Croissant: (n) a rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll of leavened dough or puff paste.
For the sake of our little essay I shall refer to him as Martin.
This is not his real name, but perhaps if the actual individual reads this, he can come to the conclusion that he’s Martin. Then I can tell a story without people making fun of him personally.
Boy, was that a useless preamble.
So let’s pretend like I’m starting again.
Martin was the kind of guy who loved to come up with new things to try and insisted it was the cutting-edge practice from “the coast.” I was never sure whether he meant the East Coast, the West Coast or some other coast I might not be familiar with.
Many years ago, Martin arrived at a brunch we had put together.
(We did not call it brunch at that time because the word was not yet invented. We called it “late breakfast.”)
Martin arrived with a box—the kind you get at a bakery and usually has a cake in it. While we were laying out our eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, cereal boxes and a little fruit here and there, Martin exploded into the room and dropped his box on the table, pushing back a jar of homemade marmalade.
He turned to the gathered souls and said:
“Save your appetite! I have got the thing to eat today.”
Well, we were all a little suspicious. Martin was known for providing oddities and insisting they were delicacies. If you don’t know the difference, an oddity only becomes a delicacy if it tastes real good.
He was the first to bring jalapeno peppers—with no warning on how to survive them after consumption.
He brought calamari and waited until we had chewed on it for a while before revealing it was squid.
Of course, there was the time that he offered our first box of Muesli Cereal from “over there in the Scandinavian lands,” which we all tried.
We all resembled cows chewing their cud.
But on this day, his offering was a croissant, which he pronounced with as much of a phony French accent as he could muster. He told us that croissants were better than biscuits, superior to rolls, left toast in the dust and of course, forced cornbread back to the farm.
He brought enough for everyone, so we all indulged in our first croissants—which were scrumptious. (Well, some folks took a couple bites and reverted to their primordial biscuits.)
But they were flakey.
Not that different from Martin.
(And now I jest.)
Also, they were just chewy enough that they did a fairly decent impersonation of bagels (Martin’s contribution three months earlier).
I cannot lie:
We all felt a little continental eating our croissants, imagining the French people who may have made them.
Since that day, if offered toast, biscuit, bagel or croissant, I will tell you—bagel and croissant do top my list.
So even though I may have found Martin to be pretentious, overbearing, a bit self-righteous and a social bully, he did introduce me to things I might not have found as quickly on my own but have become intricate parts of my life.