It's difficult to bake a perfect croissant, but the classic French pastry is easy to define: a flaky crescent of buttery dough. Though people commit all sorts of crimes against croissants (like making them from substandard ingredients, drying them out and packing them in cellophane), they generally don't quibble with that definition. But Tesco, the UK's largest grocery chain, recently conducted a survey of its shoppers and found that a majority preferred its croissants to be straight, rather than crescent-shaped. The reason? Apparently, it's difficult to spread jam on a curvy croissant.
The Telegraph reports that three-quarters of customers voted in favor of straight pastries, saying they're easier to cut and adorn with condiments. So, starting today, Tesco stores will stop carrying curved croissants. The croissant's ancestor, the kipfel, dates back to 13th century Austria and took on various shapes. But the modern pastry is a crescent, as anyone who knows about cognates should be able to guess. Would a croissant of any other shape taste as sweet?