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  1. #1
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Wish you Good Apetite

    In Germany or France people usually say something like: wish you good apetite before starting a meal like dinner. In English there doesn't seem to be something like that. Apart from bon apetit said by some people who belong to a higer class there is: enjoy your meal usually said by waiters. I mean do peopel really start, when in company, just by simply nodding signalizing you can dig in now? Is there no etiquette? The word apetite is of French origin. This means there seems to be no Germanic equivalent to Romance apetit.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 17-Feb-2007 at 06:45.

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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    In Germany or France people usually say something like: wish you good apetite before starting a meal like dinner. In English there doesn't seem to be something like that. Apart from bon apetit said by some people who belong to a higer class there is: enjoy your meal usually said by waiters. I mean do peopel really start, when in company, just by simply nodding signalizing you can dig in now? Is there no etiquette? The word apetite is of French origin. This means there seems to be no Germanic equivalent to Romance apetit.
    Well, dear Jamshid, here's something for you. According to etiquette or bon ton, call it what you like, you shouldn't say 'Buon appetito' or 'Bon apetit' at table. Also, you should never put toothpicks on the table and you shouldn't even ask for them! How about that? In fact, I always keep one in my handbag! (to be used in the toilette, not at table).
    Another thing...if you have something hot in your plate you can go ahead and eat without waiting for the others. If it's a cold plate, you have to wait.
    Last edited by queenbu; 17-Feb-2007 at 22:29. Reason: Additional advice!

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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Let's eat; Help yourself.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Please do start
    Please don't wait for us - do start
    Don't let your meal get cold. Please start

  5. #5
    AlainK Guest

    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Actually, this is a totally surrealistic expression: can you imagine someone you've invited for a meal answer "Er, no, thanks, I'm not really hungry right now..." ?
    It's true that etiquette commands that you shouldn't say it. Well, it must be true, I read it recently on "BBC online", "from our own correspondant", with a lot of other things that I had never heard of before and which seemed to be part of the natural environment of that journalist in Paris...
    But everybody says that, except perhaps at Nadine de Rotschild's table.
    Maybe that's why she's never invited me, I'll never get a chance to marry Miss France ("Les excuses sont faites pour s'en servir"...)

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Let's eat; Help yourself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Please do start
    Please don't wait for us - do start
    Don't let your meal get cold. Please start
    Also 'Dig in' [informal], 'Tuck in' [less so, but still not formal], or 'Serve yourself'; usually, even if plates are delivered ready-filled from the kitchen, there's at least one thing that guests can help themselves to: 'Help yourselves to vegetables/salad/gravy...' - whatever.

    In very formal circumstances, a Grace is said; some private households still do this for religious reasons, and even in not-very-religious ones (with a sense of owing something to someone or some principle) I've heard 'Blessings on the meal'. The standard Grace Before Meals (it might even be in the Book of Common Prayer: The 1662 Book of Common Prayer Website) is 'For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful.'*

    The shortest I've heard is the Latin 'Benedictus benedicat' [may He who is Blessed, bless].

    (This isn't to say that everyone in the UK is automatically prayerful; but ceremonial behaviour of various kinds often has the trappings of religion.)

    b
    PS
    One of the soldiers in Zulu says this, jokingly, before a battle,

  7. #7
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Much of this discussion has left me confused, but I will say that I've always been taught that no one should begin eating until everyone has been served. No "signal" per se is necessary; once everyone at the table has been served, then dining may begin. If you're at a dinner party, the host is traditionally the last to be served, so once he or she has his or her food, the rest of the table may begin eating.
    Toothpicks? Never at the dinner table! In restaurants, you'll find toothpicks available near the exit, which means you should floss your teeth after you leave the building. In a private home, tooth cleaning is something that should be confined to the boudouir.

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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    ...if you have something hot in your plate you can go ahead and eat without waiting for the others. If it's a cold plate, you have to wait.

    I am sure I have heard this somewhere but it obviously applies to when there is a large group in a restaurant and, due to different orders, one might have to wait awhile before all are served. Only in this case one may start eating before and it should be the others to give the go ahead...'Eat before it gets cold'.

  9. #9
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Thanks everybody. There are some people who repeatedly tell me: we don't understand on the one hand the British have a long-winded manner when it comes to politeness: if you don't mind, If I may say so, would be so kind as to..., do you think.. and thousands of: sorry, excuse me...... but on the other hand have no polite word to signal the start of dinner. Maybe some cultures are more direct but at least they mean what they say and are completly open about their feelings. I personally don't like when people are too direct but I certainly feel uncomfortable when people say things they don't mean or might even say the opposite behind my back. Appearances are deceptive.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 18-Feb-2007 at 10:45.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Wish you Good Apetite

    Would you be so kind as to eat?

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