Friday, August 31, 2007


Well, he did it!

Gordon McLeod Jenkins, The Breadlesss Horseman, went for a little walk in Georgia on March 17, and by the time he finished on August 22, he had hiked all the way to Maine via the Appalachian Trail, with a side trip to the Big Apple!

What a great accomplishment—and what a great gesture to make the 2175-mile walk a fundraiser for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University!

Don't you think the effort deserves at least a $21.75 donation? I do!

Here's another hiker's virtual trip on the Appalachian less than 90 seconds!

Source (1:29)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm not just an admirer of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group (WCSSG)—I'm a member of the group, too.

WCSSG kicks off its 2007-2008 season from 2-4 pm on Sunday, September 16, 2007 with guest speaker Beth Hillson, founder of and President of the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

Try to get there on the early side, because the vendors include Joan's GF Great Bakes as well as Enjoy Life Foods, Maxwell's Kitchen, and WCSSG member Annalise Roberts with her cookbook Gluten-Free Baking Classics.

The meeting takes place at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center at 701 North Broadway at the intersection of Routes 9 and 117 in Sleepy Hollow, New York. You can get there by taxi from the Metro-North station in Tarrytown, but if you're reasonably fit you can also walk there (give yourself at least 45 minutes and check a map in advance) from the Philipse Manor Station.

In other news, the WCSSG-sponsored GFRAP restaurant Frascati now offers gluten-free pizza with crusts from Still Riding Pizza. There's a change in ownership at Frascati, but it looks like the restaurant will remain in GFRAP.

And, judging from the WCSSG member newsletter, it seems that one or two area restaurants will soon join the roster of GFRAP, which still welcomes volunteers. For volunteer information, contact area coordinator Liz Lebo.

Monday, August 27, 2007


The first time I ever had pumpkin soup was in 1982, soon after I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on tour with the Long Island Youth Orchestra. My host family welcomed me with a warm, soothing serving in a brown ceramic crock and left me with a memory I've long since associated with comfort and hospitality.

So as part of my effort to observe Seamaiden's blog event in honor of Bette Hagman, I was happy to try out the Gluten-Free Gourmet recipe for Pumpkin Soup. It's one of her simpler early recipes—basically calling for pumpkin, yam, and peanut butter(!)—so that helped, too. I made it even easier by (uncustomarily) taking some short cuts like using canned vegetables...and I think it still came out fine. I probably made a mistep by garnishing with dollops of yogurt instead of going with the suggested sour cream...and I think sour cream would've been more appropriate.

And now that I'm posting about this dish, I see that I didn't follow Seamaiden's guidelines to the letter, either. I didn't bake the soup, and I didn't take a picture of it with one or more flowers in the background. But I did dress it with a smile and googly eyes a la Amy Sedaris, which I hope is also in the spirit of the event.

So here's to Bette Hagman, with comforting thoughts for her loved ones.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

ADDENDUM Because I hadn't baked anything, I didn't feel I was worthy of Erin's lovely "Baked in honor of Bette Hagman" image, but since she was kind enough to urge me to include it anyway, here it is.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


A style newsflash from the Gluten-Free NYC Boutique: As you can see from this video, the practice of wearing one t-shirt at a time is now passé—the new fashion involves wearing many t-shirts at once!

Source (4:22)

Thursday, August 23, 2007


In her book The Gluten-Free Gourmet (1990), Bette Hagman wrote
Fifteen years ago, as a newly diagnosed celiac, I was embarrassed to ask questions that might send my waitress or waiter back to the kitchen several times, and as a result I often received food that I had to leave untouched. Now I ask. I explain the reason for the questions, and most serving people have been obliging, sometimes bringing the cook to the table or taking me to the cook. I give the restaurant four stars in my book when the cook understands and makes me a plate that looks great, tastes great, and is completely gluten free. And the cook gets five stars when others in the restaurant look at my plate and wonder where I found that on the menu.
In The Gluten-Free Gourmet, Bette Hagman also wrote this about the gluten-free diet:
I don't think of it as a diet for life, I consider it a prescription for living.
After Bette's death last week, her daughter Karol offered the following statement:
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.
To that end, Karol has asked that memorial donations be made to the American Celiac Disease Alliance, "the national federation serving, representing, and advocating on behalf of the entire celiac community." Donations can be made online; "Memorial Donation for Bette Hagman" should be entered into the Notes section. Those wishing to donate by mail may send contributions to
American Celiac Disease Alliance
c/o GIG
31214 - 124 Ave SE
Auburn WA 98092.
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.

