National Pepper Pot Day is celebrated on December 29th of each year. Pepper Pot is a thick stew of beef tripe, vegetables, pepper and other seasonings. The origins of the stew are steeped in legend, with one story attributing the dish to Christopher Ludwick, baker general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. According to this story, the winter of 1777–1778 in Valley Forge was exceptionally harsh. Farmers in the area sold their food to the British for pounds rather than the weak continental currency offered by George Washington’s soldiers. The Continental Army was running low on food, and survived on a stew made of tripe, vegetables, and whatever else they could find to stay alive.
In the early 19th century, artist John Lewis Krimmel depicted the pepper pot street vendor in Philadelphia with his painting, Pepper-Pot: A Scene in the Philadelphia Market. Krimmel’s work was first exhibited in 1811 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The painting shows a barefoot black woman serving soup from a pot to white customers.
The pepper pot is also the symbol of an award given by the Philadelphia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The Pepperpot Awards ceremony is held each year recognizing Philadelphia’s top PR professionals. The region’s equivalent of the national PRSA’s Silver Anvil Award for excellence, The Pepperpot Awards were named in 1968 by Bill Parker, APR, then-chapter president and head of Campbell Soup communications. Parker suggested the name to conjure up excitement, liveliness, and good-humored intrigue, saying, “Like Philly’s famous soup, we put everything we have into all of our public relations campaigns.”