We pulled out our 8-month old ubi kayu (tapioca) plants a couple of months ago and I immediately boiled some. And when the water was reduced, put in some gula melaka (brown sugar) and a pinch of salt. We later had the yummy ubi sira for tea. The weekly help took a whole lot home, beaming away, saying: "ini mahal di pasar malam." The tapioca were planted by the previous help, who had time on her hands. She also planted sweet potatoes (we have since pulled them out), serai (lemon grass), pandan, kunyit, kesum and lots and lots of chillies. So I'm pretty happy whenever I have to pluck things out from the garden in my cooking.
We replanted some of the ubi, this time lined outside the house; for itseems 'root' plants take up a lot of the nutrients from the earth, depriving other plants. The previous maid was a great help, especially when we first moved into our house in November 2007. When the movers left, she gamely moved the furniture this way and that, when I wondered out loud if a cabinet would be better positioned this way or that. AHS described her as half-man. Nevertheless, the half-man could also cook, having worked in a nasi padang outlet in Indonesia. I could depend on her preparing food for Raya, supervising her only once in awhile. She also preferred to work alone, I suspected, and then take all the credit. She worked with us for 2 days short of a year.
Somehow she managed to befriend a construction worker and unceremoniously fled with him, leaving none of her things behind. She is married, with 2 children! When I spoke about it to friends, they said this was a normal happening-- running away with somebody else while still married. I told our daughter's maid who lent my previous maid RM 200.00 that I would not talk about the runaway again and said I was sure she'd burn in hell.
I immediately decided not to have any live-in maid, so we got a weekly, recommended by a colleague. I cook dinner everyday, something I totaly enjoy most of the time. I aslo drag AHS to do the gardening almost every weekend. It was tiring at the start, but my calloused hands are now well-seasoned. We find our expenses reducing. I remember we had to buy the 8-litre liquid detergent every couple of months, even when we only do our washing every other day. The previous maid must have poured the contents without measuring. Without her, we also feel more relaxed at home.
It was good while it lasted, but I think we are better off, just the two of us, hardened hands and all.