Bette Hagman: from the Seattle Times 9/16

Hagman, Bette Bush – Click here to sign the obituary guest book
Bette Bush HAGMAN, a.k.a., The Gluten-Free Gourmet Age 85, passed away peacefully on August 17, 2007 at her home in Seattle with her daughter, Karol, by her side. Bette was diagnosed with celiac disease, an intolerance to wheat, barley and rye, when she was around the age of 50. From that point forward, she dedicated herself to improving the quality of life for celiac sufferers worldwide. She was a self-taught food scientist who revolutionized gluten-free cooking by developing a number of non-gluten flour blends that replace wheat flour and dramatically expand the number of tasty foods that celiacs could prepare. Bette was an author, a teacher of writing, and a lecturer, speaking throughout the United States and Canada. Bette authored six cookbooks as Bette Hagman, a.k.a., The Gluten-Free Gourmet, and was in the middle of writing her seventh book when she passed away. Bette was a member of, and very involved with, The Writers Guild, Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, Puget Sound Sisters in Crime, and the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for many years. The celiac community will dearly miss Bette for her energy and passion in helping to improve the lives of people with gluten intolerances through developing good tasting foods. Bette was born in Portland, Oregon, graduated from Estacadia High School at 16, and entered Linfield College, where she met Joe, her husband of 65 years. Bette spent her adult life in Seattle enjoying waterskiing, snowskiing, and golfing, as well as exploring the world on tours and cruises with her family and friends. She dearly loved the family vacation home on Stretch Island where the tranquil country setting invigorated the author in her and fostered her love of gardening. She is survived by her daughter, Karol, sister, Eva Jean, two step great-granddaughters, and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. A Celebration of her Life will be held on Sunday, October 21, 2007. If you wish to attend, please contact Gluten Intolerance Group of North America at 253 833-6655 or In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Celiac Disease Alliance, ACDA, (Please annotate on the check, “In memory of Bette Hagman.”) Mail to: ACDA, c/o Gluten Intolerance Group of America, 31214 124th Ave SE, Auburn, WA 98092.
Published in print on 9/16/2007.

GF Breadsticks: Baking for Bette



I’ve been thinking about it. Maybe I should have called this post “Baking for Hagrid, umm… I mean, Hagman”. Not because Ms. Hagman resembled Hagrid at all, but because I made these yummy bread sticks large enough to feed a GIANT! They are humungous!

Let me be honest. I don’t bake much from Hagman’s recipe books any more. However, now that I have taste-tested this bread stick recipe again, I think it might have to make itself back in to my rotation of things.

I realized today that there are many things for which I am thankful in regards to Bette’s pioneering with gluten free baking. First, I have the *option* of not baking with her million mixes thanks to her experimentation with different flours AND really because of the same mixes of flours that drive me wild. I know that the different ratios I try out and the different flours that are available to me now were not available to Ms. Hagman when she was first diagnosed. It’s amazing, really.

While I was baking, I began a zillion other little projects. I had to refill the tapioca starch container. This meant digging through the recent purchase to find the tapioca starch bags. That, of course, helped me run in to the cornstarch that I bought to refill that container, and the brown sugar, and the powdered sugar, and … well… the list goes on.

I marveled at the fact that I used to have a walk in pantry in my old apartment in Chicago and despite that fact that we live in a house now, the storage space seems remarkably absent. Especially in the kitchen. Well wait, especially in a Celiac/Gluten-free kitchen. Good lord. Forty-five minutes later, I resumed my flour mixing for the bread sticks. ; ) However, then I had to go off in search of things that I have rarely used (egg replacer and dough enhancer). My goodness! No wonder Celiacs I’ve met who were diagnosed a long time ago just don’t eat baked goods! (A colleague’s wife falls in to this category. She literally eats salads, fruits, veggies, and naked chicken. Yummy. LOL)

I don’t think I can post Bette’s recipe here (for those of you wondering). I got it out of the “Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread” book. Safe to say, these bread sticks are a tad way larger than Bette intended. I followed her recipe (as a means to honoring her) and snipped the tip of my baggie. Then I filled the baggie and began to walk to the pans where I was to squeeze out some delicate bread sticks that measured 1/2″ by 4″.

