Totally true. I played this growing up in The Bronx. We’d yell “Hot Peas and Butter-Scotch”…. and invariable one kid who spied the belt’s hiding place would lure the other kids close by playing possum and then grab it swinging. No hitting with the buckle, no at the face and no “double-strap” folding it half. But God help the kid who was blocked off from the stoop.
We called it Hot Belt too. Same rules as mentioned by John Lyons and to add to the pressure, whoever hid the belt would call out hot, warm, cold to the others that were searching. When the belt was found the finder would yell, “Hot belt!” and started whipping whoever was closest until all the searchers got back to ‘home’.
Back in the late fifties and early sixties (yeah, that was last century) we kids on Lefferts Avenue, in Brooklyn, used to play a game called, Hot Peas And Butter. Somebody went and got their father’s best butt beatin’ belt and a “papa” was chosen (either by “Engine Engine Number Nine” with the feet or by “The Odd Finger Is It” with the fingers) who then hid the belt somewhere (in the bushes, under a garbage pail, down a basement entrance, in a milkbox, etc.) while the rest of the bunch kept their eyes closed in the “Safety Zone”. Then, the “papa” came back to the safety zone and yelled, “Hot Peas And Butter!” Everybody went out looking for the belt. The “papa” would declare, COLD, WARM or HOT, depending on the proximity of the searchers to the belt. Once the belt was found, the new “papa” chased everyone back to the safety zone, swinging the belt and lashing anyone within reach. God help the kid who fell down! We would play until the real father found out that his best belt was missing. He’d come out with his fists on his hips and a nasty scowl. But he couldn’t help it; he’d soon break into a big smile. Ah, the memories of good, clean games! I hope they’re not gone forever.
I was born and raise in Brooklyn, in the Fort Greene Projects 1953, we called it “Hot Peas and Butter. Same rules except when the person who hid the belt called everybody to find the belt they would yell. “Hot peas and butter, come and get your super,your mother is in the gutter eating peanut butter”. Everyone would come running towards the area the belt was hidden. and as we looked for it the person who hid the belt would say your cold, (meaning your not near the belt)or you would say real real cold, but the minute the guy said your hot or real hot, the guys would go crazy looking for the belt, then you started o p paying attention because you knew somebody was going to find the belt soon and start whipping somebody or hey maybe you. it was a lil dangerous because there were some older guys in our crowd, although they would never hit us hard with the belt we saw what they did to the older ones. and we weren’t taking any chances. It was boss.