Making Margaret Parra’s Cherry Tarts

From the very beginning of Sudbury Valley, cooking has been an activity enjoyed by many members of the community. The people working in the kitchen always have great fun, mixing ingredients, making messes, tasting, joking, and hanging out together.

Margaret Parra, who was one of the founders of the school, was a great cook. Being with her in the kitchen was always a lot of fun. While the cooking itself was serious business, she was always telling stories about her adventures all over the world as a naval officer’s wife, as well as telling hilarious jokes from a seemingly endless repertoire. All the students loved her and her cooking. Our Press has even published a cookbook with her recipes, available through the bookstore on our website. cherry-tarts059

Today Lauren and Kelly made cherry tarts, one of Margaret’s all-time favorites, with eleven students. They worked from 11:00 to 2:00, making some two hundred tarts and three pies. It actually is a lot of work, but it is enjoyable work. There is melting the butter, crushing Graham crackers into crumbs, blending eggs and cream cheese in the mixer, and assembling it all in baking pans. When the tarts cool off after baking, cherry topping is applied to each one. The result was a delicious dessert which people of all ages seemed to love.

All the work was worth it because the atmosphere in the kitchen was serene, pleasant and harmonious – remarkable when you realize that so many people were working in the kitchen. And that’s what I love most of all about Sudbury Valley: the joy people have every day, in so many activities!

The views expressed on this page are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Sudbury Valley School.