OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of the word ‘parmo’?
Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English.
Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, and for this we need your help.
Can you find earlier examples of usage of the following word? Visit the OED Appeals page to find out more, and to submit any antedating evidence.
The parmo is a food associated with the area of Teesside, in north-east England. It consists of a fillet of breaded chicken, pork, or other meat that is fried, covered with béchamel sauce and cheese, and then grilled, and is often sold as a takeaway meal. Both the name and the preparation are somewhat reminiscent of the Italian-American dish chicken (or veal, etc.) parmesan or parmigiana (chicken parm for short), though this always involves tomato sauce rather than béchamel sauce and is made with a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses (hence the name). The American dish is in turn a carnivorous reinvention of the classic Italian dish melanzane parmigiana, made with slices of aubergine.
The Teesside dish, also known as a parmesan, is often said to have originated at the American Grill in Middlesbrough in the late 1950s, but when was it first actually called a ‘parmo’? The earliest evidence found by the OED’s researchers dates from 2003, in a Middlesbrough newspaper:
And to show that Tees Speak is alive and well, how about that genuinely Middlesbrough word, and culinary invention, the ‘parmo’.
2003 Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough), 9 May
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the word was in use by the 1990s, if not before; the 2003 date most likely reflects the available digitized archives of local newspapers, rather than actual usage. Can you help us find earlier evidence of parmo?