Why is Starbucks Taking the Christ out of Croissants?

Starbucks CroissantThe popular French croissant is said to have been made in the shape of the crescent moon on the Ottoman flag, symbol of Islam, after the defeat of the Muslims by a combined Christian force at the siege of Vienna in 1683.

Every croissant eaten celebrates the destruction of the Muslim forces. But what do we do with croissants that aren’t crescent shaped? Blasphemy of blasphemies, Starbucks has now introduced a square pastry that they’re calling a “croissant.”

Ah, well—not much of an issue on a day that celebrates something that didn’t happen and ignores the thing that does.

Happy Holidays, Christmas, Yule, Solstice, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, etc.!

The Church says that the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round.
For I have seen the shadow on the moon,
and I have more faith in a shadow
than in the Church.
— Ferdinand Magellan

Inspiration credit: Rada and Anu

Photo credit: Starbucks

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  • avalpert

    I have no view whatsoever on square croissants but I have found nothing in the world more sacrilegious than Cosi’s squagels…

    • Greg G.

      Somehow, you have diverted my stream of consciousness to this old joke:

      Two aliens arrive on Earth in a spaceship. The first thing they try is cream cheese. One alien says, “You know, this stuff would go great with lox on a bagel!”

  • MNb

    Prettige Feestdagen iedereen.

  • Greg G.

    The Starbucks logo is a Greek siren/mermaid. According to Wikipedia , in the Saudi Arabian market, the logo is just her crown. Perhaps croissant-shaped croissants are not so popular there for the reason you give.

    • The original logo is a little too boob-y. They still use it at store #1 in Seattle.

      I imagine they’d have an even bigger issue with that one in Saudi Arabia.

  • B Dallmann

    Fun fact: The French don’t even call them “croissants.” They call them “Viennoiseries,” for the reason stated in your post about the unsuccessful Ottoman siege of Vienna.

    • MNb

      Fun, but hardly a fact. According to French Wikipedia (and I assume it’s written by French authors) the croissant is a specified variation of Viennoiserie.


      The first croissants were sold in Paris in the early 19th Century – well after the siege.

      “À Paris, les premiers croissants sont vendus au no 92, rue de Richelieu, entre 1837 et 1839, quand les Autrichiens August Zang et Ernest Schwarzer y ouvrent la Boulangerie Viennoise.”
      “In Paris the first croissants were sold on 92 Rue de Richelieu between 1837 and 1839, when the Austrians Zang and Schwarzer opened the Viennese Bakery there.”


      doesn’t mention the siege either. Viennoiserie just means “in the Viennese way”, similar to chinoiserie. That one had nothing to do with any war either.
      The reference to the siege of Vienna must be a later invention, made in the heat of 19th Century nationalism I speculate.

      • B Dallmann

        Yes, the first croissants were sold in Paris…by an Austrian, no? Anyway, my information came from a Parisian. I consulted wiki afterward, so please excuse my ignorance.

      • They don’t have to have been sold in France, just have been produced. It’s not the name or specific country in the West but the shape that I’m focused on.

        But my primary source (Wikipedia, this time) does make clear that the origins are debatable.

  • Your quote is wrong-not only did Magellan never say that, but the Church (and the Greeks before them) had long believed the Earth was round. By Columbus’ time, it was the commonly held view. They were however, way, way off in how big it was.

    • Pofarmer

      I think what you could honestly say, is that the Church in mid-evil times had varying and sundry wrong ideas about the shape of the earth, if their could be inhabitants on the other side of the earth, and other topics. My favorite arguments are that their could be no antipodes(people inhabiting the opposite side of the earth) because it said in the bible that the Apostles preached to all the world, but they could not have made it there, and that their could be no Antipodes, because they would not be able to see the second coming of Jesus! That was considered deep thinking.

      • Yes. St. Augustine and Martin Luther both argued that, as I recall. So, while they didn’t say Earth was flat, it was the next dumbest idea they could have defended.

        • Pofarmer

          And the idea lasted, and was defended, for over 1000 yrs.

        • Too true, as did many other foolish ones.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, the thing is, most of the foolish ideas that are still around are the Metaphysical one that the Church clings to. Some of which(transubstantialtion) can be disproven by science, and some which cannot.

    • I did wonder about that. (Ever since I saw Lincoln’s quote, “You can never trust what you find on the internet” I’ve been a little suspect of claimed sources.)

      My question, though, was whether Magellan would actually question the church. He was pretty religious at the end (perhaps less so earlier in his life?).

      • I can’t say he would never question the Church (not knowing enough about his views) but it would probably have been about something they actually believed, not this, Columbus, for instance, felt the Earth was far smaller, and thus his mistake in believing he would end up in India through crossing the Atlantic. Magellan found out just how large it was when he went around the Straits (that got named after him) then over the Pacific, though he never quite made it to India. Once they met the Chinese, the Christians were troubled by the fact that they were a more advanced culture (though it had stagnated) with no knowledge of their god (a few Christians did exist in China, but were unknown to most).

  • Kodie

    I did not know that about the croissant. I love croissants!

  • UWIR

    “Ah, well—not much of an issue on a day that celebrates something that didn’t happen and ignores the thing that does.”

    Not according to Jeopardy! One of their clues asked for the holiday that commemorates the earliest “historical events”, and the “correct” response was “What is Christmas?”

    • randomfactor

      Hanukkah, by about two centuries. And almost certainly others.

      • UWIR

        I guess I wasn’t specific enough: the question asked for what federally recognized holiday commemorates the earliest historical event. And claiming that Hanukkah celebrates a historical even is problematic; while there is a historical basis for it, there is also a lot of mythology surrounding it.

  • Castilliano

    Why did they take the Christ out of Croissants?
    Well, for a perfect croissant, you need to bake it to just the right flaky texture.
    But croissants with Christ, they just keep rising.

  • S. Gruda

    Bob, I admire your blog, but if I were you, I would be more careful with the quotes you put at the end of the texts. I’m pretty sure that the quote of Magellan in this post (about the Church saying that the Earth is flat) is false; by the times of Magellan (and Columbus) no literate person in the West believed Earth to be flat and the Church had no problem with a spherical world. In fact, ecclesiastical authorities universally accepted Ptolemean system, in which Earth was in the centre of the Universe – and it was spherical, of course. So “Church used to say that the Earth is flat…” is for sure one of the 25 Stupid Arguments Atheist Should Avoid 😉 Geocentrists, yes, but no flat-earthers in the West European Middle Ages.

    On the other hand, if the quote discussed is true, it proves only that Magellan was ignorant of the opinion of the Church authorities; hardly an example of heroic struggle against superstition.

    Best regards

    • I would be more careful with the quotes you put at the end of the texts.

      Good catch. Wikiquotes says that it can’t be reliably traced back to Magellan.