I shall bring parmo pride to the USA!
In May, on a trip back to my hometown, I discovered a wondrous thing: parmo.
Essentially the Italian classic veal parmigiana (substituting pork for veal, cheddar for parmesan and big fat french fries for hand-made, butter-tossed fettucine), it's de rigueur among the Saturday-night drinkers of Teesside (i.e. the population of Teesside).
(In case you missed it, here's my virgin parmo experience).
In the US, of course, no-one knows what parmo is; in fairness, it's pretty much unheard-of outside the North-East of England. So when The Boy and I feel the need for a parmoment, we have to create our own.
Well, all that may be about to change.
Next month sees the inaugural World Parmo Cooking Championships in Stockton, a brave attempt to increase parmo awareness beyond the A19. And why not? It could do for parmo what the Golden Spurtle has done for porridge (that is, give food writers an eccentric festival to cover once a year, and then ... um ...)
The Guardian has a nice piece about the Championship, which includes two quotes that, I think, sum up My People in all their glory.
Championship organizer and "parmo crusader" Paddy Bowen on parmo: " ... It's just a good thing to have, beautiful and very filling. You eat it because that's what you do round here."
You eat it because that's what you do round here.
So true. So, so true.
And this, from parmo inventor Charlie Constantine, on the birth of his creation: "Parmesan goes hard when you grill it so we replaced it with cheddar, but we forgot to change the name on the menu."
We forgot to change the name. Beautiful. Anyway, what would the alternative have been? Cheddo? Chedsies? Cheddles?
Here's the deal: the top three most popular parmofacturers get to face off on December 16. Popularity is measured by write-in ballot. I guess it's meant for local restaurants, but nowhere is that stipulated--in fact, the very presence of the word "World" in the title suggests it must be opened up to an international field, like the World Cup and the World Series (uh, maybe not the latter).
So I want to you vote for me. It's very simple: just go to the questionnaire on Stockton Borough Council's parmo voting page (your tax pounds at work) and where it says "Name of restaurant/takeaway that makes the best parmo ever," write in "Carolyn Grantham limeyg parmo." The deadline for entries is December 7.
Oh, and when I'm selected, I'll need sponsorship. So if someone could arrange flights, that would be great. I'll happily sport your organization's t-shirt as I hold the Golden Parmo aloft on December 16.
[Update: the voting form requires a valid 7-digit UK postcode, e.g. CT17 9DR, PO12 2AW, CF10 4PZ, which further invalidates the whole "world" concept. It would be improper of me to suggest anyone commit fraud, so I won't.]