Beyond Inspiration: The Malasada Season

By A.J. Llewellyn
One of the questions authors get asked a lot is, “What inspires you to write?” For me, it’s the sights, sounds and smells of cooking. Food inspires me more than a sunset…er, I mean that the other way around.
Aw, heck. Who am I kidding?
It’s food, glorious food and I write certain scenes eating certain types of food. For example, sex scenes and chocolate go well together. Cake and sex – fabuloso!
I like candy, too. Gummi bears and Good and Plenty are excellent, serviceable foods that won’t grease up the keyboard as I write the body of my stories.
But for pure, total spiritual pleasure beyond inspiration, I can’t look past the humble malasada. I’ve been known to go to great lengths to get my paws on a malasada. That isn’t easy on the mainland. In Hawaii, malasadas are fully available since they are a staple there. Malasada trucks abound. Even supermarkets sell these no-hole chunks of donut-style Portuguese sugary goodness.
In Kapahulu on the island of Hawaii, Leonard’s Bakery makes nothing but malasadas. They open at the crack of dawn and pound out boxes of the stuff.
But there’s no Leonard’s here and memories are not enough…
Like a hungry croc, I lie in wait each year for the mainland version of Leonard’s. Finally, thank God, Malasada Season has hit the mainland.
I’m talking specifically about the plethora of Hawaiian festivals that spring up from May until Labor Day weekend in September in California.
I’ve had bad luck in the past couple of years with Malasada Season. I’ve been to festivals where they were no malasadas, or the machines broke down, or the cooks became overwhelmed with orders.This year, I wasn’t going to be thwarted.
Last Saturday, I drove all the way to Santa Fe Springs, bright and early for the kick-off Hawaiian Festival. I followed my nose to the food stalls and found the malasada lady.
“I’m not taking orders for 45 minutes,” she said. “The oil is just getting warmed up.”
45 minutes? I grumbled and groaned but walked around looking at the Hawaiian souvenirs, quilts, books etc. on display, and counted the minutes until I could go back and order.
“Oh, sorry,” she said. “I’m already swamped with orders.”
“How?” I gasped. “You said you weren’t taking any orders yet.”
She looked sheepish. “Try me in half an hour.”
I remained nice because I have a policy of being nice to anyone handling my food. You don’t want people spitting in it, ya know?
I returned half an hour later. Still no joy. It tortured me to see people eating these big pieces of puffy goodness…knowing I’d been the first to arrive and yet, somehow the only one to miss out.
I began to think it was a conspiracy and I went back to lurk around the malasada stall but other people were being turned away, too.
I never did get my malasadas. I waited for about two hours, a sad statement about my severe addiction. Or perhaps too, my need for an actual life.
Not to worry, there’s another festival in San Dimas June 10 and 11. I’ll be there and this time, I won’t take no for an answer.
How about you? What’s your serious food-writing addiction?
Aloha oe,

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