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Ask Addie: I've made this Hoppin' John recipe every year since 1973

Addie Broyles
Austin 360
This 1973 ad from Frost Bros. ran in both the San Antonio Express-News and the Austin American-Statesman. It includes a recipe for Hoppin' John, which reader Linda Nowlin has made every year since.

Dear Addie:

You asked for old recipes.  Please see the attached recipe for Hoppin’ John from an ad in the San Antonio Express-News in 1973. Frost Bros. was a store based in San Antonio, but the ad also ran in the Austin American-Statesman. Frost used to have a beautiful store in Northcross Mall when the mall used to have an ice skating rink inside.

Of course, you know that if you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, you are supposed to have good luck for the whole year. It’s a Southern tradition. I love this recipe and have made it every year since 1973. It is a comfort food, which we could all use now. A note: It calls for cream of onion soup, which Randalls carries, or you can substitute onion soup and add a little cream. We serve it on cornbread.

Happy New Year!

Linda Nowlin

When Linda Nowlin says she makes this recipe for Hoppin' John every year, she's not exaggerating. I called Nowlin after getting her email just before Christmas, and she explained that the tradition is such a serious matter in her house that when they were traveling to New York City to celebrate 2000, they made the Texas caviar ahead of time and took it with them on the airplane. 

This year, of course, things are a little different. Instead of hosting a New Year's Day gathering with up to 30 people, where she often has an assistant help her make an extra large quantity, Nowlin shared the recipe with her friends. But she won't miss a year making it. She already has the ingredients to make a batch for herself and her husband. 

Hoppin' John

From Frost Bros. to their countless good friends, best wishes for a happy and successful new year. Plus a famous (modernized) recipe for "Hopping John," long a celebration dish in the south to bring good luck. 

— From a 1973 ad from Frost Bros. 

1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed onion soup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon McIlhenny's Tabasco Sauce

1 (10-ounce) package frozen black-eyed peas

1 1/2 cups cooked ham, cut into strips or cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups 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 or until peas are tender. Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium heat, saute ham in oil to warm up, and then set aside. 

After the peas have softened, add ham, rice and 1 1/2 cups water to the pea mixture. Continue to simmer about 5 minutes until rice is tender and water absorbed. Serves 5 or 6.

— Adapted from a recipe from Frost Bros.