Um. Yeah. Didn’t happen that way. When I got over to the silpat covered pans (a deviation from Hagman’s recipe), I started to squeeze my baggie when I realized that my “snip” was more of a “whack” and I would be creating Hagrid-sized breadsticks. My breadsticks were about 1″ wide and 8 ” long. (This increased the baking time by almost double. Her recipe calls for 10 minutes of baking. I think mine took more like 18.)

While I wondered just how MUCH these bad boys were gonna rise (2 T of yeast!!!), I decided to do myself a favor and flavor these guys up a bit. I brushed the tops with melted butter and then sprinkled two of each with different toppings. I used sea salt/kosher salt, dried garlic/onion mix, toasted sesame seeds, rosemary/tarragon blend, etc.

Taking the nicely browned bread sticks out of the oven quickly transported me back to college when we would order “bread sticks” with our pizza. It was really just pizza dough in blob form and coated with garlic. We would dip these delights in pizza sauce. Not so nutritional, but made for a cheap college meal. (My college had no meal service on Sunday nights. This was a regular menu item.) Thankfully, I had about 1/3 cup pizza sauce in a Tupperware container in the fridge. (I wonder what I was saving that for….) Oh yea! Delish!

Warm breadsticks? YUM! My love and I ate them tonight with our grilled chicken with pepper salsa and garlic rice. Yea. Too many starches for a meal. But, come on! Warm bread sticks? Let me see you resist!

Thank you, Bette, for making my life easier. Thank you encouraging all of us to get in the kitchen and try things. Thank you for all of your experiments, recipes, and teachings. You built a great foundation. Now, let’s raise the stakes, people! Let’s really get Gourmet with our Gluten-Free.

This post is in Honor of Bette Hagman and all of her pioneering with gluten free cooking.
Please feel free to join in and Bake for Bette too.
Seamaiden ( is the Blog Event Sponsor.
Please link back to her in your post or send your pictures to her (if you don’t blog).
Thank you.


Click here for the Round-Up post from this baking event. 



A Note From Bette Hagman’s Daughter

This note was received from Cynthia Kupper (GIG) from Bette Hagman‘s daughter. I wanted to pass on her note as well as remind all of you to take part in Seamaiden’s Blog Event in Bette’s honor.

Here’s the note from Cynthia:



Bette Hagman’s daughter has asked me to make the following post:


Bette embraced everyone. She believed so much in us working together and spoke often about how to make that happen. She wanted to see cohesiveness amongst the groups. She understood the power in a single voice.

She envisioned the strength and good that could come from working together. In honor of Bette’s dream of a community working together, Bette’s daughter has asked that memorial donations be made to the:




American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA).

Donations can be made online at

Please put ‘Memorial Donation for Bette Hagman’ in the Notes section.



If you wish to donate by mail, you can send your donation to:



American Celiac Disease Alliance,

c/o GIG

31214 – 124 Ave SE

Auburn, WA 98092-3667



All donations will support the efforts of the ACDA in representing a unified voice for the celiac community.

All donations are tax-deductible. ACDA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.


A memorial service will be held in a few weeks at Bette’s home.


You may send cards and emails to Karol Mehan, Bette’s daughter, through the GIG office.


Once again, I can’t thank the Celiac community enough for all your support of this very special lady.



Cynthia Kupper, RD, CD

Executive Director

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America®

Phone: 253-833-6655 Fax: 253-833-6675

A Call to Honor Bette Hagman: Blog Event

Seamaiden is brilliant. Not only as a GF baking-whiz, but also as the genius behind this call to honor Bette Hagman.

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!

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