A discussion group recently posted that the phrase “Bon appétit” is no longer in vogue as a toast to begin a meal and, in fact, has not been for years. It seems that this rumor was started by a past edition of the New York Times. “Bon appétit” (literally, good appetite) is defined as: “A toast offered at the beginning of the meal to wish everyone a hearty appetite.” So why would one not want to wish everyone a hearty appetite? Was the article written by someone who has an issue with the term or is of a different national heritage? Even the use of “R.S.V.P.” has become a challenge. (Hence you see invitations using “Respond by.”)
Yes, times (and generations) are changing, and so are some terms; however, following a long-time tradition is always correct. Julia Child brought French cuisine to the American public in 1963 and popularized French dining terms. She is part of our tradition. Different cultures have different protocols to begin their meals. Many Americans adopted this French protocol; it has become part of our “tradition” and will continue to be practiced in many American dining circles. It is also a popular way to toast the beginning of a meal: Everyone raises their glass, the host welcomes everyone with a “Bon appétit”, and the meal begins.
What is your opinion or experience?