boiling water. Cook twenty minutes longer, season with milk, butter, salt and a pinch of red pepper and a teaspoonful of sugar.

Live Search Books
South Carolina Women in the Confederacy
records collected by Committee From South Carolina State Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy
Columbia, SC: The State Company
1907
Pg. 183:
When we had gone about a mile, one of the Virginia girls said, “Well, we have left Columbia, and I hope I’ll never see ‘Hopping John’ and ‘Simping Jinnie’ again.” Looking at me, she laughingly said, “What is the matter, Mary Darby, you look as if you had never eaten of those dishes?” “No,” I replied, “I do not like ‘Hopping John,’ and have never heard of ‘Simping Jinnie.’” On my return to Columbia I asked Aunt Eliza what “Simping Jinnie” was, and learned it was peas and hominy cooked together. 
(De Treville, Mary Darby, fl. 1861-1865.  “Letter from Mary Darby De Treville, 1860”—ed.)

17 November 1907, Washington (DC) Post, magazine, pg. 2, col. 6;
Hopping John in the Carolinas is a negro dish of bacon, peas and peppers.

28 April 1911, Macon (GA) Daily Telegraph, pg. 3:
HOPPING JOHN.
Boil one cup of cow peas with a piece of bacon. When the peas are thoroughly done, but not mushy, drain the water off. At the same time boil separately a cup and a half of rice. When done mix together. Skim off grease from the top of the pot the peas were boiled in. Put over the mixture pepper and salt. Put in the oven to dry out and serve around fried sausages.

Google Books
An American Glossary
by Richard H. Thornton
Vol. 1 A-L
Philadelphia, PA: J. R. Lippincott Company
1912
Pg. 449:
Hopping John. See quotations.
1838 Before me was an immense field of hopping John. (Note, Bacon and rice.)—Caroline Gilman, “Recoll. of a Southern Matron,” p. 124.
1856 The greatest luxury with which [the people along the Congaree River, S.C>] are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call Hopping John.—F. L. Olmsted, “Slave States,” p. 506 (N.E.D.)
[1830 The same phrase appears to have a different meaning in England: “What d’ye say to Hopping John, made Tom Nottle’s fashion?—Landlord, mix pint of brandy wi’ half a gallon of your best cider, sugared to your own taste; and pop in about a dozen good roasted apples, hissing hot, to take the chill off.”—George Cruikshank’s “Three Courses and a Dessert,” p. 26.]

12 April 1912, The State (Columbia, SC), part 2, pg. 3:
When peas and rice could not be had, peas and hominy served instead: “Hopping John” gave way to “Limping Jinnie.”

7 November 1913, Des Moines (Iowa) Capital, “Receipt of Hopping John Out: Receipt Is Told,” pg. 6, col. 3:
WASHINGTON, D. C., Nov. 6.—The secret of Hopping John is out. The composition of this famous southern dish, about which successive generations of the cooks of Dixie have thrown a veil of mystery, has been disclosed by an investigation conducted by the department of agriculture, and is given to the world in Farmers’ Bulletin No. 559, tested recently.

This is the recipe, guaranteed by the government, for the production of the true Hopping John:

“Soak one quart of dried cowpeas over night in water enough to cover. Cook until they are tender, adding more water as necessary. Cook a pint of rice in three pints of water, mix the two, season with two tablespoonfuls of butter and two teaspoonfuls of salt. A little beef or pork may be added to the water in which the peas are cooked.”

14 December 1913, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, part 2, pg. 12:
Hopping John.
Soak 1 quart of dried cowpeas over night in water enough to cover. Cook until they are tender, adding more water if necessary. Cook a pint of rice in three pints of water, mix the two, season with 2 tablespoonfuls of butter and 2 tablespoonfuls of salt. A little beef or pork may be added to the water in which the peas are cooked.

Google Books
American Adventures:
A Second Trip “Abroad at Home”
by Julian Street
New York, NY: The Century Co.
1917
Pg. 336 (Charleston, SC):
Two dishes I never heard of before are “Hopping John,” which is rice cooked with peas, and “Limping Kate,” which is some other rice combination.

