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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Siberian Lunch Party

New Harmony is a setting for celebrations. To beat the Winter blahs, a Siberian Lunch Party was held outside, in a grass Labyrinth, under thick snow Feb. 7. A table for 13 was set, covered in lustrous silk Turkoman carpets, English silver, Spode china, a bronze samovar (a Russian urn with a spigot), and a Russian Empire gilt crystal decanter and glasses, all awash in colorful fabrics.

This loose conglomerate of food lovers called the Albatross Society is composed of artists, poets, musicians, and others living in New Harmony. “We’re a network of radical makers of all things relevant and interesting in utopia,” says Owen Lewis, a descendant of New Harmony founder Robert Owen.

The goal of the group is to identify ways of improving the town’s quality of life. To help accomplish this goal, the society makes sure everything at their get-togethers is homemade and all ingredients come to the kitchen from within 15 miles of New Harmony, except for exotic meat.

Members of the society decided to hold the impromptu party to celebrate their Russian heritage, says Lewis.

With 24 hours notice, the group got into gear and cooked Ukrainian borscht soup, elk bourguignon stew (simmered in a full bottle of wine), roast loin of venison, oak-grilled chickens, lamb’s liver pâté, hot loaves of bread, piquant cabbage with homemade pickles, and plenty of steaming potatoes. A huge cheesecake, with summer-gathered strawberry syrup, was made from scratch.

The society, which formed this winter, is open to those radical intellectuals who don’t take life too seriously, says Lewis. The group discusses what utopia means to them and plans events throughout the year.

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