Bad news for anyone who likes to top their hot chocolate with a pillow cloud of whipped cream: According to The Washington Post, a whipped cream shortage may be closing in on us. I know, I know: Could it happen at a worse time of year? No, is the answer. No, it cannot. Because although whipped cream is available year round, it is essential during the holidays to add a little extra je ne sais quois to our pies, hot chocolate, pudding, and more. After all, what are the holidays without a dollop of whipped cream getting on your nose while you're curled up on the couch and watching seasonally appropriate movies?
What's more, the explanation behind the news, while reasonable, is also unexpectedly tragic. “Due to an industry-wide supply issue, there is currently a shortage of some whipped toppings, including Reddi-wip,” Lanie Friedman, a representative for Reddi-wip makers Conagra Foods, told WaPo in a statement on Thursday. An accident that occurred back in August is responsible for this shortage: Two gas tankers, one of which contained nitrious oxide, exploded at an Airgas chemical tank in Florida in the late summer, sadly resulting in the death of one worker. As Megan Friedman explains at Delish, Nitrious oxide is the gas in cans of whipped cream that keep the cream light and fluffy. Unsurprisingly, this tragedy has put an understandable delay on production.
As Ben Guarino explains at WaPo, it does appear that we will not be without whipped cream forever. According to a notice posted by the Purchasing Association of Private Clubs (PAPC) in November, Conagra will begin production of our beloved Reddi-wip again in mid-January 2017; other companies are also expected to follow suit. Of course, whipped cream will still be purchasable in grocery stores across the country; there's no just guarantee that it'll actually be available. Sometimes shortages affect more places than others, as it goes.
It's also worth pointing out that whipped cream is pretty easy to make in your own kitchen. I know, I know; part of the fun of whipped cream is spraying it out of the bottle into your mouth while you're in your pajamas on the couch. But making whipped cream at home can be super tasty and fun. You can even make dairy-free whipped cream for the vegans in your life, as long as you have the right recipe. Why not give it a shot this season?