Also in memory of Bette Hagman, Seamaiden of Book of Yum has started a tribute requesting that people prepare and photograph a Hagman dish for forwarding to Karol. And, over at LiveJournal, DeWinged Pixie encourages people to wear green or an otherwise appropriate article of clothing on Friday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Here's something that looks like a win-win proposition from Macy's and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness:
Shop for a Cause! Macy's has partnered with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to raise funds for awareness and research projects. And, it all involves shopping!

Donate $5 to NFCA and in exchange you'll receive a 20% off card from Macys that is valid on purchases on Saturday October 13. You'll be entered to win amazing prizes such as: a $500 gift card for Macys, home appliances, clothing and other incredible items. Click Here to join Shop for a Cause!
I did some calculatin' and found that you'd break even with a $25 purchase; after that, it's Macy's gravy. Not a bad deal, eh?

Thanks to Michael Thorn for the lead—now keep on spreading the word!

Monday, August 20, 2007


What an August this is turning out to be! Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run...Tom Glavine earned his 300th win...and the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group gained its 500th member!

Here's the announcement from Erin:
I am thrilled to announce that the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup group has just reached 500 members. (Welcome to Anthony D., our 500th member!) Our group has come a very long way since the beginning in October 2003. Since our inception, we have had more than 50 events in over 20 locations, posted over 1000 messages to our board, expanded to three organizers, and have had media coverage on many blogs and even a brief mention in the New York Times.

I want to personally thank you all for making our group the largest Celiac Disease Meetup group on the web. We are almost three times larger than the next biggest Celiac Meetup group! We also had the Jersey City Celiac Disease Meetup group spin off from our group thanks to our very enthusiastic group member Ben C. Our message boards have been more active and helpful than ever, thanks to your participation. I believe we have helped newly diagnosed Celiacs realize that they are not alone and their lives aren't over when being told to go gluten-free. We are very lucky to be living in or near New York City, which has so many restaurants and stores that can cater to a gluten-free diet. With our help, we can further educate the local restaurants we frequent in order to ensure a safe and healthy dining experience.
Congratulations to Erin and everyone else involved in the group for making it such a success!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


If you go to Risotteria today, stuff yourself while you can, and maybe buy some goodies to go, too: The restaurant will take a summer vacation from August 20 through August 28, when it will reopen for lunch at noon.

And take heart, breadstick fans: You can always try to make some yourselves using this recipe, though I note that one Jane Oswaks offered the following "correction" via the international celiac mailing list.
After experimenting with this recipe, as printed in the NY Times, I finally had success today! I doubled all of the ingredients, but left the water at 1 cup. Additionally, I proofed the yeast in the warm water with the sugar, then added it with the vinegar and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Perfection!! Depending on how long you make them, you'll get between a dozen (very long) to a dozen and a half. Here is the revised version.

Recipe: Risotteria's Gluten-Free Breadstick (Revised version)

1-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1-1/2 cup organic brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of dried herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Nonstick spray or vegetable oil, for greasing baking sheet and breadsticks
Fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl fitted with standard beaters (not a dough hook), rice flour, tapioca starch, dry milk powder, xanthan gum, gelatin powder, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and herbes de Provence. Mix on low speed to blend. Put yeast in 1 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees) and add sugar. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Add to dry ingrediets with olive oil and vinegar. Increase speed to high, and beat 6 minutes. (Dough will stay very soft and should not pull off sides of bowl; if necessary, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough does not resist beaters.)

2. Liberally spray or oil a baking sheet, and set aside. Put dough into a large pastry bag with a plain round 1/2 -inch tip, and pipe 12-18 breadsticks about 8 inches long, leaving about 2 inches in between. Spray or brush tops of breadsticks liberally with oil, and salt generously with fleur de sel.

3. Bake breadsticks 10 minutes, turn and spray or brush again with oil. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Serve warm.

Yield: 12-18 breadsticks.
And here's Puffy AmiYumi wishing the Risotteria folk a happy "V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N" (followed by "Puffy no Tourmen").

Source (6:15)

Friday, August 17, 2007


About six hours after I posted in this space, word came that Bette Hagman had passed away. Cynthia Kupper of the Gluten Intolerance Group wrote the following:
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.
Messages for Bette Hagman's daughter Karol can still be sent to any of the addresses listed below.

The work of gluten-free cookbook pioneer Bette Hagman (pictured in this article) has been celebrated by the CeliacChicks and Ellen Allard of I Am Gluten Free among countless others who have pored over her recipes and other writings over the years. Hagman's reach is far: A lecturer and longtime member of the Seattle-based Gluten Intolerance Group, she is also listed as a Contributing Editor of the Westchester-based magazine Gluten-Free Living.

