Peels and All

June 1997: Mait Lepik won Estonia's first banana-eating contest thanks to a time-saving strategy. Instead of wasting precious moments peeling the bananas, he simply ate the bananas peels and all. His first-place prize was a free trip to the Canary Islands.

That's how the story was widely reported back in 1997 (such as here and here and below), but I have a hard time believing that it could be quicker to eat a banana with its peel still on, rather than taking a brief moment to remove the peel. After all, the skin is full of fiber and takes time to chew. I think it should have been reported that he managed to win the contest despite not peeling the bananas first.

In the video below the article, professional competitive eater Kevin Strahle (aka L.A. Beast) eats six unpeeled bananas. It's not easy for him. So I don't see how it could have been an easy way for Lepik to win a banana-eating contest either.

San Bernardino County Sun - June 22, 1997

     Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 17, 2015
     Category: Food | Sports | 1990s

Uh, where does it say the bananas were _chewed_?
I'm not implying anything, just saying.
Posted by OldPerson on 12/17/15 at 09:47 AM
"Today, I'm going to show to disarm a man 'olding a banana."
Posted by KDP on 12/17/15 at 03:01 PM
@OldPerson -- That was my first thought, also. I saw a side-show sword-swallower wow the crowd by swallowing a lime (a Persian Lime squished flat so it looked like a normal lime when he held it up to show the audience, but still). I'm sure anyone with even a modicum of similar training could swallow a whole banana, particularly if it was one of the smaller varieties (in the US, virtually all we see are Cavendish, but there are a lot of varieties in all sorts of sizes).

What I would have feared, if I were him, was what would come next. I doubt stomach acid would even touch the peel, so it'd pass whole into the intestine. Some of the curves of the small intestine are kinda tight, not exactly a superhighway for something the size of a banana. If you can get cramps and pain from squishy stuff passing through, imagine what it'd be like with ten large, stiff, long objects in your gut.
Posted by Phideaux on 12/17/15 at 04:20 PM
If you Google Mait Lepik, you'll find he's an actor. He's also on Twitter. Perhaps you could ask him.
Posted by ges on 12/17/15 at 05:46 PM
Couldn't you just bite the end off and squeeze em out?
Posted by Eric on 12/17/15 at 08:51 PM
@Phideaux: Why would they have to stay in the stomach? Like that song by Egburt Hummerdickie What goes down comes back up.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/18/15 at 12:53 AM
ges -- Interesting find! I had googled 'Mait Lepik AND bananas' but not just his name on its own.

That could be the same guy. At least, his age is about right. Unless there's a whole bunch of Mait Lepiks in Estonia. Definitely a talented guy, if that is him. His IMDB page says he speaks Estonian, Russian, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, a litle Korean. And evidently English also, as that's what he twitters in. And on top of that, he can eat 10 unpeeled bananas in 3 minutes.

I'll ask him if he's the guy.
Posted by Alex on 12/18/15 at 08:31 AM
@Expat47 -- That reminds me of what Red Skelton said about escargot: he tasted them twice. Once going down . . .

I'd be really scared about them coming back up. You could guide them down your throat easily enough (if you've mastered your gag reflex and have a large enough tube), but you couldn't possibly control the direction of the curve as they came back up. If they're bent the wrong way, they might wedge in your throat, clamping your windpipe shut. Unless there are tricks to the trade which I can't conceive of, this would be far too risky for me to even think about dreaming of maybe someday doing.
Posted by Phideaux on 12/18/15 at 02:31 PM
I could not watch the guy eat the bananas in the video. Two bidets in it gagged me. How about repeated small bites swallowed whole very quickly?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/19/15 at 10:43 AM
Two WHAT into it?
Posted by Phideaux on 12/19/15 at 11:01 AM
Maybe it's what that idiot robot in Flash Gordon was always saying, "Bidet, bidet, bidet", and she only made it to the 2ed Bidet.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/19/15 at 12:32 PM
Two minutes, I hate auto correct!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/19/15 at 03:10 PM
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