1. Sabrina
    September 10, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    Haha! Even after years in the US I still fing it uncomfortable to sit at a table with other people and everybody just starts digging in without saying anything. Marco and I usually either just say “Guten Appetit” or “Buon Appetito” to each other or whoever else is at the table and people indulge us by saying the same thing – maybe we get away with it because we’re weird foreigners anyways 🙂

    • Andrew
      September 11, 2012 @ 8:50 am

      I ride a lot on that idea. “Get away with it because we are weird foreigners.” I somehow thrive in this space. Little do they realize that I am just weird, even in my own culture. They just accept every bit of my weird as foreigner weird.

      • Sabrina
        September 12, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

        Same here 🙂

  2. Amanda
    September 3, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    It doesn’t strike me as odd for the waiters and waitresses to say Guten Appetit, since they are bringing the meal, but it would never occur to me to say it to other people at the table. It does throw me off a bit though when I’m out eating and a random person comes by and says it. The closest I can think of in English would be when a waitress drops off the meal and says “Enjoy” or some variation, but that’s just the person bringing the food.

    • Andrew
      September 9, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

      I notice it mostly at work in the kitchen where there are no waitstaff. I will have to notice it when I go out more. Though I definitely have heard it amongst diners in a group at a restaurant. It is somewhat related to the idea that food comes out when it is ready, not nessicarly all together. Wishing Guten Appitit is a way of signalling, “please go ahead and start.” to those who just got food.

      I make the joke sometimes that in the US, you more often hear “can I get you anything else” instead where “Guten Appitit” comes in. Yay, economics.

  3. Steven
    September 2, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    I’m similar- sometimes I don’t wish my colleagues a good meal because I’m reading or doing my own thing. It took me weeks to get used to the Mahlzeit thing.

    Sometimes I like to mix it up a little and say things that are similar to Mahlzeit to see if anyone notices. Like Marzipan.

    As for English- it’s been my experience that the American version of the same thing is just to use the non-English phrases like Bon Appetit. ::shrug:: Your mileage my vary.

    • Andrew
      September 9, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

      Ha. I will definitely have to try that wishing people Marzipan for lunchtime.

      I have definitely mentioned that we hear the French Bon Appetit, but it feels more formal somehow. You hear it in more upscale places, not in the local casual place like here.

  4. Daniel McBane - Funny Travel Stories
    September 1, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    I’ve run into the same problem in other languages too. They have a similar expression to ‘Guten Appetit’ and want to know the English equivalent. I try to answer, but they have a hard time understanding that we don’t say anything before eating–at least nothing non-religious.

    And the ‘Prost’ ritual here in Germany drives me crazy. It’s like they’ve even managed to overly organize drinking. Way to live up to the stereotype.

    • Andrew
      September 9, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

      That is a hilarious thought. That something so simple and basic is over organized.

      I wonder if English is the only one without it? I can’t imagine that, but I wonder.

  5. Jeannie
    September 1, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    I’ve gotten that same question when traveling abroad, and it’s kind of embarrassing that we don’t wish each other an enjoyable meal before diving into food.

    • Andrew
      September 9, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

      Why is that embarrassing? I think if anything it just shows we place different emphasis on food. I agree, we should perhaps be more social and such, but to wish a good meal still seems odd for me.

  6. mandie
    August 31, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    In my office, people will just say “Mahlzeit!” to people randomly as they are walking through the hallway anytime between the hours of 11 and 1. Is this to remind people that lunch is, in fact, happening today? I still don’t know.

    • kalesco
      September 5, 2012 @ 10:57 am

      Maybe I can help with this 🙂
      I am a native German speaker (well, Austrian – some would say that this is not German 😉 ) but I only got this long after I started to work. The “Mahlzeit” between 11 and 1 is just a greeting – like, after Guten Morgen (good morning) you say Mahlzeit, then maybe Guten Tag, Guten Abend and so on.
      It has not much to do with anyone eating.

      • Andrew
        September 9, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

        Austrian is close enough for that to be fine advice.

        ok, so it is a greeting, as I surmised in an earlier reply to Mandy (working through a long list). I do wonder if it regional like a lot of things in Germany (and Austria).

    • Andrew
      September 9, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

      Ha. That is funny. It sounds a bit like a greeting.