If you have any favorite Bette Hagman recipes or anecdotes, this is a good time to share them with her, as per this letter from Cynthia Kupper of the Gluten Intolerance Group.
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:
Bette Hagman
c/o GIG
31214 - 124 Ave SE
Auburn WA 98092-3667
Or send an email to: 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
Executive Director
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
For related coverage, see Gluten Free Gobsmacked and Gluten-Free Fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Two recent items on Medscape underscore the value of sustained vigilance when it comes to identifying cases of celiac disease—even in people who have previously tested negative for the condition. And one of the articles can be viewed as also illustrating how symptoms that might be assumed to be reactions to "hidden" gluten by a gluten-free person with celiac disease might actually be due to another medical condition such as ulcerative colitis, with no "hidden" gluten involved.

A gluten-free diet can help protect people with celiac disease against cancer, according to an Italian paper, published in BioMedCentral Gastroenterology (September 2007) and available on Medscape, that encourages doctors of adults diagnosed with celiac disease to be on the lookout for tumors. So the nearly two million Americans estimated to have undiagnosed celiac disease may well be at an increasing risk for malignancies—especially gastro-intestinal cancer.

The study includes the following statements, verbatim:
  • Coeliac patients have an increased risk of developing cancer in relation to the age of diagnosis of CD. This risk results higher for malignancies of the gastro-intestinal sites. An accurate screening for tumors should be performed in patients diagnosed with CD in adulthood and in advancing age.

  • This paper confirms that the gluten-free diet is likely to protect from the development of malignancies in CD patients, since higher is the age at diagnosis of CD, higher is the risk of developing a malignancy, Therefore, the importance of a prompt diagnosis of CD is emphasized. Our data require to be confirmed by larger population based studies, but some implications for an accurate screening for cancers in people with CD are added.
  • Another recent Medscape item is a case study about a 65-year-old woman who tested negative for celiac disease and received a diagnosis of diverticulosis, then several years later tested positive for celiac disease and showed improvement on a gluten-free diet, then suffered diarrhea that eventually led to an additional diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.

    The case study—written by William Dickey, entitled "A Case of Sequential Development of Celiac Disease and Ulcerative Colitis," and published in Nature Clinical Practice: Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Volume 4, Number 8)—offers the following conclusions:
    Patients can develop, or present with, celiac disease at any stage in life. Previous negative test results do not preclude the diagnosis of celiac disease at a later date. The possibility of additional pathology should be considered, particularly in older patients whose symptoms fail to respond, or who later relapse, despite the exclusion of gluten from their diet. Diarrhea and anemia, in particular, should prompt colonoscopy. In patients with celiac disease there is an increased prevalence of not only microscopic colitis, but also ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
    The article advises that "Colonoscopy should, therefore, be part of the initial work-up in patients who are 40 years of age or older who present with iron-deficiency anemia or diarrhea, even if initial tests indicate celiac disease."

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007


    Please note that the screening information is VERY time sensitive!

    First- and second-degree relatives of people with celiac disease are at an above-average risk of having the condition themselves. The longer an undiagnosed person goes untreated, the more that person may be exposed to related health problems, some of them very serious.

    So it's good that the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University is offering family screening at Rye High School on Sunday, October 14, 2007 from 9 am to 5 pm. Registration is $25 per person and the following testing criteria must be met:
  • You must be on a regular gluten-containing diet for at least 60 days prior to testing.
  • You must be 6+ years old.
  • You must be a first- or second-degree relative of someone with celiac disease.
  • You must pre-register online before Monday, October 1, 2007 at (FYI, I don't think the pre-registration is up-and-running at the time of this post.)
  • The family screening is just one of several activities taking place at Rye High that day. The other big event is the Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease, which will raise money for the Celiac Disease Center. Pre-registration is $15 for each child 17 and under and $20 for each adult. You will receive a free t-shirt for registering for the walk by Monday, October 1, 2007.

    And that's not all! There will also be exhibits, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, a gluten-free vendor fair, and gluten-free lunch available for purchase.

    Sunday, August 12, 2007


    Let's pay a virtual visit to Bob's RedMill, which years ago responded to the needs of the gluten-free community by investing in a dedicated gluten-free facility. This video offers insight into how grains move from the field to the table. BREAKING: Bob's plant is expanding.

    Source (9:50)

    Friday, August 10, 2007


    What could be more uplifting than a balloon festival?

    How about a balloon festival plus the opportunity to raise money with the Suffolk County Celiacs?

    This weekend the Suffolk Country Celiacs, originators of Long Island's Gluten Free Vendor Fair, will get a percentage of the proceeds from a beverage concession it is operating at the 2007 Metro NY Balloon & Music Festival in Suffolk County.

    I understand there are plenty of volunteers for Saturday, but that some are still needed for Sunday. For more information about helping out, call Barbara at 631-553-9161.

    Here's some time-lapse video from a Reno balloon race back in 2006.

