The Medicine Wheel Bread Story

medwheelI remember the afternoon I walked by the Shriner’s Burn Institute for Children in Boston, MA. I looked up at the windows and tried to imagine what it was like for the kids inside; working to get ell; struggling with their fears; some literally fighting for their lives. My heart ached for them. How could I help? I am neither Doctor nor Nurse nor Social Worker. What could I do? My thoughts flashed back to when I had been in the hospital as a child. And I remembered the food. YUK! Maybe that was it. Maybe that’s how I could Help! Pizza made for kids who are ill or injured. Almost all kids love pizza and pizza made with good wholesome ingredients would be something they might eat and enjoy and be good for them. And maybe, just maybe it would help heal them. Food after all is the source of the building blocks the body needs to repair itself. And good food passes the first test of good medicine ­ Do no harm

Wholesome nutrition can’t hurt

The very first medicine wheel breads were made as part of an education outreach with the Warren, VT elementary school. Kids making food for kids. The children first helped build a brick oven at their school. Then together we made the dough and the tomato sauce. We baked the pizzas in our new brick-oven and gave them to kids in our local hospital. And it worked. The kids in the hospital ate ‘em up. (The kids in the class too!)

For some of the Ill or injured children it was the first solid food they had eaten in days. That was 1993. Since then we have made thousands of medicine wheel breads for ill and injured kids (and adults) and of all the accolades we have ever received none has been more rewarding than the smile of a hurting child and the warm embrace of a grateful mother.

Ernie was the first kid to ever eat a medicine wheel bread. Ernie had cancer. He was eight years old. It was his first solid food in four days. His mother cried tears of joy at the sight of seeing him eat.

I am sorry to say that I lost track of Ernie. I think of him from time to time and wonder how it worked out for him, and his mom. Oh, she loved him so much.


And so how do we make food that helps? I do not know in a whole or complete way, but I will share what I do. First, start with good clean fresh ingredients. Organically grown ingredients are almost always beneficial. Next is technique and recipes. Good ones are delicious, and delicious food is more readily eaten. Keep a clean kitchen, use non reactive pots and pans and go out of your way to get to know whom farm and fish. What they do makes all the difference. Finally, as you do the work of cooking, the cutting, the stirring and all the rest, let your heart soar with songs of joy and hope. It is our intention that counts most of all. If it is your intention to make food for someone you love, to help them, then I tell you this truly, that it will help. Some diseases are horrible, and sometimes, try as we might, pray as we do, the person we love does not get well. But even for the dying ­ maybe for them most of all ­ good food is a source of enormous kindness and one of the last homes of joy.

Love George, June 9, 2000


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