2021 A to Z: Letter W…Weird Holidays

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2021 A to Z: Letter W

is for

National Whipped Cream Day
(January 5)

January 5 is National Whipped Cream Day. How can that be bad?

Whipped cream existed since the 16th century. The earliest recipes for whipped cream date back to Italy in the mid 1500’s. ( It was included in recipes that date back to 1549 in Italy and 1604 in France.)

It was first called whipped cream in 1673, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Though, there is a record of crème fouettée—whipped cream in French—in a recipe book from 1629.

Not actually called “whipped cream” until the late 1600’s in England, early recipes dubbed the confection “snow milk” and recommended beating heavy cream with a willow branch until foamy.

In very old texts, it was referred to as neige de lait in French and neve di latte in Italian. Both translate to milk snow. A 1545 English recipe for “A Dyschefull of Snowe” is a variation on whipped cream. It includes egg whites and rosewater.

This holiday falls on the birthday of Reddi-Wip founder Aaron “Bunny” Lapin (January 5, 1914 – July 10, 1999). Lapin invented Reddi-Wip in 1948, and the holiday celebrates whipped cream’s contributions to the dessert world. 

The world record for the tallest dollop of whipped cream on a mug of hot chocolate is 7 1/4 inches. Melissa Arkin and Casey McLaughlin set the record in 2011.

If you don’t want to whip cream by hand (my favorite thing) although, spraying it out of the Reddi-Whip can at midnight is also quite satisfying) you can have mixologist Jim Meehan show how you can make whipped cream in a cocktail shaker!

A few hints to make your whipped cream experience go, er, smoothly:

  • Put your mixing bowl in the freezer for a while before you start whipping. Heat is the enemy of whipped cream, and when you whip cream, you create friction. Having a cold bowl (and even a cold mixing whisk if you want), will ensure that you get light, fluffy cream in no time.
  • Don’t add sugar or flavoring too early. If you want to add superfine sugar, honey, vanilla, cocoa powder, etc., wait until you’ve whipped the cream a bit and it starts to thicken. How much? There is no exact science, just take a deep breath and ask yourself if it’s thicker than it was when you started. Also, regular sugar can weigh down your whipped cream and make it harder to whip. The solution: use powdered sugar!
  • Once your cream starts to thicken enough that you see your mixing device leaving distinct trails along the way, slow it down a bit and play close attention. There are only two ways to mess up whipped cream: by mixing too little, or too much. Too little and it will be watery. Too much, and you’ll be on your way to butter.
  • Whip your cream until it holds soft peaks. That means, when you lift your mixing utensil out of the cream, you should be able to gently dollop it from your whisk. Not too runny, not too stiff.

Featured image: “W is for Whip” from Digital Synopsis, created by UK based graphic designers Liam + Jord

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