Saturday, April 19, 2008

Guess What's Cookin' Tonight

If you can guess what these ingredients (a partial list) are for, you must be from Wisconsin. If you're not from around here, chances are you have no idea what "chicken booyah" is, but folks around here certainly do. Chicken booyah is a soup, usually made in mass quantities; the only time I've ever had it is at church picnics and the occasional fundraiser. In fact, a church picnic without booyah is hardly worth attending, in many people's minds.

Making booyah is a huge undertaking, and twice a year, Kyle's Boy Scout Troop works to make it as a fundraiser. It starts Saturday morning, when 10-15 scouts and their parents gather at one house to chop fresh vegetables for the booyah. We've hosted this part of the process at our house for the past three years, and today was the big day.
Everybody worked very hard; even the young ones.
We managed to peel and chop 15 lbs. of onions, 20 lbs. of celery, 35 lbs. of carrots, and 110 lbs. of potatoes in an hour and a half. Then, we transported the vegies to another scout's house, where they will be mixed with other ingredients in the next stage of the process.

The people who've been in charge of cooking the booyah live on a farm, and we were greeted by many curious characters when we arrived.
I did not see the chicken for tonight's stage of the cooking, but I did take this photo for your viewing pleasure. (Do you think they suspect anything??)
We found corn and green beens (standing at the ready) on the table in the shed. (Glad I'm not the one using those hand-crank can-openers; my hand is already sore from chopping potatoes!) Other ingredients to be added later include crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. (I'd tell you the recipe, but then I'd have to kill you.) Tonight, a second crew will meet to de-bone the 150 lbs. of chicken, which has been boiled. It will then be added to the pots with the other ingredients, plus 5 lbs. of beef roast (diced) in each kettle. The cooking then begins and will continue throughout the night, with a couple of bleary-eyed parents manning the kettles. Someone in the troop made our four cookers, each which holds a 40-gallon kettle.
An equally important "ingredient" is the wood that's used to keep the fires hot all night. I'm told this is what gives booyah it's unique taste; being slowly cooked over a wood fire.Tomorrow morning, we'll set up a stand in a parking lot on a busy road and start selling booyah and baked goods around 8am. Churchgoers will be thrilled to see our sign and will stop on their way home to buy. Some will bring big, empty kettles for us to fill. Others let us serve it up by the gallon ($16) or quart. Usually, all the booyah is gone within two church services.

The last part of the job (equally important) is cleaning up the kettles, buckets, and utinsels, and storing them away for next year. Typically, this fundraiser nets us about $900. It's a lot of work, but it also builds troop unity and helps pay for things like camp, badges, etc.

Wish I could give you a taste!

I could swear as we left, those chickens gave me dirty looks. Could this be the reason???

1 comment:

  1. The Booyah sounds delicious. I make a soup very similar but not in that huge quantity. I do make enough for several meals and put enough in glass jars for two meals each and put in freezer. I would luuuuv to be able to buy your Booyah. Now can I say you are so full of booyah? Ha. I so like my own jokes.

    I am with you about the hand can openers. I would have my electric can opener under my arm.


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