The term "booyah!" has grown popular as an expression of satisfaction or praise. To locals of Brown, Kewaunee and southern Door counties, "a booyah" is also an event - a church picnic, family reunion or any special occasion where the community gathers to savor its one-pot-feeds-all connection.
Associated with the Belgian Americans of northeastern Wisconsin, booyah can be prepared any time of the year. Indeed, it's been said that the area's early booyah feasts hark back to settlers' harvest festivals, in particular to the Belgian Kermiss celebrations of the 19th century.
It's a broader-based foodway of the Great Lakes region, one probably related to the boiled meals that the area's first peoples prepared over open fires. They shared their soupy stews of wild game (or fish) and vegetables with missionaries and French fur traders, who in turn used their own terms to describe the concoctions. The name that stuck may have the same root as the French bouillon, meaning soup or broth.
And sure enough, no matter how many Belgian cookbooks I've pored through over the years, I've never found a recipe that reads like the booyah - soup or event - I know. No matter. Long-simmered, thick with vegetables, booyah is more than a meal, it's a regional icon.
Consume vast quantitie
Terese Allen on Thursday 09/23/2010