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20 August 2007

so much goodness given

gluten-free waffle

The Monday post I had planned for today will silently slide into tomorrow, instead.

Tonight, I simply have to share this.

"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."

Cynthia Kupper, RD, CD
Executive Director
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America®

For those of you who don't know, Bette Hagman wrote a series of books called The Gluten-Free Gourmet. Long before there were gluten-free blogs, gluten-free cookies available at coffee shops, or articles about living gluten-free in The New York Times, Bette Hagman worked away in her home, trying to create recipes for those of us who cannot eat gluten. When she began, several decades ago, she must have felt like the lone voice in the desert.

I have to be honest: I don't often use Ms. Hagman's recipes. Times have changed, and so have the ingredients. But I did hope that, someday on this journey of mine, I could meet her.

You see, without the work she did, and the books she wrote, I would not be able to walk into a mainstream grocery store in Seattle and buy a pre-made mix for gluten-free waffles (which is how I was able to take the photograph above).

And so I wanted to use this space to say the only thing I would have said to Bette Hagman, had I been able to meet her:

thank you.


At 12:21 AM, Blogger Kate said...

Shauna -
I hope you will join us in honoring Bette with baking =).

Seamaiden (from BookofYum) has a brilliant idea for a blog event.

I completely agree. We are forever indebted to those who have pioneered before us. Bette Hagman most certainly did that.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Heather said...

So, so sad. I learned to cook and bake gluten-free from her books. I have almost a complete collection. (It helped that I worked for her publisher.)

Has anyone seen an official obituary? How old was she?

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Larc said...

We were sad to hear this as well - I think hers were our first GF cookbooks. We have QUITE a collection now, but hers are still thumbed through quite often. So sad to hear of her passing.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger MaggieNo said...

Not only was Bette a pioneer, she was wonderful for putting some rigor into the approach of someone needed to tackle the gluten-free world of eating with more confidence. Bette's classes were direct and no-nonsense, an invaluable for driving out illusions of the challenges ahead when baking gluten-free. I really appreciated the strength she gave us.

I am sad to hear of her death and grateful for all her efforts!

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her books helped me comprehend gluten free living. I'm quite sad to hear this news. How did she die?

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been gluten-free for years. And I never bothered trying recipes like breads, cookies and cakes; until I started reading your blog.
This last weekend I bought my first gluten-free cookbook and it happened to be Bette's. I'm sorry she's gone, but thankful for the work she put into her books.
And I'm thankful for the work you put into your blog, Shauna. Thanks...

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She wrote the equivalent of the "Joy of Cooking" for the gluten free world. I may not cook from it every day now, but it's a valuable reference and I have great respect for her energy and thoroughness. When I needed a gluten free sponge cake recipe for my buche de noel, it was Bette I turned to and she did not fail me! Perhaps, Shauna, you'll be writing the next comprehensive gluten free cookbook....

At 10:19 PM, Blogger ZM said...

When the Toddles had his allergic reaction to wheat, a friend quietly lent me her copy of the Gluten-Free Gourmet, and never asked for it back. Bette Hagman gave me a wonderful kickstart when we lost wheat (and, a week later, oats, rye, corn, spelt and barley). She was a treasure.


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