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Is a Square Croissant Still a Croissant?

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Last week, British grocery giant Tesco made the French scream "Mais, non!" by rejecting traditional curved croissants, announcing that they would sell straight ones instead.

Homemade Croissants
Homemade Croissants

The reasoning is hilariously practical. Buyer Harry Jones explained:

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[It’s] easier to spread jam, or [a] preferred filling, on a straighter shape with a single sweeping motion. With the crescent-shaped croissants […] people can take up to three attempts to achieve perfect coverage, which increases the potential for accidents.

Um, okay. Except the word “croissant” literally translates to “crescent,” and I’m pretty sure centuries of French pastry chefs weren’t looking for a corporate intervention to make their product more user-friendly. But for all you out there struggling with your butter-knife skills, Tesco is here for you!

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Which got me thinking: To what extent are baked goods defined by their structural integrity?

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A pretzel without the twist is just a breadstick. The civilized world would likely unravel without different words for pie, tart, galette, and crostata. And while cupcakes, bite for bite, have a terrible frosting-to-cake ratio, layer that frosting in the middle and you might as well just make a whoopie pie. A cupcake by any other shape might taste as sweet… but would it still be a "cupcake"?

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And while I do own a doughnut pan, I don’t really consider things I bake in it to be “doughnuts.” In my mind, it's more important that a doughnut is “fried” rather than round and with a hole in the middle. Doughnut-pan creations are just doughnut-shaped muffins—often tasty and cute, but doughnuts? Nope. And plenty of popular doughnut-shop orders aren’t perfectly ring-shaped (I see you, maple bars and apple fritters) but are still very much doughnuts.

So what do you think? Is this a crime against pastry, or a welcome upgrade? And which baked good would you make over if given the chance?

Tags: croissants, pastry, fun