The two cookbooks that I rely on and take great delight in are Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Comfort Food and The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread, both by Bette Hagman. When I was diagnosed with Celiac disease three years ago I was devastated to learn that because of my genetically-inherited gluten intolerance I would have to change my diet immediately to remove all wheat, rye and barley products. My favorite foods were pasta, bread, cakes and cookies. I thought I would never enjoy a meal again. Bette Hagman's cookbooks gave me hope. She patiently taught me about alternate flours from rice, corn, potato, tapioca and beans. She tutored me in the importance of egg whites, xanthan gum and precise mixing techniques that make it possible for me to make all of my old favorite foods and discover many new ones. Without those cookbooks I would be much hungrier and drearier. I learned last week that she was ill and today I heard that she past away on August 17.
In honor of all she gave us with her pioneering spirit determined to perfect delicious gluten free baking and cooking, Seamaiden at the blog Book of Yum is hosting a blog memorial event. She says,
"Bette Hagman, a pioneer of Gluten Free baking and the author of the “Gluten Free Gourmet” cookbooks passed away around the 17th of August. Bette Hagman was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a disease requiring a gluten free diet free of wheat, rye, oats and barley, more than twenty-five years ago. She wrote six cookbooks, each offering a multitude of delicious wheat- and gluten-free recipes—what she called a “prescription for living.” She was a writer, lecturer, and twenty-five-year member of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and lived in Seattle and transformed the diets of many of us who are gluten intolerant.
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. Post your photo on your blog along with a short (one or two line) note on the impact Bette Hagman had on your life and comment here with the link or email it to me. Please download the “Baked in Honor” tag and post it along with your post. If you feel comfortable doing so, include a wallet sized photograph of yourself in the post or email. If you don’t have a blog, that’s ok, just send me the photo(s) and your message. Please size your photo to be about the same size as the photo posted here. I will personally take these photos to Kinkos, create a poster/card of some kind with the images and our personal messages, and mail them to the Gluten Intolerance Group, in care of Cynthia Kupper, so that she may deliver the card to Bette’s daughter. I will also do a roundup on this site with all the photos. I would really love for Bette Hagman’s family to know how many of our lives Bette touched with her cookbooks. Please help me make this event a wonderful success for a wonderful lady, Bette Hagman, the one and only true Gluten Free Gourmet."
One of the foods that I miss the most is bread. I love, love, love a good ham and cheese sandwich. I could weep over a roll with mustard, mayo, cracked pepper deli ham, provolone, garden fresh basil and just picked tomatoes. This is what I had for lunch today, with just-out-of-the-oven Bette Hagman gluten free French bread rolls. Ms. Hagman I can not tell you the joy you bring me. Thank you for your life's work. God Bless you and may the Spirit comfort your family.