Thursday, May 30

Food As Architecture, Rendered in Fiberglass

Emily Wallace guest-blogs for us about food, art, and design. You can check out more of her work here.
Hills of Snow, Smithfield, NC. Photo by Kate Medley.

As kids, we used to talk about the meal of a great Giant. His appetite was imagined, of course, but he was real: a six-foot, headless fiberglass man that lay half covered by grass in a field near my home in Smithfield, North Carolina. We glimpsed him often when biking near Massey Street, a residential road that cut through to Hills of Snow—another larger-than-life sculpture and building that resembled the snow cones it sold. The proximity of the two made us wonder: Did the Giant lose his head after too many snowballs and a subsequent brain freeze?

The Gaffney, SC, giant peach. Photo by Emily Wallace.

The Giant (his purpose and origin are still a mystery to me) was removed from the field years ago. But I still think of him often when I spot similarly large fiberglass foods, including the Gaffney peach-painted water tower I passed on my way into South Carolina last week. “There’s the Giant’s fruit,” I thought, echoing the game of my youth. “There’s the Giant’s corn,” I said a few months before, eying a stand at the North Carolina State Fair.

Photo by Emily Wallace.

A pig watches over Crook's Corner on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro (NC) town line. Photo by Kate Medley.

Such sculptures encompass some of my favorite pieces of artwork. They are beacons, often indicating good food served nearby: Think of the pig perched high above Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, NC. And they’re landmarks, offering better directions than any GPS coordinate could ever provide: “Turn left by the taquería with a cow on top.” You could call them my go-to southern roadmap.

La Vaquita taqueria, near the author's Durham, NC, home. Photo by Emily Wallace