Picks and Pans Main: Etc.
As subtle as his nom de guerre, the French exhibitionist Monsieur Mange-tout (translation: "Eat all") is the Evel Knievel of digestion, staging demonstrations of bizarre gourmandism throughout the world. In March in Amarillo, Texas he swallowed part of a queen-size bed (precut into manageable bites) to promote a furniture sale. His earlier biggies included a whole bicycle at the 1978 Quebec Expo. "The chain," he reports, "was the tastiest part." The Grenoble native washed it down with water, but, of course, what wine does one drink with a bicycle? At 29, Mange-tout also has considerable crockery, glassware, razor blades and three television sets under his belt.
Born Michel Lotito, he developed his strange talent as a reaction to growing up sickly and a target for neighborhood bullies. When a glass broke at a swimming pool, the 16-year-old Michel decided he had found a way to prove to friends he was oblivious to pain. He began calmly munching on some of the shards.
He has made the Guinness Book of World Records, not to mention medical journals. Doctors are concerned, he says, because his stomach is now beginning to reject standard fare. But Mange-tout begins another performance next week in Japan. He was going to eat an airplane, until he calculated it would take him two years from propeller to tail for even the smallest model. He's settling for a bike, his fourth. When that's gone, he'll head home to Grenoble, assuming he can overcome another recent problem. Mange-tout has so much steel in his belly that he sets off metal detectors whenever he tries to board a plane.