Fall Festivals, Part 2

A few weeks ago I wrote about going to a traditional Midwestern (in the middle and northern part of the U.S.) fall festival, and described the types of games and events you might find there. Today we’ll talk about an even more important part of a fall festival: food.

Some of the food you will find at a fall festival could be found at almost any fair (festival) or celebration with a large number of people in the Midwest, including hot dogs, bratwursts (a type of German sausage), hamburgers, and corn on the cob.  In addition, at a Minnesota or Wisconsin fall festival, you will often find something called booya (sometimes spelled “booyah”). Booya is a stew or thick soup, typically made with beef but also sometimes with chicken, along with lots of different kinds of vegetables.  Booya is always made in a large kettle (pot or cooking container), and is cooked slowly over many hours to obtain (get) the best possible taste. Booya kettles are huge, holding up to 50 gallons (190 liters) of soup!  These large kettles are usually owned by a local church or community organization, and are used for many, many years.

The derivation (origin; place where something comes from) of the word “booya” is somewhat in dispute (people don’t agree on the answer). Some people say it comes from a mispronunciation of the French word bouillon, meaning “soup.”  The French explorers (people who go to areas previously unknown to them) in North America were the first Europeans to settle (live) in what are now Minnesota and Wisconsin, and many places in the Midwest have French names to this day (today). So it seems very possible that the word “booya” is derived from a French word.

However, booya is not considered a French food by Midwesterners, but rather something invented in the U.S. There are in fact very few French descendents (people whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. were originally from France) living in Minnesota today. And like many types of traditional food, there are arguments over whose booya recipe (instructions for cooking) is the best.

The fall festival I attended in October is famous in the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota) for its booya, and it tasted as good as I remembered it tasting as a teenager. Booya is so popular that festivals often run out of it (use or sell all they have) after just a few hours, so smart attendees (people who go to an event) arrive to the festival early.  After eating one bowl of booya at the festival, I got in line (stood in a line of people) to buy some more booya to take home with me for dinner. I’d love to share some with you, but the photo (above) will have to suffice (be enough or sufficient) for now!


Photo credit: Jeff McQuillan

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23 Responses to Fall Festivals, Part 2

  1. Betty says:

    Thank you so much, Jeff, for sharing the story of this great food with us.

    The booya really looks so yummy that I wish Jeff would share the food instead of just a photo with us. That’s it, I am going to try making some mini-sized booya myself tonight.

    Next time when I see the word booya, I will know what it is and I will not miss the chance to buy some to taste. Undoubtedly I will remember it is Jeff who has taught me this word –booya. Booya, such a cool name!

  2. Betty says:

    Hi Emiliano

    Guess what, I found one of the biggest mistakes I have made in one of my messages which I hope you have not read and so had not found out.

    I followed Jeff’s article above to his other article about ‘corn on the cob’ to ‘You Betcha!’.

    Whilst reading the messages from everyone, I found that your cat’s name was ‘Gatufo’.

    Then I realised that I ‘Fatima’ was your second daughter’s name.

    My sincere apologize for the mix up of names.

    Best Regards
    P.S. Please don’t ask me if you do not know where the erroneous message was, better not to read it.

  3. Barbara says:

    Very interesting!!
    It is good for cold day to warm your body,
    and good for health.

    Thanks a lot, Jeff.

  4. Ziba says:

    Hi, Jeff

    My appetite increased when I saw the picture of the food, Booya. U took a great picture of the food and explained it clearly that I think I can cook it.

    Yes always food is a very important part of a festival, celebration, party and so forth.

    Some foods remind us our past especially when we where a teenager and liked an especial food which our mothers cooked, as you mentioned in the text.

    Plus the process of the festival is very interesting and l love to be in this kinds of festivals.

    Best regards,


  5. emiliano says:

    That´s funny Betty, don´t worry about that.
    Now I use to listen to jeff and Lucy podcasts aloud, there is an Ipod support in the bed room which is a radio too but you
    may put the Ipod either in a support and you may listen to music or to the Podcast.

