Soak beans (black-eyed peas) overnight and drain, although this is not strictly necessary. In a capacious pot add the rinsed beans, fresh water, a chopped onion, bay leaf, thyme, and a smoked ham hock. Simmer long and as slowly as possible until the beans are toothsome. Remove the hock, finely shred and return to the pot. Add a little salt and pepper and some rice, with a little more water if necessary and cook about 20 minutes longer until rice is cooked through. Garnish with unspeakable quantities of hot sauce and, for the effete, a flourish of parsley or other such nonsense. If you are in a Creole mood substitute red beans and say “red beans and ricely yours” and pretend you’re Louis Armstrong.
by Ken Abala, from “Beans: A History”