In 1948 inventor "Bunny" Lapin invented a new valve with a fluted top that works by tilting to open instead of pressing down, put it on a new kind of seamless aerosol can, filled it will real cream and nitrous oxide as a propellent, and Reddi-Wip was born. In 1998 Time Magazine declared Lapin "one of the century's most influential inventors" for his work. (The valves are now used for other products, like shaving cream and foam insulation). This year, there is a Reddi-Wip crisis due to a shortage of the propellant. According to the Washington Post,
A tragic accident in August triggered the whipped cream shortage. Two gas tankers, as well as a nitrous oxide holding tank, exploded at a loading dock in an Airgas chemical plant in Florida. The explosion killed one worker. A Florida State Fire Marshal told Fox 10 the body of the Airgas employee was found some 50 to 75 feet from the loading bay.
Airgas, the biggest producer, is limiting its shipments to medical uses, as an anaesthetic in dentistry. They are importing nitrous oxide from Europe but it won't be here in time for Christmas.
Reddi-Wip is one of those products that TreeHuggers should avoid in the first place; the cans are a "monstrous hybrid" of plastic and metal that is virtually non-recyclable. Most recycling systems do not accept aerosols. It's also really expensive. One website, ecofrugal living, gives instructions on how to dismember the can so that it can be recycled, but it is a lot of work, requiring tools to separate the plastic from the metal.
It's not like whipping cream is that hard; even I can do it.
- Buy real whipping cream.
- Put it (and bowl) into fridge.
- Whip it. With a mixer, a hand mixer, a stand mixer, a whisk or a beater. Or you can just put it in a mason jar and shake: