wine glass x-ed outSo after the last Pregnant Pause post about food making me sick and now with this one being all about not drinking, you’re probably asking, “Um, isn’t this supposed to be a food blog?” It’s a fair point, but I think you’d much rather read stuff like this instead of cooings about the purple unicorniness of pregnancy and how gestating is like sitting on a cloud of cotton candy. (Because it’s not, and there are no unicorns, purple or otherwise.)

And even if you did prefer that, well, it’s just not me. Well, it’s not me now, but who knows what I’ll be like after the little parasite is born.

By the by, “parasite” is my husband’s word and before you get all pearl-clutchy or child protective services on me you have to understand two things: 1. he’s a mathematician and likes to get scientific, and it is scientifically correct to say the baby is a parasite; and 2. the tone of voice he uses when saying “parasite” is very much in the vein of “Awww, the widdle parasite is making you vewy crabby!”

ANYWAY, the day after I found out I was pregnant, I had to fake it. Drinking, that is. We had three pre-planned gauntlets to run: a wine tasting, a wedding, and a birthday bowling party.

What started as a fruitless search for apples in Gold Country (an early frost killed off a lot of the crop earlier in the year) ended in a wine tasting at our friend’s favorite local winery. Now all my friends know I adore wine, beer, and cocktails, so not wanting to raise inquisitive eyebrows and questions by opting out of the tasting completely, my husband and I shared our tasting with one another. While he actually tasted, I let the wine slap against my closed lips with nary a breach.

Apparently, we successfully fooled our friend — she told me months later that she completely believed me when I talked about the “earthy overtones” and “dark berry flavors” in her favorite Barbera — even though my husband was being way too obvious by staring at my mouth every time I took a “sip.” (It’s not that he didn’t trust me, he was just trying to see how I was doing it.)

A few weeks later, I was at a friend’s wedding and faced with a cocktail I created especially for the big day. This time, I upped my unbreachable lips game and added a glass swap with my husband. He’d gulp some of his cocktail, covertly hand me his half-full glass, and take possession of my totally full glass. Dinner was a sit-down affair with two wines. Inch by inch, I slid my full wine glasses toward my husband’s plate and grab for his half-drunk glasses. Needless to say, I was the designated driver that night, and again, I fooled everyone.

Finally, at mine and my husband’s birthday bowling party at Presidio Bowl — a place known for its extensive beer menu and me known for my extensive beer love — I performed the same party tricks but with far fewer opportunities for scrutiny. I just held the beer, put the beer down, walked away from the beer.

As much as I adored beer and wine and cocktails before my pregnancy, none of this faking it was that hard.

Why? Because my system was totally put off by the mere thought of any kind of booze. Later, my system upped the ante by making the smell of alcohol so unbearable that I even had my husband get rid of all leftovers from a Suppenküche dinner. The vinegar in the Salat mit Karotten, Kraut, Kartoffeln, Rote Beete und Kopfsalat smelled like an old German man was breathing on me after having seven beers and three schnapps, and I was having none of it.

It’s fascinating how your body protects you.

Next time: are there any palatable non-alcoholic wines out there? I do the research for you.

Pregnant Pause: Faking It 19 February,2009Stephanie Lucianovic

  • I don’t know if I would even bother with N.A. wines, Stephanie. Ariel and the other brands are a little too depressing to consider.

    When a good friend of mine was pregnant with her first child, I got her six bottles of Navarro grape juice. Three Pinot Noir and three Gewürtztraminer. It’s been a while since I’ve had them, but they are nowhere near as cloying as the Welch’s variety. They’ve got some good acidity going on.

    The come in wine bottles, are to be drunk in wine glasses, but do not pretend to be anything other than juice.

    Also, in terms of cocktails or (eew) mocktails, whenever I ask a pregnant woman in my restaurant care if she’d like something other than water and she says yes, I bring her one of our bartenders’ concoctions in a martini glass, suggesting that sometimes people simply miss holding one, and that it’s great fun shocking neighboring diners.

  • sam breach

    Firstly – you had us fooled. I even switched from wine to Boddingtons *when I saw you* drinking Boddingtons at your birthday party. Yes, I was fooled hook line and sinker.
    Secondly – you’re right this ‘breach’ has absolutely nothing to do with wine slapping across your lips.

  • Oh, I’m well aware of the Navarro juice — we got a case of it before I knew I was pregnant — but don’t like it unless it’s cut with soda water, which is how Nopa does it. However, I do like their Verjus; far more happily sour for my taste. I already did “waste my time” with N/A wines, since I was curious and like to try things for myself, but as I said, that’s for next time.


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for,, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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