counting chips with miss rumphius, tricia stohr-hunt

#22 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.

        photo by Cake Doctor.

Today we are counting our lucky stars because the one and only Miss Rumphius, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, is here! Quick, everybody sit up straight and pay attention (I hope you did your homework last night).

Have you been following her fabulous Poetry Maker Series this month? Wow — is all I can say! What an impressive collection of poet interviews, beautifully presented with sample poems and lots of handy links for further exploration. I’m convinced there must be at least two of her, to be able to keep up every day while maintaining her busy teaching schedule.

 photo by SLICE OF LIME.

Some of you may know that Tricia is quite the gourmet chef. During the Christmas holidays, she supposedly bakes dozens and dozens of cookies, something ridiculous like 20+ different varieties or something. I guess there must be two of her in the kitchen, too.

photo by

Today, Tricia has brought two kinds of cookies — chocolate chip (her poem) and raspberry crescents (her favorite recipe). Her poem says some interesting things about her grandmother and will definitely make you crave a warm cookie. Can you smell a batch baking right this second? Don’t you love biting into a buttery cookie with lots of melty chocolate chips? Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

 Tricia and her grandmother. © 2010 Tricia Stohr-Hunt

A Generous Baker 

I am a generous baker
My grandmother’s polar opposite
Once while reminiscing about her
Chocolate chip cookies with my great uncle
I called her a “stingy” baker
He called her frugal
I suppose anyone who raised a family
During the Depression would act so
But years later when there was money
Would it have hurt to splurge? 

I can still see her in the kitchen
The strings of her yellow flowered apron
Wrapped twice around her tiny waist
And tied in the front
Slowly folding in the contents
Stirring the dough into beautiful smoothness
Oh how I wanted a taste!
Just one finger lick
But no taste testing was allowed 

The magic ingredient–chocolate chips–
Sat in a small bowl off to the side
Almost an afterthought
Small dollops of dough were
Dropped on the cookie sheet
And three chips, no more, no less
Were placed in each cookie 

Whether driven by frugality or stinginess
They were a bittersweet childhood treat
We learned to eat carefully around the edges
And saved the sweetest bites for last 

I am a generous baker
Pouring the entire bag of chips
Into the dough
Ensuring every bite is filled
With chocolaty goodness
And not a hint of disappointment
I look heavenward each time I make them
And whisper apologies
To my grandmother

© 2010 Tricia Stohr-Hunt. All rights reserved.

photo by Stef Noble.

I love reading about this bit of family history. The “stinginess” Tricia speaks of characterizes many who experienced the Great Depression and widens the scope of her poem. I’m guessing many of you have similar stories. Len’s mom was very frugal, as was my aunt. If we happened to visit when she was baking, we weren’t allowed to taste any of the cookies on the cooling rack. Seems every one of them already had a designated eater.

Of all the cookies Tricia bakes, apparently Raspberry Crescents are her favorite. I just happen to LOVE raspberries, and can’t wait to bite into one of these divine, melt-in-your-mouth morsels.

Raspberry Crescents 


  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup raspberry preserves
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans
  • Sugar 


  • In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Beat egg yolk and sour cream and add to crumb mixture. Mix well.
  • Chill several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine preserves, coconut and pecans. Mix well and set aside.
  • Divide dough into fourths.
  • On a SUGARED surface (not floured), roll dough into a large circle (10-12 inches).
  • Turn dough over so sugar side is on top.
  • Spread preserve mixture over dough.
  • Cut dough into 12ths. Roll each triangle into a crescent shape, starting at the wide end.
  • Place points down about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Sprinkle tops with sugar.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
  • Remove immediately to cool. 
  • Makes about 4 dozen.

♥ Thanks so much, Tricia!

photo by nagehan2002.


Tricia Stohr-Hunt is a Professor of Education at the University of Richmond. In her official capacity as Department Chair, she’s known as Dr. Stohr, but to the Kidlit Blogging World, she’s known as Miss Rumphius, in reference to the main character in Barbara Cooney’s picture book, who aspires to make the world a more beautiful, albeit better, place. Tricia certainly achieves this on a daily basis with her highly regarded, authoritative blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect, which is a treasure trove of resources for teachers, students, librarians, or anyone who loves poetry and children’s literature in general.

Besides cooking, Tricia loves travel, science, math, Karmann Ghias, mah-jong, puzzles, and NPR. And the woman can sing! No shortage of talent or new adventures for this multi-tasking efficiency expert. Every week, Tricia hosts a “Poetry Stretch,” and yes, she’s also a Poetry Princess extraordinaire. It was fun meeting her at KidLitCon last year; I was happy to discover that in addition to being all-around brilliant, she’s really quite endearing. ☺ Poetry Makers is here; cool interview at 7-Imp here.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.