Whipping up a crisis to match COVID and climate change

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‘I mainline on whipped cream several times a day’

OVER HERE IN THE USA we’re doing it tough: the COVID-19 Delta variant consumes the unvaccinated, floods swamp the Eastern seaboard while wildfires torch the West. Meanwhile, half a world away, we quit Afghanistan leaving the Taliban to traumatise the nation we vowed to protect.

We desperately need a soothing moment, but I’m here to tell you that there exists another crisis of which  you might not even be aware.

THERE IS A NATIONAL SHORTAGE OF CANNED WHIPPED CREAM!

Trust me on this. As someone who mainlines whipped cream by mouth several times a day, who times his trips to the local wholesale hyper market according to how low his refrigerator is getting on cans of Land O’ Lakes whipped cream, I can tell you that this ambrosia of the gods is in short supply for all brands but Reddi-wip.

Now, the red and white Reddi-wip canister is the gold standard to many. It was the whipped cream of my childhood, enjoyed on ice cream and the My-T-Fine chocolate pudding that my mother prepared on our stovetop (licking the chocolate streaks left on the inside of the pot was an added treat).

Reddi-wip: no shortages here but too expensive for my taste!

As I grew older I rarely enjoyed whipped cream. Until 1998, that is, when my medico wife Gilda and I flew to Prague where I was delivering a conference speech. She informed me we would immediately begin adhering to the Atkins high protein/carbohydrate-free diet as a means of controlling my high cholesterol and triglycerides. Henceforth, she announced, we would abstain from bread, pasta, potatoes and especially cakes and cookies. Instead I would eat nuts, eggs, cheese, chicken, fish and meat.

Now, Prague is a place known for its pastry delights. I would be less than honest if I claimed not to have partaken of the local delicacies during our week in the Czech Republic. Once home, however, we followed Atkins in earnest, at least as far as cakes, bread and pastries went. As I wasn’t on the diet to lose weight, I added fruit and vegetables to my diet.

My breakfast for almost a quarter of a century has therefore consisted of a piece of cheese or hard boiled egg along with a mixture of nuts and fruit slathered in gobs and gobs of whipped cream, one of the few indulgences Atkins permits. That three-pack of Land O’Lakes whipped cream has become a staple of my wholesale purchases.

Until one month ago. Repeated trips to several wholesalers revealed refrigerators devoid of my favourite whipped cream. When I sought an alternative in local supermarkets, no private label brand was available, only the higher-priced Reddi-wip.

The reporter in me smelled a story. I Googled ‘whipped cream shortage’. Nothing current showed up so I made an inquiry directly to Land O’ Lakes, asking if they had ceased supplying their product. To my surprise, a response came back almost instantly: “Land O’ Lakes Whipped Cream has not been discontinued, but due to production delays, we have not been able to deliver this item to your local retailers recently. However, this item will be back in stores sometime soon.”

Unspecified “production delays,” which I suspect can be traced to nitrous oxide supply problems – it happened once before around Christmas 2016 – not just at Land O’ Lakes but at other producers (except industry leader Reddi-wip!).

If you’ve read this far in my whipped cream saga you should by now fully appreciate, and perhaps deprecate, my obsession with whipped cream.

But keep this in mind: whipped cream and the Atkins Diet have helped me reduce my cholesterol and triglyceride levels to acceptable – I might even say excellent – levels.

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