Chicken parmigiana: what’s in a name?

11th September 2020 | Eativity editors

Chicken parmigiana is quintessential Aussie pub grub, but what do you call it? Australians love to shorten the names of things, but when it comes to this particular dish, it seems we just can’t agree. Last week, the announcement of the new Shapes Chicken Parmigiana flavour set off a national social media parmi/parma debate.

This led Arnott’s to commission research to uncover how Australians feel about the classic pub meal. It appears the nation is divided on what they call a chicken parmigiana. Thirty-four percent say “parma”; 45 percent say “parmi/parmy”. And 21 percent call it something else entirely. What that might be, we couldn’t tell you. Parmo? Pazza? The mind boggles.

Chicken parmigiana
Whatever you like to call it, chicken parmigiana is delicious.

Boxing clever

When going by states and territories, the majority (64%) of Victorians say “parma”, while half of all Northern Territorians say “parmi” or “parmy”, with the rest of the territory preferring the long-winded full version.

To make sure that most people stay happy, Arnott’s has included both versions of the name on either side of the box. Perhaps in an attempt to quell further public outrage, the new Shapes Chicken Parmigiana are shaped like Australia, but there are also some Tassie-shaped crackers included in each box. Now that’s what we call diplomacy.

Shapes Chicken Parmigiana

Do we shorten it because it’s hard to spell?

The research also found that 45 percent of Australians are spelling chicken parmigiana incorrectly. A further 11 percent admit they have no clue where to even start when spelling it. Some alternate ways Aussies are spelling the dish include:

1. Chicken parmigana (17%)
2. Chicken parmegiana (8%)
3. Chicken parmegana (4%)
4. Chicken parmajana (4%)

Chicken parmigiana
We can see the problem here – no chips.

What’s in your parma? (Yes, we went there)

Nearly a quarter of Aussies eat at least two chicken parmigiana a month. Meanwhile, in Victoria, more than a quarter of people say a chicken parmigiana will be the first meal they eat when the state comes out of lockdown.

But beyond chicken, cheese and tomato sauce, Australians have diverse opinions on what they believe are essential ingredients for the dish. Thirty-four percent say ham, 22 percent say tomatoes and 16 percent say bacon. Renegades to the end, 50 percent of NT residents say putting an egg on their parmigiana is the right way to do it. Hey, each to their own.

The new Arnott’s Shapes Chicken Parmi/Parma are available in stores nationwide.