The story you know about about the croissant is a lie.
But the croissant’s contentiousness isn’t limited to its origin story. For almost as long as this pastry has existed, people have been arguing about how to make it, what shape it should be, and whether its crunchy quiddity has been dented by the variety of bastards, imitators and parallel evolutions that have grown around it. As recently as 2017, a baker from Nice was reported as launching a “crusade” to save the “genuine” croissant from extinction, with the aggressor this time not the subterraneous Ottoman but the industrial processes that (he claimed) accounted for some three-quarters of France’s croissant consumption. The mass cultural apoplexy in 2013 around the introduction of the cronut by Dominique Answel, a baker from New York, meanwhile, pretty much speaks for itself. The cronut is a croissant/doughnut hybrid (just as its cousin, the cruffin, is what happens when daddy croissant and mummy muffin love each other very much) and, as lines formed around the block at Ansel’s bakery and new portmanteau imitators sprung up (“doissant”, “fauxnut” etc), it became clear that it was very hot property indeed. My favourite headline from the whole sorry media debacle is probably “People Are Now Exchanging Cronuts For Sex On Craigslist”, but it’s a wide and compelling field.