Monday, January 17, 2005

If you know beans about beans

I am on a hunt for Anastazi beans. These are red and white pinto-like beans that I first bought at Wild Oats Market and learned to love them for their flavor. I made them with onion, celery and peppercorns, and they were simple and delicious. Wild Oats isn't carrying them, but instead has another bean entirely in the bulk food area labeled Anasazi. I think I am going to make a trip to visit the manager there to let him know that this is wrong! I looked up Anastazi beans on the web and found out some interesting things.
Anasazi Beans

Most popular of the modern boutique beans, the Anasazi bean is also called the Aztec bean, Cave bean, New Mexico appaloosa and sometimes Jacob's Cattle. It is a 1,500 year old variety: the most popular story behind the modern origin of the New Mexico Cave Bean is unusual. As it goes, in the 1980's a member of an archeological team from UCLA was looking for remains of Pygmy elephants that roamed the earth thousands of years ago in the area now known as New Mexico and came upon these beans. The beans were in a clay pot sealed with pine tar and were determined by radio carbon dating to be over 1,500 years old, yet some still germinated! The beans were simply called "New Mexico Cave Beans" after the discovery of the half dozen or so beans found in a cave once inhabited by Native American peoples.
All I know is that I like them far more than any other bean I have ever cooked with and now I can't find them anymore. The search is on! I once saw them in Oklahoma at a roadside tourist site called Cherokee Trading Post. They had them, and labeled them for tourists and sold them for a much higher price than I was paying at my local market. Now my smugness has backfired, and I can't find them. I am mourning a bean!

On the homefront, George is all excited today because the Patriots won yesterday. He is one happy camper today, and for that alone, I am grateful. Last night it snowed about three inches of powdery white stuff. The sun is shining, and everyone has a day off today, so no one is very worried about slick roads and Boston traffic snarls. I have a free day, with no plans except to try to connect with Dave for a Japanese lunch at some point in the day. Time to go out in the world and enjoy the sunshine.

Happy Martin Luther King Day.