Wendish Comfort Food: Kaffee Kuchen

[imgbelt img=serbinstreusel530.jpg]What food says “welcome” in your town? In Lee County, Texas, it’s coffee
cake — just the thing for breakfast, as a snack, or after long a
Trans-Atlantic crossing.


is coffee cake.

The families of Serbin, in Lee County, chose to press that point sweetly home with a coffee cake bake-off held annually during the fall Wendish Heritage Festival. This is a homecoming for the Dubes, Kokels, Lehmanns, Mikans, and others descended from the brave immigrants who sailed with their Lutheran pastor from Eastern Germany to Galveston, arriving in this part of Texas in 1854.

Dianne Hannusch Wassenich, who was in charge of this year’s contest, September 25, bustled at an outdoor pavilion checking in the big trays of breads laden with fruit slices and cheese, or drizzled with icing. “We’re trying to get the older ladies to make ‘em, make sure their families know what they are, pass on their recipes,” Wassenich said.

The Wends, a Slavic people with their own language, faced discrimination in Germany. When the Prussian king required that all Protestants join one national sect, they refused to moderate their strict Lutheran worship, and some 600 left under the leadership of Rev. Jan Kilian. Many died of cholera and yellow fever on the voyage to Liverpool, England, to Queensland, Ireland, and then across the Atlantic.

If ever a people needed comfort food!