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Posted by ESC on March 10, 2004

In Reply to: Al Fresco posted by Henry on March 09, 2004

: : Hi All,

: : any clues on the history of Al Fresco - yes, I know tis Italian, literally "In the Fresh" - wondering if anyone knows how it came to be used - how it evolved into current 'footpath food', etc, etc

: : dave

: Footpath food is served in the fresh (or open) air.

From Merriam-Webster online:
Main Entry:
Pronunciation: al-'fres-(")kO
Function: adjective or adverb
Etymology: Italian
taking place or located in the open air.

I couldn't find anything about this specific word. But one reference talks briefly about Italian words being adopted into English. "Many Italian words in English entered the language during the Renaissance when Italian culture was very much in vogue." Regarding America, many of the early navigators were Italian. However, ".few Italians immigrated to American until after 1865." At that point several Italian words were adopted directly into American English and many were food terms. From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976).