Carnival Malasada (1958)

By Jenna Forti ’14

For many, simply mentioning the Punahou Carnival evokes memories of its hot, sugar-coated malasadas.

BulletinSPR2014_50_Malasada_MikiBowers.jpg

Where did Punahou’s malasada tradition begin? There are rumors that the recipe came from the mother of one of the first malasada booth volunteers, but the real story dates back to the 1958 Carnival, when Francis “Miki” Bowers ’45, a Punahou School math teacher, led a newly created malasada and corn-on-the-cob booth with his homeroom class. That year launched Bowers’ lifelong association with Punahou Carnival malasadas.

Dr. Bowers’ daughter, Laurel Bowers ’71 Husain, says the malasada recipe came from her father’s good friend, Minnie Marciel, who was manager of Punahou’s cafeteria at the time. Marciel contributed several other recipes that would also become Carnival classics, such as Portuguese Bean Soup.

Dr. Bowers taught math at Punahou from 1951 until 1998 and manned the malasada booth continually after its founding, even after his retirement. His last year making malasadas was in 2010, at 82 years old – that’s dedication.

Along the way, Dr. Bowers acquired the nickname “Mr. Malasada” because he was truly the face behind the malasada-making tradition. After he retired from teaching, an entire generation of student and parent volunteers knew him only as the happy, hard worker behind the malasada cooker, rather than the former head of Punahou’s math department.

As a retirement present in 1998, Dr. Bowers was given a malasada cooker with a dedication plaque. His humor and charisma left an impression on everyone working the Waikiki malasada booth. Because he was known for wearing bow ties, the year he passed away, many people on campus wore bow ties in memory of him.

Mr. Malasada’s granddaughter, Mahina Husain ’14 is the sixth generation of her family to attend Punahou. She shares her grandfather’s love for Punahou, Carnival, and worked the malasada booth her freshman and sophomore years, wearing her grandfather’s special 35th anniversary malasada apron, hat and red bow tie.

Dr. Bowers’ enthusiastic approach to working at Carnival rubbed off on many around him, and his aloha for Punahou is still alive today. The pride Dr. Bowers took in serving the Punahou community exemplifies the spirit of Carnival; building strong bonds with students, classmates and colleagues, and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Comments

  • 4/11/2014 6:26:11 PM

    Mr. Malasada also said he had "slide rule eyes", and he had a notorious "first mistake I ever made..."

    Reply
  • 4/11/2014 7:35:18 PM

    I too have fond memories of Dr. Bowers. I was in his math classes as a Junior and Senior. Now I live on the mainland and have not had a malasada since the last reunion. Can you post the recipe so I can make some for myself and friends who have never had the pleasure?

    Reply
  • 4/11/2014 7:44:00 PM

    Miki Bowers was in a class by himself as a teacher, volunteer, friend, mentor and human. Thank you for posting this story about the Malasada Man and the treat that all of Hawaii has come to enjoy.

    Reply
  • 4/11/2014 8:24:05 PM

    Why isn't the recipe included in the article, especially for those of us who cannot make it to the carnival as we have moved away. Does a Punahou recipe book exist with recipes for Caramel Cuts, and all the other good food from our cafeteria?

    Reply
    • 4/17/2014 7:16:39 PM

      PUNAHOU CARAMEL CUTS

      I have used a number of Caramel Cut recipes over the years and this one is by far the best, closest to what I remember scarfing down in the school cafeteria so many years ago. Couple of caveats: you must use real butter; it all comes together best if using a stand mixer such as a Kitchenaid as it’s almost too much for a hand-held beater; and finally, cut into squares while still warm.

      Ingredients:
      1 cup unsalted butter
      3-1/2 cups brown sugar (26.25 oz)
      4 eggs
      1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
      2 cups flour (8.5 oz)
      1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 cup chopped nuts, optional

      Instructions:
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 17x12x1-inch jelly roll pan. (This size works better than the 10x15x1.)

      Melt butter in a saucepan until just barely beginning to boil.

      Pour butter into mixing bowl, add sugar and mix until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla.

      (Some recipes call for adding the sugar to the melted butter in the saucepan and continue cooking until well mixed together. Then put into mixer bowl and continue. I have done it both ways and it doesn’t seem to matter which way you do it.)

      Add dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add nuts if using them. Pour into greased pan.

      Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Cut into squares while still warm. (Note: Last time I made these they were done after 23 minutes, so be sure to start watching them at 20 minutes.)

      Reply
      • 5/30/2015 1:32:05 PM

        The Caramel Cut recipe posted 4/17/2014 was developed by me from several sources. I have since further refined the recipe and it is pretty darn close to what the Punahou cafeteria produces. Here it is:

        Meredith’s favorite . . .

        PUNAHOU CARAMEL CUTS

        I have used a number of Caramel Cut recipes over the years and this one is by far the best, closest to what I remember scarfing down in the school cafeteria so many years ago. Couple of caveats: you must use real butter; it all comes together best if using a stand mixer such as a Kitchenaid as it’s almost too much for a hand-held beater; and finally, cut into squares while still warm.

        Ingredients:
        1 cup unsalted butter
        3-1/2 cups brown sugar (26.25 oz)
        4 eggs
        1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
        2 cups flour (8.5 oz)
        1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
        1 teaspoon salt
        1 cup chopped nuts, optional

        Instructions:
        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 17x12x1-inch jelly roll pan. (This size works better than the 10x15x1 or the 9x13.)

        Melt butter in a saucepan until just barely beginning to boil.

        Pour butter into mixing bowl, add sugar and mix until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla.

        (Some recipes call for adding the sugar to the melted butter in the saucepan and continue cooking until well mixed together. Then put into mixer bowl and continue. I have done it both ways and it doesn’t seem to matter which way you do it.)

        Add dry ingredients until well incorporated. Add nuts if using them. Pour into greased pan.

        Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Cut into squares while still warm. (Note: Last time I made these they were done after 23 minutes, so be sure to start watching them at 20 minutes.)

        Reply
  • 4/12/2014 11:11:07 AM

    you can't get a better malasada anywhere else. I would go to the carnival just to stand in that line and burn my tongue

    Reply
  • 6/22/2015 9:32:50 AM

    i had the good fortune of being a neighbor of the bowers family and while the col. was the most visible family member during the carnival, i truely belive it was mrs. bowers and her group that provided the real culinary treat at the event. they did those awesome jams and jellies.

    Reply

Gallery

Post a Comment