While we may lament the end of August, the month of September is the perfect time for what we Americans refer to as “al fresco” dining, a phrase borrowed from the Italians meaning “in the cool air.” (Interestingly, Italians refer to outdoor dining as “fuori” and “all’aperto,” since “al fresco” is slang for “in prison”).
What better way to celebrate the closing of the summer season then to dine outside in the cool September evening air, seated at an intimate table with pleasant company, surrounded by a picturesque, beautiful view of a distant mountain, still lake or sailboats in the distant ocean horizon, accompanied by fine wine and delicious food.
In fact, James and Kay Salter write about the rich experience an intimate setting can offer with their Sept. 1st entry in their book, Life is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days:
“Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, Leonardo da Vinci said, and large ones weaken it. Something similar might be said of dinner tables. The smaller the size, the greater the intimacy; big ones are for castles.”
I can’t help but think that Leonardo da Vinci would have been a lover of “al fresco dining” and would have a rather philosophical take on the expanse of the world beyond the small intimate outdoor table.
And so, before turning inside to our dwellings big or small, enjoy one last meal in the open air and breathe in every drop of the last of summer’s fresh invigorating air.