I see people online speaking often and smartly of things like wristwatches and fellatio but seldom do I hear anyone say a word about the ham and cheese croissant from Starbucks which when cooked to perfection is both crunchy and gooey with just the slightest chill at its center (which is fine cuz it’s ham).
Every day before work I go to the Starbucks in Coral Gables where the very friendly kids behind the counter remember my beard and backpack and breakfast if not my name (always asking it with an apology, “I should know by now,” a wince…) and sometimes it takes two minutes for the sandwich to come out of the oven and sometimes fifteen, depending on traffic, but if the pre-date primping and prep of past lovers has taught me anything it’s that perfection cannot be rushed, genius cannot be rushed, and I’m prone, even if it’s been a long time waiting, to throw out my hand toward the barista, as he reaches for the lever to pull my croissant from the oven.
“No,” I say, my breathing changed. “…leave it in.”
Extra crispy, yes, that’s how it needs to be.
When you pull it out of the bag you’ll find that an excess bit of cheese has gooshed out from either end of the croissant; but you’ll also find this cheese crispy, so it sticks out rigid like a stumpy gelatinous wingspan.
I bite it and I bite it and I bite it while walking in the same direction, toward the same place, and always at the same time of day with the sun in a standard spot–it’s the kinda gastronomic experience that, apart from being one of the day’s highlights just for what it does on my palate, is sure to be the kinda thing that, when I bite into it forty years from now, feeds me not just its ingredients, but my own.