Bon appetit and baguettes

Today as class was ending and everyone was headed to lunch, a teacher asked me how to translate ‘Bon appetit!’ I explained there wasn’t really an English equivalent — ‘Enjoy your meal,’ maybe, but it was kind of weak — and she immediately responded by saying “Oh, they don’t have a word for it because your food is so bad that no one wants to eat it anyway! Ha ha ha ha!”

I don’t know if I should take offense or be in agreement, because I know some damn good cooks in the USA (myself definitely not included), but things like the picture above just aren’t a part of our lives at home like they are here. In the supermarket, baguettes are prodded and squeezed until the right one is found, then its carried away sticking out of grocery bags or just clutched with a piece of bakery paper wrapped around the middle. The top end is always missing, because you can’t wait all the way home, after taking off your coat and putting the keys in your pocket, to taste it.

Especially when you go into a bakery in your town that reportedly makes the best baguettes in town. You now know the secret password — not just a baguette you want, but a baguette de tradition, or as this bakery calls it, a campaillette. While you’re in line, hearing everyone before you ordering one or two of these, the owner comes out with a basket full of them, saying “Hot campailletes! A miracle.” Indeed.

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