Georgia restaurant’s eggplant Parmesan is famous for sending women into labor

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Pregnant women past their due dates are known to try eating
almost anything at a certain point to induce labor:
pineapple
, dates, spicy curries — even special “Maternity Salads,” tried by TODAY
Tastemaker Siri Daly.

But for women near the Atlanta, Georgia-area, there’s one
classic comfort food that’s been rumored to help women move
things along for years — an eggplant Parmigiana dish so
legendary that the restaurant claims it’s helped more than
1,000 women go into labor.

Grace Erath / Measures of
Grace

The bubbly, cheesy eggplant parmigiana at Scalini’s, a
restaurant outside of Atlanta, is purported to help women go
into labor.

At Scalini’s, an Italian eatery in Smyrna, one or two
women a year have reportedly had their water break
before they even get a chance to ask for the check,
restaurant manager Robert Bogino told TODAY Food.

“That’s always exciting when that happens. Once, a father even
came up and said, ‘Can we get our food to go?’ I think his wife
really wanted to get going to the hospital, though.”

Instagram is filled with photos of the mythical meal — bubbly
cauldrons of cheese and tomato sauce —alongside lots of
eggplant and baby emjois.

We think this delicious dish looks pretty darn good, even if
you aren’t pregnant.

Anywhere from two to six women a day come to Scalini’s in hopes
of prompting their little one into the world. Pregnant patrons
are asked to sign the restaurant’s “baby book,” and if they go
into labor within 48 hours of leaving, they get a $25 gift
card, a Scalini’s infant T-shirt, and their baby’s photo on the
wall.

Because pregnant women aren’t supposed to travel far, and the
restaurant doesn’t want to ship the dish in order to preserve
its integrity, Scalini’s has since posted the recipe online. Though some women do send
friends or relatives across state lines, from Alabama,
Tennessee or even Texas, to retrieve the original version of
the dish, Bogino added.

Women all around the world have made the recipe, and posted the
results
(with adorable baby photos) on the restaurant’s site. One mom,
Mel from Australia, credited the recipe with helping her third,
fourth and fifth babies make a speedier debut: “voila!”

Another mom, Kathy, wrote that she made the Parm on her due
date, thinking she’d have it for lunch the next day. “I had a
tiny piece before going to bed and woke up four hours later,
when my water broke. As an added bonus, I had a great dish
ready in the fridge to serve our out-of-town family the next
day!”

Grace Erath / Measures of
Grace

Come on, baby! At 39 weeks pregnant, Atlanta-area mom Grace
Erath dug into the eggplant parm dish at Scalini’s. It didn’t
help bring on labor, she said, “but it was delicious.”

But apparently the dish, though tasty, doesn’t work for
everyone.

At 39 weeks pregnant, Atlanta-area mom Grace
Erath
, a blogger and co-owner of an online tea shop,
Measures of Grace, stopped in at Scalini’s last year in hopes
of meeting her baby girl sooner. “Unfortunately the eggplant
Parm did not induce labor for me, but it was delicious,” she
told TODAY Food.

Expectant mom Riel Green, an Atlanta-area entrepreneur,
ate at Scalini’s just two days ago, anxious to deliver her
girl. “It didn’t work for me, but it has for a few people I
know,” she told TODAY Food. “It was still a very yummy dish!”

Plenty of restaurants make eggplant Parmesan but why is
Scalini’s so special? It all started back in 1977, with
present-day manager Robert Bogino. His dad, the restaurant’s
founder, John Bogino, prepared the dish for Robert’s mom. Just
24 hours later, Robert was born.

The legend surrounding the dish grew by word of mouth, and his
dad put it on the menu when he opened Scalini’s in 1980. Since
then, the restaurant claims that more than 1,000 women now
swear by it. “People even have their pets try it — there are
dogs and bunnies on the wall,” Bogino said.

As for why it works, or whether the phenomenon is an old wives’
tale, that’s anyone’s guess — though some say it has to do with
the enzymes in an eggplant, combined with the herbs,
spices…and overeating (Scalini’s serves large portions),
Bogini said.

“Of course,” he added, “you have to believe a little bit, too.”

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