by Anna T. Collins, Esq. (Portland, Maine)
Beth George is an accomplished attorney. Early on in her career she interned for the late Hugh H. Bownes, First Circuit Court of Appeals and served as Judicial Clerk for the Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She has practiced solo for ten years, focusing primarily on juveniles in crisis, eventually shifting her focus to products liability defense.
But, outside of her high-powered legal career, Beth has another passion – a passion for a super grain called spelt. This passion, motivated by a desire to empower families and inspired by an intuition to create an original recipe to help others, has led to the creation of Spelt Right Baking in Yarmouth, Maine. When discussing spelt, Beth inevitably highlights three pillars of her passion: empowerment, intuition, and a desire to help others.
Beth believes her initial passion for baking with spelt was “really about saving my child from a very tough situation”. Beth’s son experienced health problems as a young child. When he was provisionally diagnosed with neurological disorders, Beth tapped into her experience as an attorney. “During my 10 years of solo practice, I represented kids in crisis,” Beth explains “I learned that being properly nourished can really impact the emotional health and behavioral responses of children.” Not surprisingly, Beth was not convinced about the accuracy of her son’s diagnosis.
Gradually and over several years, Beth and her husband Tim discovered that food was triggering their son’s physical and emotional reactions. “We first discovered that wheat bread was a big culprit,” Beth recalls “so instead of relying on anyone else to nourish my child, I decided that I needed to take the situation into my own hands – literally – so I started to bake and experiment with spelt until we came up with the perfect formulas.”
Beth had always loved baking ever since she was a kid, but did not have much experience with yeasted breads. “Once I started,” Beth shares “it felt intuitive.” Beth believes her personal heritage may explain why baking feels so natural to her. “Although I have never visited my grandparents’ region of origin (the Middle East), I get a sense that I must have some cultural/cellular memory in which the tradition of sharing food is paramount to daily life.”
Perhaps due to the importance of crafting a consistent recipe over and over again, baking lets Beth focus on something completely isolated from everything else: “at least for a moment,” she says “there is nothing around but the dough and me”. She sometimes even talks with the dough – “c’mon, you can do it – just soften up a little.”
Beth loves baking goods that people love to eat. “I love getting emails from strangers who say they have been deprived of good breads because they are wheat sensitive and are thrilled to have found Spelt Right baked goods,” Beth explains “I also love hearing from non-wheat sensitive people who say that once they have tried my spelt products, they aren’t going back to wheat.”
She is also passionate about helping other parents. Many people email, call, or stop by the bakery to tell her their very personal stories. Beth shares her experiences, feeling great about the fact that she is making a positive difference in people’s lives. “I want the message that nourishment is so vital to the well-being of our children to be front and center with the mission of Spelt Right Baking,” she concludes. With such a goal, it is no wonder she is so passionate about spelt.