    Source (1:09)

    Thursday, August 09, 2007


    Ah, chain letters memes! Me? I' a fan?

    But sometimes I'm a soft touch, so I guess I'll grudgingly go along with Catherine of A Gluten-Free Guide (who's going along with Seamaiden of Book of Yum) and reveal 8 "random" facts about myself:
    1. I can balance a trombone on one finger.

    2. I delivered an editorial on Channel 11. And I was awful.

    3. I voted for Lloyd Bentsen but declined to shake his hand.

    4. I was on a winning adult spelling bee team—but I wasn't the best speller.

    5. One of the very first times I ever ate Chinese food was in China (pre-diagnosis).

    6. I've played in a brass quintet on a diving platform. (Almost everyone left during intermission.)

    7. I received an award for Architectural Merit in a sandwich creation contest celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Carnegie Hall (pre-diagnosis).

    8. I will not pass this along.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007


    The 6th Annual Celiac Disease Center Gala Reception to benefit the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, 2007 from 6:30-9:30 pm.

    The honorees include Elisabeth Hasselbeck (pictured), Prometheus Labs, and INOVA Diagnostics. Cocktails, supper, and dessert will be served at the Metropolitan Club (1 East 60th Street) in Manhattan.

    Tickets are $350. For more information, conduct Cynthia Beckmann at cb2280 @

    Sunday, August 05, 2007


    Erin at Gluten-Free Fun notes (with a good measure of excitement) that the Food Network's Unwrapped will air an episode featuring Enjoy Life foods at the following times:
    Monday August 6 9 pm Eastern
    Tuesday August 7 12 noon Eastern
    Friday August 17 at 11:30 pm Eastern
    Saturday August 18 2:30 am Eastern

    Photo: David Marc Fischer

    Friday, August 03, 2007


    Friendly vlogger Megan (a.k.a. jewelchic) from Melbourne suffered from fatigue, canker sores, and severe weight loss before she got her celiac (a.k.a. coeliac) diagnosis and went gluten-free. She was tested after her mother had gotten a diagnosis a year earlier.

    Until I watched this video I hadn't realized that the popular Australian spread Vegemite is forbidden on a gluten-free diet.

    Source (4:07)

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007


    The market for gluten-free food is booming...the challenge is to improve taste, texture, and shelf life...and the FDA has received 700 comments on its proposed rule about defining "gluten-free."

    Those are highlights of this news release from the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT), "a not-for-profit international scientific society with 22,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in industry, academia and government" that is meeting this week in Chicago.
    Newswise — An estimated 2 million Americans are afflicted with celiac disease, an intolerance for food containing wheat, and the market for gluten-free products is booming even while food companies and researchers have yet to fully solve their greatest challenge—making products taste good.

    “There is clearly a market opportunity for gluten-free foods,” said Jodi Engelson, a senior research scientist at Cargill and speaking here at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo. “For the patients who suffer, the diagnosis rate is increasing. In response to this, we have witnessed over a 100 percent increase in gluten-free products over the last seven years.”

    Yet taste—or more specifically, good taste—is an issue.

    Wheat is more easily replaced in products like sauces, but more difficult in baked goods like bread and cookies. The products suffer in terms of texture and shelf life.

    “That’s the real challenge for a product development person,” Engelson said.

    Ranjit Kadan, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the gluten-free market is the fastest growing segment of health food products in the country. Where the market was estimated at $210 million in 2001, it is close to $700 million today. It’s projected to be $1.7 billion by 2010.

    The demand for wheat-free products has grown as the number of people with celiac disease has risen

    “Until recently, we thought it was a rare disease,” said Kadan, “But that’s not so. In 2003, we found that 1 out of 133 in the U.S. had it.”

    Congress has mandated the Food and Drug Administration define gluten-free products by 2008. Currently, there is no standard, and products may claim food is gluten-free if it has no gluten, if it has a limited amount of gluten, or if it never had gluten.

    “So far, we’ve received over 700 comments to the proposed rule,” said Geraldine June, an FDA official.

    Now in its 67th year, the IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo is the world’s largest annual scientific forum and exposition on food. Ranked among the largest U.S. conventions, the meeting delivers comprehensive, cutting-edge research and opinion from food science-, technology-, marketing- and business-leaders.

    Concluding Tuesday, the IFT annual meeting precedes Wednesday’s IFT Global Food Safety & Quality conference, and the IFT Food Nanotechnology conference.

    Founded in 1939, and with world headquarters in Chicago, IFT is a not-for-profit international scientific society with 22,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in industry, academia and government. As the society for food science and technology, IFT brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues. For more on IFT, see
    Mulling this over, I kinda wish that improving nutritional content had also been mentioned as an important goal.