Shouting and Sipping ‘Booyah!’ in Woodbury

I’m envisioning a cast-iron pot nestled on a pile of wood, flames licking its sides while Booyah makers stand on stepladders stirring the steamy concoction with a canoe paddle.

What a beautiful fall! These mostly warm temperatures provide extended outdoor comfort for more walks, bicycling, hikes and hayrides.

While we’re out there, we get to soak up some of that brilliant sunshine that shines through the trees, setting the colorful fall foliage aglow. It’s a time of miraculous beauty that summons us to wring every last minute out of our slowly shortening days.

But not all things fall are familiar to me. I’m accustomed to political lawn signs this time of year, raking leaves and picking candy corn out of my teeth. I’m on board with stockpiling fun-size Snicker bars and begging my kids to dress up as PSY for Halloween.

But the boo I’m trying to get with is Booyah.

I sometimes see Booyah flyers tacked to trees or signs posted at a random corner of a country crossroad. “What is this Booyah?” I ask.

Booyah is supposedly a Midwestern thing. But I grew up in Michigan and either wasn’t paying attention or was sadly sheltered from this funny-sounding phenomenon.

I’d always assumed Booyah was just something you shout out when overjoyed, like when your favorite lineman makes a tackle. But, supposedly it’s also a soup or stew. It’s prepared in a large outdoor kettle by several cooks, sometimes over several days.

I’m envisioning a cast-iron pot nestled on a pile of wood, flames licking its sides while Booyah makers stand on stepladders stirring the steamy concoction with a canoe paddle. The scene in my imagination brings to mind Yosemite Sam trying to cook up Bugs Bunny in the Looney Tunes episode of Rabbitson Crusoe.

After a bit of research, I’ve discovered there are no nefarious cartoon characters involved in making actual Booyah and neither are any rabbits harmed in the making of this culinary fall feast. It’s more like beef, chicken or pork combined with a myriad of vegetables, potatoes and seasonings. Sounds like soup to me.

Not sure why people don’t just call it soup.

But who am I to argue? I didn’t even know we lived in such close proximity to the Booyah Capital of the World!

Yep. South St. Paul is the place to be at noon this Saturday for the World Champion Booyah cook-off. Maybe somebody over there can explain to me where the name comes from.

Funny name or not, I’m in full support of the concept of Booyah. Gathering outdoors with friends, family, neighbors and strangers to raise a bowl and clink spoons in celebration of the season. The final huzzah to a summer well spent and an autumn enjoyed to the fullest before we burrow indoors for the winter.

I will be orbiting a bonfire this Saturday night with some 30-40 of my neighbors, who come with pans of bars and brownies, bowls of caramel corn and trays of cheese and crackers. There will be no cast-iron pot being stirred over the fire.

But there will be towering metal kettles on the stove, one brimming with chili, the other with navy bean soup. There will be coolers of craft beer on the deck and kids tackling each other on the lawn.

My thanks to our spectacularly generous friends who host this event in their back yard every fall.

Get in on the festive fall action and get out your soup pots Woodbury! Post your favorite one-pot recipes and invite your neighbors to share a dish. Now is the time to sip some stew and shout your joy, Booyah!


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Ronald N Warness October 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Angela, How about finding a CHURCH Lutefisk dinner here in Woodbury? I try to may it to 3 or 4 of these wonderful meals during this time of the year - Yup, my Grandmother from Norway used to make this feast for Christmas eve and I've never tasted better! By your name - Johnsdatter - you owe it to us Woodbury Norwegians to sample some "church" lutefisk feed:) Happy eating, Ron Warness
Angela Johnson October 03, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Haha! Great story idea Ron. Now, just where, pray-tell are all these Woodbury Norwegians hiding their lutefisk? Let's get this story rolling!
Kris Janisch October 03, 2012 at 04:17 PM
My mom's maiden name is Hvidhyld. Still can't stomach lutefisk.


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