Aaron “Bunny” Lapin, America’s “Whipped Cream King” who invented Reddi-Wip, died a multimillionaire on this date in 1999. Lapin, a master of commercial misspelling, developed “Sta-Whip” as a vegetable-oil alternative to cream during the food rationing era of World War II, then used real cream to create Reddi-wip in 1948. He contracted with milkmen to deliver it in the St. Louis area before achieving nationwide distribution in 1954. The canned whipped-cream product used a fluted aerosol valve that Lapin invented, and nitrous oxide as a propellant gas, which is why Reddi-wip also became known as “Giggle-wip” when kids started sucking the nitrous oxide to get high. Lapin’s birthday, January 5, is National Whipped Cream Day in America. In 1998, Time magazine called Reddi-wip one of America’s 100 greatest consumer products — alongside Spam and the pop-top can. As we say in Yiddish, De gustibus non est disputandum — there’s no accounting for taste.
“Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.” —Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory