The first time I had a croissant I think I must have been on holiday with my family. We went on holidays often, a weekend away here or there, and this one time we stayed at a place that had a very wide selection of breakfast stuffs.
My mum loves french pastries and chocolates. She piled her plate up with pan au chocolat and cinnamon rolls and danish pastries and a precariously tall tower of croissants. My dad liked his full english breakfast, and his plate was equally full, but with bacon and sausages, black pudding, hash browns, baked beans, fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread.
My little sister at the time was still a baby, so I guess I must have been about 8 years old. I was a bit of a weird child, in the fact I didn’t like eating cereal and I didn’t like jam on toast – very normal things for kids to eat for breakfast. I liked boiled eggs with soldiers, but I didn’t like asking for it when we were on holiday because a lot of the bed & breakfast places we stayed in always cooked my boiled eggs too hard so that I couldn’t dip my toasted soldiers into the yolk.
I decided that I would try and be really grown up and eat the things my parents ate. I knew a full english breakfast would be too big for me though because dad ate them, and in my head the dads always had to have the biggest meal. It was a sort of special dad privilege. Plus I didn’t really like fried bread or the fried eggs. Instead I took the little side plate they give you and asked to share some baked beans and sausage, which I did like.
Next up was mum’s food, and since I knew mum loved chocolate so much, I didn’t dare take any of the rolls which looked like they might have had chocolate in. Instead I took one of the dozen or so croissants, and plonked it on my plate.
I ate the beans and sausages first because I knew I liked them, and because I wanted to be like my dad more than I wanted to be like my mum that morning. They were really yummy, but I got a bit upset when my mum fed my sister some baked beans because it was meant to be my grown-up breakfast and she just fed the same thing to a baby.
I then tried to eat the croissant. I was a really small child, and at the age of 8 I often got mistaken for about 4 or 5. The croissant looked huge in my hand. Bits of flaky puff pastry was crumbling and getting my best blue dress all dirty, so I already kind of hated it. It just seemed so hard to eat!
When I did manage to take a bite, I was completely underwhelmed. It was boring. It didn’t taste of anything except really greasy, crumbly bread. Only it wasn’t even like bread, because although it looked big, it disappeared when I ate it, and turned into something really small. The whole thing was just filled with air, and that made no sense.
But I could tell looking around the room that it was really popular and loads of people were eating it. Some people were cutting it open and putting jam into it, but I didn’t like jam so that idea was terrible. I had also finished all my beans and sausage so I couldn’t have put that into it.
In the end I ate the whole thing plain because I was convinced only bad people didn’t finish their food, and I wouldn’t get dessert (although I also knew you don’t get dessert at breakfast) unless I finished it. I ended up getting a tummy ache from eating too much that morning and the rest of my day wasn’t as fun. I blamed the croissant.
My relationship with the croissant has vastly improved over time, and I now enjoy eating it. In fact, plain butter ones are my favourite above almond or chocolate ones. It was a long and tough road however, including one time when I was 15 I spent 7 hours making croissants to give to my school crush. To this day however I will still curse how flaky they can be, and I never fail to get crumbs all over myself when I eat them.