How to Eat a Croissant

How to Eat a Croissant

Our farmer’s market features several bakers, one of whom has quite taken the market crowd by storm, famous for several of her creations.

One day she started making croissants, which Sébastien immediately bought.

Always on the lookout for a decent croissant, French people in exile in these culinary hinterlands we call the U.S.

“Do you know how to eat a croissant properly?” the kindly bakerly lady (she just LOOKS bakerly, you know what I mean) asked him.

Sébastien blinked. He gets these taken-aback moments, you know, when people try to tell him how to do French things while not realizing he is French. It happens with surprising frequency. It’s quite interesting; I don’t think other cultures encounter this as much. I believe there is a strong desire to master Frenchness running through quite a few people in the US and possibly elsewhere, stronger, say, than the desire to master Russian-ness or Italian-ness or even our ever-popular Irish-ness.

“You take the little end and unroll it,” the kindly bakerly lady said, her eyes all sparkling. “You unroll it all the way out and then you eat it.”

Sébastien blinked again. His eyes squinted up. He almost said something. Then he abandoned the impulse. You can’t tell a kindly baker with sparkling happy eyes who is lecturing you on the way to eat your culture’s most emblematic food that she is totally wrong, can you? He’s so cute when he hits these moments, honestly. He’s so sweet to people.

“Most people don’t know that,” she said happily, not realizing most people don’t know that because that’s not how you eat a croissant. “But that’s the way you do it. It’s fun to play with.”

(Note: Don’t play with croissants! That’s almost as bad as playing with BREAD. Le pain, ça se respecte. Le croissant, too.)

So Sébastien never said a word and we went to the park, where he ate his kind-of-croissant (without unrolling it) and sighed.

He really misses Parisian bakeries, pretty nearly every day.


  • I did not know that, cool !!!! Clarice

    October 23, 2007 at 3:36 pm
  • Unroll a croissant? Why on earth would one even want to unroll a croissant? Wouldn’t that be terribly messy? All that flaky goodness falling all over the place? Who would have the patience to unroll a croissant? Surely not me! lol! 😀

    Pity he didn’t ask her to show him the proper way to unroll it 😀

    October 23, 2007 at 9:10 pm
  • melinda

    I am seeing crumbs all over the place! LOL

    October 24, 2007 at 2:57 am
  • Sebastien: I FEEL YOUR PAIN (not your bread that is…)

    October 24, 2007 at 8:22 am
  • See, this is why Americans get a bad rap. We’re being fed incorrect information. Unroll a croissant. What on earth was she thinking???

    And SO proud of Sebastien for not correcting the lady. I don’t know if I would have had such self-control.

    October 24, 2007 at 8:29 am
  • HAhahahaHAAA! I know that blink. My husband used to do that too. You would not think German-ness would be so popular, but then you would move to Wisconsin and be proven wrong at least twice a week.

    October 24, 2007 at 10:03 am
  • So funny! I’m tout a fait familar with these types of surreal conversations about France and French things.

    And I agree with Michelle. I’m not sure i could have kept my mouth shut.

    October 24, 2007 at 6:28 pm
  • I’m most envious that you have such fine looking croissants at your farmer’s market! are they tasty?!? so often these treats look wonderful but taste disappointing. kudos to sebastian for his kindly restraint.

    October 24, 2007 at 10:03 pm
  • Loved this post! 🙂 Do you think she unrolls HER croissants to eat them? If a French person came here to the USA and asked my SIL how to eat a hamburger, SHE would tell them to eat the bun first, then the lettuce, then the burger, then the cheese, then the bottom bun. YIKES, but it’s true. It’s not pretty either. So, maybe this lady was the French version of my belle-soeur? 😉

    October 25, 2007 at 12:36 pm
  • OK, that is a very strange way to eat a hamburger, Cassoulet Café, I have to say.

    She said she unrolled them herself. I couldn’t convince Sébastien to test out her method, though. He gave me a look. And sighed and lamented about real croissants and how impossible they are to find here. So, no, dharmagirl, not quite up to snuff, alas. It would be lovely to find great croissants right there in our market!

    I just bet you are familiar with them, Corine! 🙂

    October 25, 2007 at 6:52 pm
  • So…how did he think it tasted? Regardless of the way he ate it. And I take it he didn’t actually say anything at all to the lady or she would have realized from his accent that she was dealing with a croissant pro.

    October 25, 2007 at 8:54 pm
  • Anne-Gaelle

    I miss french bakeries so much…it’s my number one thing to do on my list as soon as I ‘ll be back to France: to run to the closest bakery! I’m sick at any sight of toast now!lol!

    November 4, 2007 at 4:54 pm
  • Croissant

    I am eating a croissant right now!

    May 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm
  • Ronell

    Ok. where I am in South Africa we are now able to buy croissants in fancy Coffee Shops. The problem is two fold here. How do you pronounce it correctly AND then how do you eat them please? I love them so much I just stuff them in my mouth and give a deep sigh of satisfaction. Also here they are served with ghastly butter in tinfoil cups and/or 2 kind of jelly(Which we call jam). We are still getting over the hangover of the World Cup. A great time was had by everyone,lose or win-didn’t matter!

    July 14, 2010 at 9:42 am
  • I wouldn’t put anything on it! Just bite into it and eat it fresh, plain. If they don’t taste delicious that way, then I feel you haven’t got a good croissant.

    I’m glad you had fun with the World Cup! I lived in Spain for a little while, so get to be vicariously pleased. But I don’t really follow it, I admit.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:08 pm
  • Ronell


    Now I can hold my head up and stare down the people who eat croissants with a knife AND fork (don’t even think about the mess!)

    Is you book available in South Africa. I read a lot, always looking for something different.

    July 19, 2010 at 7:13 am
  • Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing the link – but unfortunately it seems to be not working? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


    December 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

Post a Comment