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Croissant – can they cause offence?

By on March 23, 2015 in Malaysia

I don’t know where I got the idea from, but I thought that the humble croissant might cause offence in Muslim countries…



Now the reason I thought this was because traditionally, unlike the one above I photographed in Malaysia, they are crescent shaped and I remember reading somewhere that they symbolised the victory of a Christian army over a Muslim army somewhere in Europe – with a good chance it was in France as that is where croissants are thought of as a national food… Turns out that I was wrong and I had fallen, according to Wikipedia, for an urban myth.

I won’t repeat the Wikipedia material on croissants here other than to say that croissants may not be as French as I thought, they seem to have ‘evolved’ from a number of breads and pastries round Europe (particularly from Germany and Austria), that the style of bread seems to date back 13th century with the croissant being invented in 1838/9 in a Viennese bakery in Paris, and that stories such as the original crescent shaped rolls (the supposed origin the croissant shape) invented to celebrate the defeat of the Umayyad forces at the Battle of Tours by the Franks in 732 (with the shape representing the Islamic crescent) are just plain wrong.

So, there you go. It is OK to continue eating croissants in Malaysia and other Muslim countries without causing offence…

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
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