I don’t know where I would be without this woman and her work.
For those of you who don’t know her, she is THE pioneer of Gluten Free Baking. Years ago when I was first diagnosed, my love raced to the local bookstore to find anything he could. The *only* gluten free cookbook or BOOK of any type was one offered by Bette Hagman. Now, when I go peruse the cookbooks at Barnes or Borders, I am blown away by the number of gluten-free offerings available to us. They make it all look so easy. But I guarantee you, I would be lost with Bette.
The evening of my diagnosis, we poured over the recipes in that book. My husband was not as dumbfounded as was I about the different flours blends. (Growing up in Hong Kong and Chicago, one becomes much more familiar with a variety of ingredients compared to be raised in Minnesota and spending your summers in even MORE remote locations with a grocery store 35 miles from you.) He knew exactly where to buy everything. And, I dare say, he was also the first one to take her french bread recipe and give it a whirl.
Later, when we gained more confidence, we tried more recipes. We will *never* forget the BEAN BREAD INCIDENT. (Nor do I think will our apartment neighbors!) After carefully reading, reviewing, measuring, etc, we set up the bread machine to create our first electric-gluten-free loaf of bread AND our first anything with garfava flour. Hours later, while watching tv, a strange stank overtook us. I raced to the kitchen to see that our lovely bean bread had indeed risen… about 8 million times more than it should have … and was now a moltenous lava flow of beany-ness hitting the red hot burners of the bread machine and creating.. well.. creating aromatherapy that should NEVER have been approached without gas masks. Yeap. My neighbors loved us. And No. We have never cooked with bean flours again. I don’t imagine we will any time soon either.
Thank goodness there were – and are – a million other recipes by Bette for us to keep trying. She is amazing. A landmark. A true-kitchen-saviour. Sadly, word has spread across the delphiforums and Celiac listserv that Bette is ill. Here is the letter from GIG:
Dear gluten-free friends;
It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I share this news and ask for your support – one last time – for a dear, sweet lady – Bette Hagman.
Bette Hagman is seriously ill. She is trying to be strong by is weakening quickly by this illness.
We want Bette, the author of the Gluten Free Gourmet series of cookbooks, to know how much she has done to make a difference in the gluten-free diet by pioneering great tasting gluten-free foods.
Bette reads every card and note that comes to her. We want her to know she is not forgotten and her work is appreciated. Please consider sending your thoughts, emails and cards to Bette via the GIG office. We will deliver them to her daily. Please act now. Let her know how much we appreciate her.
Send your notes and cards to:
Or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line put: For Bette Hagman
You may also fax a note to: 253-833-6675
Please keep Bette and her daughter Karole in your thoughts and prayers.
Cynthia Kupper, RD, CD
Please take a minute to send your thanks and love from wherever you are. Email? Fax? Hand-written note? I’m sure Bette and her family will appreciate it. Besides, I’ve waited far too long for this thank you. She gave me back my life and joy in cooking and baking. I’ve waited far too long to thank her.
I’m off to write my letter. Hope you’ll do the same. =)