- Date: Monday, April 14, 2008 -- 10pm
- Location: Bloomington, IN
- Kitchen: My Apartment
- Recipe Rating: B-
Typically I love any dish in the beans and rice genre. Hoppin' John -- black eyed peas and rice -- has never been one of my favorites though. I don't know if I just have a bad attitude about the dish because it reminds me of the deep South, or if I actually don't like it. It's hard to separate food from emotion for me. Luckily there aren't many geographic regions of the world that I have strongly negative feelings about, so there aren't too many cuisines that I shun like a mean school girl. In fact, I think the South is the only one. To be fair, there are perfectly nice parts of the South and many wonderful people who live there. There is also some great food that comes out of the South. But my experience living in the deep South has been in small town South Carolina, which I do not recommend. I lived there a couple years as a child and my parents live there now. All I can say is that it just doesn't agree with me... I am tempted to say more, but I'd rather not get all riled up right now (it's a little late at night for a serious discussion about serious issues...). So anyway, I am biased against Hoppin' John, which is especially silly because I don't think any of the times I have eaten it have actually been in the South. But it's a Southern dish -- really a South Carolina dish I think -- and it reminds me of my home sweet home below the Mason Dixon line.
I'm rambling. (Sometimes I wonder if an observant reader could sort my posts into "before a beer" and "after a beer" piles. This is definitely an "after a beer " post.) OK, I am going to try to maintain focus now.
So I made Hoppin' John on Monday, which is a dish composed of black-eyed peas cooked in a ham hock broth and served with rice. The dish came out fine. The predominant flavor was certainly the smokiness from the ham hocks. Aside from that strong flavor, the dish was a little flat. Since there was nothing going on to complement the smokiness, I found the ham-flavor a bit overpowering. Even visually this dish was pretty uninteresting (see photo above). All biases aside, if you are going to make beans and rice this certainly isn't the rendition I would recommend. It wasn't offensive in any way, but it also was far from inspiring. Much greater things can come from a bag of rice and a bag of beans.