As most you already know, word was spread through the Celiac listserv and Delphiforums that Bette was ill and then sadly, the following day, we received word that she had passed on.
Most of us in the gluten-free community have much to thank Bette for. I mentioned in my post that she was literally *the* source of information for my love and I about the gluten free diet in book form. Having been diagnosed seven years ago and having witnessed the amazing speed at which the eating-options have become available to me in local markets, etc, I cannot imagine what life was like for Bette when she was diagnosed in the early 1970s. Really. Good lord! Those of us who wonder now where to find things (my latest gripe: I cannot locate pure, unadulterate millet flakes) like rice flour, etc.
I know that where I grew up (Minnesota) and spent my summers (“Up North” aka Northern Minnesota) that the idea of shopping for rice flour would have been absurd. Thank god for those who have gone before us and opened the doors – and market aisles – to us and our eating. I can now shop for all of my needs there – and MORE. I know that in no small part these strides are made by all of us asking, begging, and pursuing grocery managers until they know us on sight. Gluten free, right? Yes, yes, YES!
Ah.. but I ramble and digress. I have obviously been struggling with the words to express my gratitude. Thankfully, where words fail, Seamaiden has stepped in with brilliance. She has a great idea for a Blogger-Event – BUT you don’t have to be a blogger to participate!
Here are the details (Sea.. I hope you don’t mind the cut/paste):
“I would like to propose over the next two weeks from August 20th to September 3rd that we all bake something from one of Bette Hagman’s cookbooks, and take a really beautiful photo of the baked good that we produce. I would like to think of each photo as a flower bouquet honoring Bette Hagman, and so include at least one beautiful flower (and possibly a flower bouquet) in the background of your photo or placed on the baked good like the photo I posted here.“
Brilliant, right? Told ya.
Jump on in, people! Let’s do it!
Please let Seamaiden know you are in too! Send her a note on the post she wrote!
Just yesterday I received word that that Bette was ill. See here for that post.
Sadly today the news was worse.
Below is the most recent message from Cynthia Kupper from GIG:
It is with great sadness that I inform you that Bette Hagman passed away quietly this afternoon at home. I took her nearly a hundred good wishes messages yesterday. She was pleased to get them and she and the caregiver were reading them before I left. They brought smiles and tears to her. They were exactly what she needed. Any messages that continue to come in will be given to her daughter.
Thank you all for your kindness and support for Bette. I know both she and her daughter appreciated it very much. Bette inspired and helped more people than she will ever know. We will miss her.
At this time, we do not have further information.
Cynthia Kupper, RD, CD
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
31214 124th Avenue SE
Auburn, WA 98092-3667
Phone: 253-833-6655, Fax: 253-833-6675
If you have you have not yet had the chance to send along your thanks for her pioneering efforts in gluten free baking and living, I’m sure her family would be happy to receive them. You can send them to Cynthia and GIG at the above address for delivery.
All of my deepest sympathies go out to Bette’s family and friends.
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:
31214 – 124 Ave SE
Auburn, WA 98092-3667
Or send an email to: email@example.com. 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
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America®
31214 – 124 Ave SE,
Auburn, WA 98092-3667
Phone: 253-833-6655 Fax: 253-833-6675
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. =)