Essentials: Wisconsin Booyah
Plus, news from a friend of Midwesterner
Driving around northeastern Wisconsin, you might catch a glimpse of spindly handwriting on a yard sign scrawled with the word “BOOYAH” and an arrow pointing in the direction of where to find it. I grew up with the stew in Green Bay, and I have memories of walking into church and smelling the soup cooking over a wood fire, which exacerbated my restlessness in the pew.
Often part of a fundraising or other community event, the booyah of my youth came from giant steaming kettles in the parking lot, which bubbled with chicken, beef, root vegetables, cabbage, and more until the chicken was so tender that it became merely threads floating in the golden broth. It was served piping hot in Styrofoam cups in the church basement, along with oyster crackers. If you see an opportunity to enjoy this comforting stew, do not miss it—and if you can take some with you to freeze, do that, too. —Natalia Mendez
Louisville, Kentucky, isn’t in the Midwest—though it’s darn close, just across the Ohio River from Indiana and just down the same river from my hometown of Cincinnati. My grandma, Joan Portman, was one of many midcentury Midwesterners with a collection of the distinctive blue-and-white ceramics made by Louisville’s famous Hadley Pottery, founded by the self-taught artist (and Indiana native) Mary Alice Hadley and her husband George in 1939.
So, I was disappointed to read this spring that Hadley was closing after more than eighty years, citing rising costs and unsustainable overhead. Then, last week, friend of Midwesterner Brook Smith—who has helped support our stories—announced that he is going to buy the business to keep its doors open. “This is a business that has to continue,” he told the Courier Journal. After a major renovation and equipment updates, Hadley should be operating at full capacity by the middle of 2023. Watch this space for collaborations… —Jed Portman
Natalia Mendez (they/she) is a queer person of color and lifelong Midwesterner who loves to eat, travel and explore on two wheels. They write about food, travel, the outdoors, and experiences on the margins. They can also be found behind a camera. Their love letters to food and the way it connects us can be found on Instagram at @lengua.y.corazon.