When? - 26th of January, 2011
Where? - Reviewer Shanan’s backyard
Price? - $5 from Coles (I think they were on special down from about $7.50)
Barry? - No, general Australia Day shenanigans kept us very entertained
Website? - http://www.mccain.com.au
Reviewers - Adam, Bec, Cale, Lee, Matt, Ness, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo, Tanya
Please excuse the quality of this article as I am writing it with a bit of a hangover. For our international readers who may not know, the 26th of January is Australia Day. The day when Australians all over the world kick back, relax, and celebrate what it means to be an Aussie (which usually means drinking copious amounts of alcohol in somebodies backyard).
But this Australia Day we had a dilemma, unfortunately my favourite day of the whole year fell upon parma Wednesday! What were we to do?! Thats when I remembered a commercial I had seen on TV many times, a commercial I had mocked and ridiculed but would wind up being our Parma Wednesday’s saviour - The McCain Chicken Parmagiana Dinner.
Oh god, you just know it’s gonna be bad when it looks terrible in the commercial!
Dear lord it looks awful, the ‘dollop’ of what I can only assume is cheese on the parma doesn’t even extend past the napoli, let alone the chicken! I also love how he is eating with his arms out to the side as if he has the largest meal ever consumed in front of him, yet it looks absolutely tiny. But it had to be done, Wednesday was approaching and a parma had to be consumed. This is what we do for you, gentle reader. We suffer for your entertainment.
I headed to the supermarket on Tuesday night and picked up the parmas, expecting to pay $7.50 a piece I was pleasantly surprised to find them reduced to $5. As well as the standard parma, McCain also has the option of Hawaiian Parma with pineapple or a Sweet Chili Parma with (you guessed it!) sweet chili sauce. I kept it simple and went with the standard parma all round.
Doritos, Salsa, Pringles, Gum and 10 frozen parmas … thats a meal right there.
They sat in my freezer Tuesday night until Wednesday morning, when I rocked up to Reviewer Shanan’s annual Australia Day party with a slab of Bulmers in one hand and ten parmas in the other, I transferred them into Reviewer Shanan’s freezer before cracking a stubbie and starting the day. We kicked off celebrations with an epic barbie-breakfast with bacon, baked beans, home made hash browns, skinless sausages, tomatoes, toast and even Australia shaped eggs. it was awesome.
Poor Tasmania gets left out of the Aussie eggs, sorry Tassie!
Now our Australia Day tradition is to basically take over the footpath on the road that runs beside the house, sit around listening to Triple J’s ‘Hottest 100’ on the radio and drinking lots and lots of booze. Which we did. The cops drove past a few times but didn’t seem to care, they even ‘whoop’ed their siren for us. Love it.
At about noon my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out what I was in for, so I cracked the first box to take a peek at what was in store for us with the McCain Chicken Parmagiana Dinner.
I was absolutely amazed that it didn’t look that bad. there was more cheese on the chicken than what I expected, it still looked damn small but it wasn’t the total write off that I was expecting!
A few hours later I started organising who was going to eat - each parma needed 7 minutes in the microwave to cook so I figured rather than standing by a microwave for seventy minutes, we would have two servings of five parmas each, that way the first parma nuked wouldn’t be sitting on the bench for 63 minutes while all the others cooked. I cooked each parma for 6 and a half minutes, then gave them all a final 20 seconds before serving to ensure they came out hot.
Reviewers Cale, Ness, Stefo, Nikki and Shanan were first up -
After they ate I set to work microwaving the next five. It wasn’t long till they were done and this leaning tower of boxes was sitting next to the microwave
Next up were Reviewers Adam, Tanya, Bec, Matt and Myself, I didn’t get a photo of us eating as we were too busy… eating. Before I begin I will state for the record that we ate at about 7.45 in the evening, and that a lot of the reviewers had been drinking pretty steadily since before noon (I cracked my first stubbie at about 10:30) so the results may be a little skewed by alcohol, keep that in mind!
Where to begin! the schnitzel was tiny, prefab chicken, very salty but it had a surprisingly good coverage of napoli and cheese (not hard considering its size) the chicken was about the same thickness of the crumbs it was coated in, which were extremely soggy - probably to be expected after being steamed in its own juices for seven minutes. After all of that, it actually didn’t taste that bad. The napoli was tasty, the cheese had heaps of flavour and the chicken, while soggy and thin, actually held up quite well. If it had’ve been twice the size and triple the thickness it would’ve rated higher than some of the pubs we’ve reviewed! But as I said earlier - we were drunk.
The chips were nonexistent, so we counted the potato ‘cubes’ as chips. Unfortunately they were god awful, tasteless filler which turned into a starchy mess when trying to chew and left a horrible taste in the mouth that barely even registered as potato. Fail.
We regarded the ‘salad’ as the carrots and peas. The carrots actually weren’t so bad but there wasn’t many of them, in some parts the cheese ran off the parma and through the carrots leaving with a cheesy/carrot creation that was damn tasty. The peas on the other hand were shriveled and unappealing, the review team discussed it and came to the conclusion that nobody likes peas, they should be removed from existence to save us all from their uncanny ability to screw up a perfectly good meal. Unfortunately when you put loose frozen spheres into a container they tend to roll leaving the peas everywhere and in everything.
After parma we continued our evening by partaking in our annual tradition of ‘Thong Olympics’ in which everyone kicks their thongs (or flip-flops for the international readers) onto the rather busy road beside the house - if a car hits the thong it gets taken off the playing field and the last thong surviving wins. It is a lot more fun than it sounds and we now have a facebook page promoting the sport.
The McCain Chicken parmagiana dinner is in no way going to replace going to the pub for a parma, It’s tiny with no real chips and barely any sides. but on the other hand for only $5 it is what it is, a cheap & nasty parma that you can keep in the freezer and nuke in 7 minutes for those times when you need an emergency parma fix. Perfect for those nights when you stagger home from the real pub and search through the fridge for a late night snack. Finding a cooked parma in the freezer is a drunk mans heaven and I would seriously consider keeping one tucked away for just such an occasion.
I hope everyone had an awesome Australia Day, we will be back to a real pub next Wednesday so be sure to check out the next review!
Parma - 5.60
Chips - 1.65
Salad - 3.05
Value - 6.00
Total - 4.38
The search continues…
Oh, as we were leaving for the night everyone was freaking out over the massive spider crawling along the fence, I snapped a picture for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!