Thus, I offer my booya primer:
Booya! What is it? The real question is: what isn't it?
Well, you can't pass a church, fire station, VFW or an extended Polish family gathering in St. Paul without the signs of booya. All you need for a great one is a beautiful fall day, a greenspace or parking lot, an open fire, a large black cauldron (minimum capacity: 25 gallons), a European grandma (or just her recipe, if she is RIP), some oxtails, chickens and veggies, a taste for boiled bone marrow, a bowl, a lawnchair, a gang of really booya-friendly participants willing to contribute the vegetables (and beer) and all day to stand a round watching a pot boil. Beer helps, but is not required. Horseshoe pits, croquet sets and bocce ball courts and charitable raffles are all fantastic complements to the booya as event. Oh, and don't forget the oyster crackers! That's it!
The entire month of October is traditionally prime booya time, before the onslaught of truly brutal weather and before the Big Three commercialized American holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Xmas) cast a pall over all more humble celebrations. Sometimes booya newbies will try to jumpstart the season in September, but green trees and sweaty weather is not in keeping with the spirit of booya. Booya is meant to coincide with the start of flu season. They don't call it "the Belgian Penicillan" for nuttin'.
Booya is what is happening now. Right now. Pencil it in.
Grandma Rahn's Old World Booya:
5 pounds oxtails (sub beef stew meat if you're scared)
2 pounds yellow onions, roughly chopped
Bay leaves, salt and pepper
1 pound butter
2 mutant-large stewing chickens or capons (at least 6 lbs), cut up (or about 3-4 regular whole chickens)
4 pounds pork shoulder
2 bunches celery, chopped
4 pounds carrots, chopped
3 pounds cabbage roughly chopped
1 pound green beans, chopped
12 chopped ripe tomatoes
3 pounds corn kernels
3 pounds green peas
5 pounds red potatoes, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1 or more tablespoons worschester sauce
Additional salt and pepper to taste
bouillon cubes (optional)
Place beef in very large pot with some of the onion, a few bay leaves, the butter, and some salt and pepper. Add enough cold water to fill the pot 1/3 full. Bring to simmer, skim surface as needed and cook 1/2 hour. Add chicken parts, more water (to cover all the meat) and a little more salt. Continue to simmer 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables as described.
When meats are tender, lift them out of the broth. While meat is cooling, add the prepared vegetables, including the remaining onion. Add one type of vegetable at a time, bringing the broth back to a simmer after each addition (grandma's warning: if you add all the vegetables too fast, the broth goes "haywire").
Remove bones and skin from cooled chicken and beef. Chop the meats and add to the pots after all the veggies have been added. Simmer the soup at least two hours---longer preferred. Water may be added during the cooking process if necessary.
Season with lemon juice, worchester, beef bouillon (if desired) and salt and pepper to taste.
ALWAYS SERVE WITH OYSTER CRACKERS!