Google Books
Economical Cookery
by Marion Harris Neil
Boston, MA; Little, Brown and Company
1918
Pg. 305:
Hopping John
2 cups (1 pt.) field peas
3/4 pound bacon
1 small onion, cut fine
2 cups (1 lb.) rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Wash peas and soak overnight. Drain and put them into saucepan, cover with boiling water, add onion, and cook thirty minutes. Wash bacon, add it, and continue to cook two hours, adding hot water if it boils low. Wash and drain rice, add it to peas with seasonings, and when rice is cooked set pan on back of stove to steam contents fifteen minutes. use a fork to stir, as it is apt to stick. Place peas and rice in hot dish with bacon on top. If this dish is reheated next day, it is called Limping Kate.

14 September 1924, Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), pg. 8, cols. 2-3:
“Hopping John”—Slice bacon into cubes, fry and add leftover cold rice and cooked cow peas (red variety). Mash and cook until crisp. Serve very hot with “rings: or green pepper garnish.
("Limping Jane” is the same except hominy is substituted for rice.)

Google Books
Black Genesis: A Chronicle
by Samuel Gaillard Stoney and Gertrude Mathews Shelby
New York, NY: Macmillan Co.
1930
Pg. xviii:
Rice cooked with cow-peas and a chine of pork forms a delectable dish, called in the Low Country, Hoppin-John. Now the French name for cow-peas was pois-de-pigeon... 

Google Books
Roll, Jordan, Roll
by Julia Mood Peterkin
New York, NY: Robert O. Ballou
1933
Pg. 244:
Chinaberry leaves keep weevils out of barrels holding field peas that taste so good boiled with hominy and hog jowl into lame Kate, or with rice into hoppin’ John, that people almost bite their own fingers. 

3 October 1951, Florence (SC) Morning News, “Corrections And Additions Made To SC Dialect List” by F. W. Bradley, pg. 2, col. 5:
Other contributions of Messrs. Chamberlain and Stoney were included in the published list. Reference was made there to the origin of hoppin’ John as suggested by Mr. Stoney: pois de pigeon. I secured from the National Geographic Society the address of a scholar in Jamaica who wrote that pigeon peas (pois pigeon) are not only well known, but are a staple of diet with the population from the peasants upward. Furthermore these pigeon peas are cooked with rice.

The French pois pigeon, properly pronounced, is so much like hoppin’ John that one is not surprised at the development. 

18 October 1951, Florence (SC) Morning News, pg. 8, col. 4:
Limping Susan is okra pilau. Some correspondents insist that there must also be some meat in pilau. I’m for it.

14 January 1953, Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, pg. 14, col. 5:
And when do you remember sitting down to a big dishful of Limping Susan or a bite of Louise Boller...(sounds like cannibalism)...
(...)
The name of it is “Charleston Receipts, and it was published in that little village in South Carolina. 

22 August 1968, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section E, pg. 4:
With the modern day convenience foods that we have, we have updated recipes in our own files, and here is the original 1868 recipe for Hopping John Dried Peas, and the 1968 version, just 100 years later.

HOPPING JOHN DRIED PEAS
(1868)
1 pound dried black eyed peas
3 pints cold water
1/2 pound sliced salt pork or bacon
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bacon fat or lard
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Cover peas with 3 pints cold water in large kettle. Soak overnight. Add salt pork, Tabasco and salt. Cover and cook over low heat about 30 minutes. Meanwhile cook onions in bacon fat until yellow and add to peas with rice and boiling water. Cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yield: About 8 cups or seven to eight servings.

HOPPING JOHN DRIED PEAS
(1968)
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed onion soup
1 can water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1 package (10 ounces) frozen black eyed peas
1 1/2 cups cooked ham strips
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups packaged pre-cooked rice

Put onion soup in a medium saucepan. Add can of water, salt and Tabasco; bring to a boil. Add black eyed peas. Cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes until peas are tender (for Southern taste). Saute ham in oil. Add 1 1/2 cups water, rice and ham strips to pea mixture. Continue to simmer about 5 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed., Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

Google Books
USA 1991-1992
by Edouard de Blaye
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
1991
Pg. 27:
Rice figures in many meat and fish dishes, notably Hopping John (rice, bacon, and red beans), Limping Susan (rice, bacon, and gumbo), or dirty rice (rice, ...

Google Books
Great Old-Fashioned American Recipes
By Beatrice Ojakangas
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press
2005
Pg. 66:
Still another variation of pilaf, Limping Susan, is a combination of rice, bacon, okra, salt and pepper.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, January 15, 2008 • Permalink