    At the mornings while I am doing home chores I put the lessons aloud and the cat is so fond to Jeff´s voice that “Gatufo”
    rest on the bed listening to Jeff´s voice close to the Ipod device.
    This morning Jeff was singing the song “I’ve been working on the Railroad” E.Cafe 305 and the cat seems to be delighted
    with Jeff nice good voice.
    Gatufo usually goes everyplace I go through the house but this morning he was on the bed without moving just listening
    to the Cafe and Jeff´s singing till the end.

    Congratulations Jeff being a singer you have got another fan, but I have my doubts about Gatufo´s possibilities of
    leaning English, nevertheless I am sure about his music taste as when he likes a song he is on me immediately.

    Sorry Jeff, I know you don´t like cats but Gatufo likes your way of singing and your voice.

  6. Peter says:

    You know what, eventually,the day would come that you hung up your hat:))
    When the day arrives, There will be no match for which I can brace.

    Betty this time around you beat me to it.:))
    You posted first.
    Given the time difference, I always must be the first who post sth here.
    But ,I am lazy pants
    I assume I m the first who see the latest post up there. Because for the most occasions, you guys are all asleep unless, you work all hours of the night,or you go to bed at wee hours.
    Perhaps ,some time you must pull an all-nighter for the exam you have next day,and you take a galimps there 🙂
    So,I retract
    The Eslpod’s class room is so broad that it can contain all the possibilities out there.
    It doesn’t matter if you check the blog at ungodly hours or at twilight or at regular hours, what the matter is :eslpod is the only place on earth that you leave there always with something extra in your pocket-that is ,small sacs of knowledge that Lucy herself ties up their strings.
    Don’t give me school pleas as sth equivalent with Eslpod. You pay Tution fee for schooling. Remember?

    It doesn’t matter you go first or last Betty. You are the spirit around the blog. Ur posts always give off a positive vibe.
    I don’t know you in person but through your posts here which definitely reflect your set of belifs and what you adhere to.
    I found you a go-getter sis
    Your post are inspiring.
    you are good!!!

  7. Myo ko ko says:

    It seems you like “booya” a lot!
    I’m afraid to say that that word “booya” was the name of a leading actress in a Korean film I once saw. 😀
    Anyway, So much thanks Jeff for the post.

  8. Peter says:

    It is not fair,
    All my commented are laden with mistakes rather slip-ups that I make throw no fault of my own. U know what I m not passing the blame here. The true culprit is not me per se; it is my giant fingers in cahoots with the cramp keyboard on the iPhone 4 🙂

    Good news at least for me is ,I m on the verge of getting a laptop,so I can communicate with you guys in a more propped fashion.
    I promis you less error-riddled posts.
    If you ever cared to read my error-studded comments.
    The keyboard on the iPhone is not proportional to my giant fingers.

    So long 🙂 not for ever just today:)

  9. Peter says:

    Just out of cuorisity,Any one here perchance lives in Canada?

  10. emiliano says:

    Nice photo Jeff, did you eat the “booya” after taken the photo?

    I do think so, returning to your born city sure you were absolutely happy
    remembering the past time of your youth in Minnesota.

    Nothing taste better than the food we eat when we were young and healthy.
    Being young I phoned some days to my mama as asked her what it was
    for supper.
    I there was some fish I like very much “boquerones rebozados”
    Breaded (beaten eggs and flour) anchovies I suggested her to prepare a “bocadilllo” with
    them to have the possibility of going to see a movie at the cinema and
    eating my bocadillo while I watch the movie..a bocadillo is not a sandwich please..
    un bocadillo is half a long peace of bread cut in two long pieces and in the middle
    you put “tortilla española” “boquerones” “sausage” or which ever nice food you
    like to eat.

    The Madrid typical bocadillo is a small peace of bread with fried squids previously
    submerged in a mix of beaten eggs and after impregnated in flour…then directly
    to the pan and immediately put them in the piece of bread open by the middle.
    This is one of the best food you may have at the moment in several bars or tascas, they
    are absolutely delicious and uniques and are missed by all the madrilenes that
    need to go out from their city.
    This is also the way to fry the anchovies I asked my mother for if I was going
    to the cinema.

