Ceres, The Roman Goddess of Grain

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Story of the poster and how it became an unofficial symbol for Inn Season Cafe.  Where it is now.The NRA (National Restaurant Association) show in Chicago was an annual event for many years.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s there was very little awareness in the shows of anything beyond the latest equipment, POS system, or new fangled packaged food.  The focus was on efficiency, both systematic and economic.  For us, there would be an opportunity to see a specific piece of equipment or a new bottled water.  On a few occasions surprises were to be found and this is what kept us coming back.  In 1986, a gallery from New York had a booth French poster art. They were selling original poster from the late 19th and early 20th century.  This is where Ceres came into our lives.  Barbara spotted her and we decided to invest a considerable sum (for us at the time) to bring her home.  Ceres beckoned us and charmed us with here satisfied smile.  She held golden shafts of wheat in her arms that seemed to sway in the breezes of the French countryside around her.  The subheading of the poster was “Pates Alimentaires.” She was representing a pasta brand which was the perfect compliment to a small Italian pasta machine that we found at a local distributor in Chicago.  Patti Smith, the local clothing merchant who Barbara was designing clothes for, recommended we use her brother, Mike Paradise, to frame the oversized four and a half foot by six foot poster. Mike, a framer for the Detroit Institute of Arts, did an excellent job and was at that point we decided Ceres should be in the restaurant to begin her extended stay. Ceres took her place of prominence in the dining room surround by the antique tables, barn wood and stained glass Tiffany-styled lights of the time.  To create a new look, we pickled the barn wood with white stain, bought new chairs and added new oak tables (my father had them made by an Amish carpenter near Kidron, Ohio).  Ceres was well received and she dominated the dining room as the angel of grains, overseeing the dining pleasures of satisfied customers. She kept her place for over a decade, becoming a second logo and icon of Inn Season until she was moved to make way for the animal-friends china cabinet.  In her role as the goddess of grain, Ceres oversaw the restaurant until the final major renovation of our tenure in January 1999 when she journeyed to our 1924 Tudor home on Hendrie Boulevard where she oversaw our new kitchen and dining area. In 2004, she moved with us to San Diego.  Presently, Ceres resides in the family room of our 1925 historic restoration on Fort Stockton Drive in Mission Hills.

While the story of a poster seems mundane, the effect Ceres had on those who saw her was real. One does not have to study spacial design Feng Shui or Vastu to remember the welcoming feel that Ceres provided in the restaurant and in the homes where she has been. 

Ceres Picture by David Baillot

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