The Anasazi Bean Affair
“But I am 85 years old!” she exclaimed.
“Oh my… that’s …that’s not at all what I had in mind,” I stammered.
Like many things at Twin Rocks Trading Post, The Anasazi Bean Affair began innocently, but somehow went very wrong.
It all began about a month ago when Mary Cokenour, food writer for the San Juan Record, wrote an article, “Twin Rocks has Cottonwood Flair.”
The story reported the recent sale of the local eatery, Cottonwood Steakhouse, and how the transfer of title left steakhouse employees with uncertain jobs.
Frances, the Twin Rocks Cafe general manager, however, had a solution. In collaboration with Reed Sampson, steakhouse assistant manager, Frances hired the entire staff, restructured the Cottonwood menu to blend with Twin Rocks Cafe’s offerings and opened for dinner four nights a week, which will soon be five nights each week.
Like many in the tourism business, Twin Rocks Cafe has suffered from the “post” pandemic labor hangover. There simply are not enough people to do the work.
While we have historically been open seven days a week, three meals a day, staffing limitations had us down to breakfast and lunch six days a week.
Our reviews on the travel platforms consequently have, at times, been withering.
“Couldn’t get them to serve us.” “Slow, slow, slow.” “Why don’t they hire more people?” “No place to eat in this small town.”
“They are the only place open, and we had to wait an hour and a half. Finally left. Don’t they know how to run a restaurant?”
Combine this with supply chain snafus, extraordinary inflation on many food items and a punishing drought, and you have the makings of a real disaster.
Customers are mad, and they don’t mind letting us know, often telling us how they can do it better, even though they have no food service experience.
Mary’s article mentioned we use Anasazi beans in some of our recipes, and that we also have them for sale in our gift shop.
We purchase the beans from Adobe Milling Company located in Dove Creek, CO. Their web site indicates the beans were found in Anasazi ruins by white settlers and have been cultivated ever since.
Anasazi beans are small, kidney-shaped, purple and white beans which are in the same family as pintos. They are also marketed as “Cave Beans,” “Aztec Beans” and “New Mexico Appaloosas.”
The origin story varies, however, depending on who is telling it. Since most botanists agree beans are generally unable to germinate after about 50 years in storage, those individuals argue that the particular strain was probably grown in Native American gardens for centuries and only recently marketed by companies looking for new types of boutique beans.
Whatever the facts, Anasazi beans are tasty and local, and that resonates with Frances. As a result, we use a lot of them at Twin Rocks Cafe, over a ton a year.
Having read Mary’s story, Donna decided to call and secure some for her own table.
Donna is an extremely nice woman who grew up just north of Bluff in Monticello. She therefore reads the San Juan Record every week and spotted Mary’s article about Twin Rocks Cafe and Cottonwood Steakhouse getting together.
Donna seemed to be on a tight budget, so I agreed to ship her a package at no cost. Not long after Donna sent a box of Michael’s World-Famous Peanut Brittle to assist Priscilla and me in our weight gain program. It was a successful experiment.
About a week later, having cooked the beans with a ham hock, Donna called to inform me that yes, they were indeed delicious.
She consequently wanted an entire case shipped to her home in California. Having calculated the cost, including shipping, I reported my findings, and she stated she simply could not afford to spend that much money on beans.
It was at that point I said, “Well, maybe I should just get in the van and drive them out to you myself,” and Donna assured me that at 85 years of age, she had no interest in that proposal.
It seems the Anasazi Bean Affair was never destined to be an affair after all.