Choi sum fa got deflowered

How detail must the instructions I give the maid be when it comes to preparing food for the table?

Cleanliness? Check! Every minutiiae from washing and drying of hands, to separating cooking equipment, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans. Which tea towel for what. Chopping board: one each for meat/fish, veggie and fruits.

But there are finer points unrelated to cleanliness that get overlooked. I mean when I say “peel this apple”, I don’t need to add, “and then put the peel in the trash-bin”, do I?

It seems that such finer details aren’t always obvious to those who come from the deepest of Indonesia.

Let me illustrate.

There’s this rather expensive vegetable called Choi Sum Fa (Chinese spinach with tiny flowers ranging from green to yellow as seen in the pix).


Now you would imagine there’s no need to instruct someone, indeed anyone, that the flowers (besides the tender stems and leaves) are the piece de resistance and that’s what makes the veggie quite pricey.

So, I never thought to tell Siti the maid who joined us 4 months ago, unlike digging out the “eyes” from potatoes, sweet potatoes etc, taking out the seeds from chilli, running water when peeling onions and so on.

Image my surprise earlier this week when I walked into the kitchen and found her at the sink diligently snipping off the yellow flowers of my precious bag of choi sum!

“Why are you doing that?” I demanded, more suprised than angry, just like I would be if I found her putting a tub of ice-cream next to boiling pot, with the gas turned on high. (Actually, she’s done that with fish fresh from the market but that’s another story!)

“What ma’am?” asked my dosey maid, snipping off yet another flower.

“Stop it, now!” I said in my most peremtory voice as she looked at me with her hush-puppy eyes.

Oh, I gave her an earful about the flowers but at the end of the day, what else could I do but gnash my teeth that I had once again 4gotten to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s”. One may think it isn’t necessary to spell out everything but that’s where one is wrong. Never take anything for granted with an FDW!

Come to think of it, we have had choi sum fa on several occasions already and it now occurs to me that each time the dish had come to the table sans the yellow flowers, even tho the veggie back from the supermarket often had resplendent bouquets.

Must make sure I reinforce the lesson the next time we have choi sum fa for dinner.

3 thoughts on “Choi sum fa got deflowered

  1. Iv’e never heard of this vegetable until reading about it today — that’s how I found your blog, by searching for the vegetable. I wouldn’t have known that the flowers were edible.

    My neighbor girls were always wanting to try to eat something from my yard: vegetables, herbs, flowers, and all berries! I told them that unless an adult says it’s ok to eat, that NO flowers or berries can be eaten because some are poison. I was nervous they’d try to eat a flower they didn’t know when their parents or myself wasn’t around.

    I suspect your maid was erring on the side of caution in the best interests of your family. I hope your tone with her was less scolding than it sounded in this post.

    My charge nurse and I were doing narcotic inventory, which is done each shift. She complained bitterly about the idiot that didn’t remove medications in a particular order. I asked her why the order the drugs were removed mattered, since I’ve done inventory so many times at other jobs that I can count just by looking most times. She explained a system she had come up with that made it easier to know the amount. I then advised her that if her system was much better, perhaps she should teach her systems to nurses she trained. She looked at my oddly, until I explained that I was the idiot removing them in a different order than what she wanted, and it was her that trained me, and neglected to instruct me in her desired order. Then we laughed so hard we both had tears.

    Morale: If you want it done in a way that you consider correct, then teach it correctly.

  2. Hi Shewhispers:
    Actually, I’m a very mild employer. If you read my other posts, u will see that my family allows the maid to “bloom”: she paints water color scenes in her spare time and has made 3 sales (all $ going to her of cos) so far.

    However, I’m not very tolerant of blooming mistakes, if u wld pardon the pun, esp since she’s been taken out to restaurants and eaten the same veggie with all its flowerettes intact.

    I do give instructions and the very post u cited showed how detailed some of them are. But I can’t be expected to be on the watch out for every possibility. In any case, she’s been told from day 1, when in doubt always ask. We live in a small 1,750sf apartment and everyone is within talking distance.

    I shall end here. Don’t want to appear overly defensive. Thanks for visiting. And btw, it is MORAL, not morale, tho I guess my maid’s morale was a bit low immediately after the “deflowering” of the veggie incident.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s