    The Spanish Tortilla was also one of my favorites “bocadillos” and even now
    Cuca and me have the tortilla when our dear friend Camila is coming home.
    She cooks the tortilla in a wonderful way, more or less like her FLANES.
    Their Flanes (Flan in singular) are another story as she cooks the best flanes of
    the entire world.

    Sorry Jeff, you can´t talk about food as my imagination runs too fast.
    Tasting Booya has to be delicious too but I would like to eat it in Minnesota.

    Thank you very much Jeff, it is so nice that you share you memories
    with us that I only could say it is absolutely great.
    You are always giving a good example to your pupils as opening your
    feelings and memories in your lessons makes us quite easy to open ours in the
    same way like you.

  11. Juan says:


    Thank you for this wonderful blog for sharing with us clear and plain explanation behind a word. I like it very much.


  12. John says:

    Looks good; I would eat that with rolls. It looks almost like goulash soup, just with more vegetables in it.

  13. Peter says:

    The beauty of Jeff’s explaination of terms is : he targets the concept of words ,what words contain rather ,not just definitions. It is very important at least in Englush language to Familiarize yourself with concept not definition only. Having said that knowing the concept(what a word represents ) is a great help for utilizing terms and words broadly as situation applies.
    I must say Jeff has a knack for it.
    His description of words and terms is spot on. Indeed ,he is at the top of his game.
    I m stating the obvious about Jeff as everybody around the Eslpod’s block(good one:) is familiar with Jeff’s work and the fact that he Is gifted that way.
    In nutshell, He gives us the nature of English terms and words not definitions per se.
    Eslpod is the work of Jeff and Lucy combined.
    Well,perfection is the least you expect from people (Jeff and Lucy) who excell at the field of their expertise.
    I can’t overstay that Jeff and lucy have made a different in the linguistic world.
    May God rewards tgem profusely with health and wealth.

  14. Tania says:

    Hi! Hard attempt for us T.S. Eliot. Without knowing the historical context, without reading the literary critics we cannot understand his works.
    I have known that T.S.Eliot is a great writer and thanks to you I have understood why.
    I had to go to the library and…my luck…I found “The Waste Land” bilingual edition. We kept the same title as “waste land” has a lot of meanings:
    the land of the desert and vanity, the land of the loss and perdition, a devastated and wilderness land. A land after a cruel war.
    With dark words, it is a dark poem: The Burial of the Dead (section I), Death by Water (section IV)…where the natural cycle of death is symbolized by the passing of the seasons, by the tarot cards.

  15. Tania says:

    Hi! And who are the dead that are being buried in section I?
    I found the answer reading the literary critics. All soldiers and other casualties who died during World War I leaving a waste land , the waste land of modern society.
    The people are alive in the physical sense, but dead in all others.

    “In the mountains , there you feel free” as Marie feels trapped, just the humanity feels trapped in its own waste land.

  16. Tania says:

    Hi! Difficult to read this poem with the bibliographic traps behind of each verse like “Ulysses” by James Joyce with the same Modernist style.

  17. Tania says:

    Hi! But there is a hope of regeneration in April, the life-giving season of spring.

    “April is the cruellest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.
    Winter kept us warm, covering
    Earth in forgetful snow , feeding
    A little life with dried tubers.”

  18. Tania says:

    ” In the mountains , there you feel free.
    I read , much of the night…”

  19. Tania says:

    “We think of the key, each in his prison
    Thinking of the key , each confirms a prison.”

    “Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop.”

  20. Tania says:

    Hi! Thank you Dr. Jeff for the vision concerning the T.S.Eliot’s works.

    All the best to you all. “In the mountains, there you feel free.”


  21. Tania says:

    Hi! I have just bought the book “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo.
    I have to read it.

  22. Tania says:

    Hi! We are very glad if you want to share some booya with us.

  23. meme says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Nice pic it;s look yammy (brb) but if i want 2 eat one I’ll order it with chicken becuz i’m have vegetarian i don’t like any kind of red meat, BUT just love 2 eat chicken breast (fm) and with vegetable it look like yammy 😀

    what a nostalgic home sweet home, The better one is 2 have dinner , celebrate with ur family , that’s the real festival 😛

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