As we travel the back roads for Texas Country Reporter, roaming from town to town, I find myself thinking about the beginnings of some of those settlements.
Why here? How did they come up with that name for this place? Who were the first settlers?
Answering these questions can lead me down winding paths to find a story, and that’s what happened when I drifted through the tiny town of Serbin.
Serbin isn’t really a town at all but an unincorporated community, founded in the mid-1850s when a small sect of people known as Sorbs or Wends (depending on whom you ask) left Germany to avoid persecution.
Today, the Serbin population has dwindled, but once a year, the settlers’ descendants gather to celebrate their heritage during the Wendish Fest. It’s filled with music, games, and tours of the old Lutheran Church—a colorful, painted chapel that Lyle Lovett once called his favorite place in Texas. But the thing that attracted us to the festival in 2015 was the authentic Wendish noodles made by “the Noodle Lady,” 88-year-old Hattie Schautschick.
As you’ll see in one of my favorite episodes, we learned a lot about the Wends that day and a lot about noodle-making from Hattie, who has since passed away. But most of all, we learned that noodles are no laughing matter. They take them very seriously in Serbin.