Thursday, January 22, 2009

Famous Gluten-Free / Celiac - Sarah Vowell

My wife and I quickly met Sarah Vowell, of NPR (National Public Radio) fame, last year when she was in Cleveland doing a book-release tour; November 16th, 2008 to be exact (this demonstrates how far behind I am in my pile of blog topics). Miss Vowell, like many of the readers of the Gluten-Free Blog, suffers from Celiac Sprue and must avoid all gluten. She is an accomplished author, commentator, humorist, journalist, and perhaps what many of the younger crowd will know her as: the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

Now, I happened to know that she was one of the more famous Celiac Disease sufferers before we went to her book tour event, and we prepared accordingly. My wife and I took a copy of our book, Gluten-Free & Wheat Free Gourmet Desserts, with us to the event in hopes of having a chance to give it to Miss Vowell - from one gluten-free author to another as it would be. And, we were able to do just that when there was a book-signing period after her reading presentation and Q&A with the audience.

We got in line, and waited our turn to meet her, and then we presented her with a copy of our book, and asked her to sign a copy of her own book "The Partly Cloudy Patriot" in such a way she smiled immediately: "to her gluten-free fans" was our request :)

We were surprised when she took a quick aside from signing books
and spent a moment to leaf through our cookbook and comment on how good some of the desserts looked, and asked us what our own favorites were, and she then proceeded to ask about whether we had any good recipes that featured pumpkin (given the time of the year then, this inquiry was timely and fitting with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the like - though, I am up for pumpkin *any* time of year).

Since there were other people still in line behind us waiting to get their own Sarah Vowell book copies signed, we tried not to take up too much time, but just enough to quickly exchange a few thoughts with the most famous gluten-free person we have met in person (or, at least as far as we know).

Sarah Vowell contact information (e.g., direct email, phone number, address) was rather difficult to come by (or, impossible as it was), so the only way to meet her was to be sure we crossed paths at one of her book tours. And, because of this, needless to say, I have no way to know whether Sarah Vowell, or her sister / relatives (who also have Celiac Disease), were able to find time to bake any of the desserts, and to hear what she thought of them if they had baked any. And, I didn't have any way to forward her a link to some nice gluten-free recipes featuring pumpkin, as I have featured on this Blog before. Oh well. I can just hope she and her family have gotten use out of the book and enjoyed it, as I enjoyed her book.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to always find "Safe" (gluten-free) and desirable foods when traveling all over the country doing research for her various books and holding public appearance events everywhere. Most of us only have to locate a few local restaurants or suppliers for our times of eating away from home, but can you imagine always having to scout-out good gluten-free / wheat-free diet places in areas of the country completey unknown to you? I know from some prior vacations, this is a challenge, and my vacations are certainly infrequent compared to the travel of a famed author and journalist.


Lynn Barry said...

Sounds like you had an awesome experience and got a good book to read...GREAT! :) HUGS

Sandrabag said...

I didn't know she had Celiac - we have followed her career for years.

We loved "Assassination Vacation" and my daughter will love knowing "Violet" from "The Incredibles" also has Celiac.

I am enjoying your blog - thank you.

Anonymous said...

Does she have toe fungus too, by any chance?

Sara Vowell is the living personification of the concept of free speech going too far. It's the height of inconvenience (and a truth at that, h'yeck, h'yeck), that we love her hatred, but would hate the love of a Charles Coughlin. Vowell represents that tiny, Sarandon-y group of extremists in our nation who influence the hordes of apathetic masses via cheekiness and Bennington freshman rhetoric.

I think she is vile. I think she is dangerous. And, if she ever comes to my home town, I'm running at her full tilt, with an angelfood cake in each hand.

Good evening. God Bless You.

Mike Eberhart said...


Wow, it sure sounds like you have a bit of anti-Sarah-Vowell sentiment running through you. But, thanks to FREE SPEECH, I decided to let your own comment through even though, *I* could censor your remarks as "free speech gone too far" using the same application of logic you do. Since this is a blog for Celiacs and Gltuen-Free readers, I do not want to get into a protracted discussion about free-speech here though.

Sorry, but not everyone is liked by everyone else. The discussion about Sarah was simply one regarding the fact she suffers from a condition our readers have. Sarah Vowell is as entitled as anyone else - including you - to speak her mind. The end.