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Eat. Train. Race. Travel.

Welcome to Athlete Food - our continuous adventure to seek out healthy food around the globe and at our own dinner tables. Hope you are inspired to get on a plane or get out the plates and cook a healthy dinner tonight!

Whipped Cream, Athlete Food or Special Occasion Treat?

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I spoke to Bec the Monday after the Wildflower Triathlon, and after asking--“How are you?”—she blurted out: “Guess what they served after the race? Pound cake, berries, and whipped cream.” 

Last spring I tried unsuccessfully to lobby Bec on the idea of a whipped cream and berries post. The pros, I said, are that it’s low sugar and extremely delicious. Bec’s con was that she would choose plain Greek yogurt, for its higher protein and calcium contents, over whipped cream, except on a holiday or other special occasion. For an athlete, she contended, it’s just not everyday food. 

To clarify, at Wildflower they understandably served the squirt bottles of ready made whipped cream. And to clarify further, there is always a bottle of Reddi-wip in the back of my fridge, for whipped cream emergencies. But what I was talking about last spring is the heavy cream that you whip yourself. 

The taste is elemental and luxurious. A stand mixer whips cream in a few short minutes. Whipping it by hand requires a few seemingly longer minutes plus endurance and determination; if you are reading this, I assume you have both. 

To get back to whipped cream as everyday food, it’s probably not something that should be in my daily diet, either, so I limit myself to buying one bottle of the very best cream I can find per week. (Here in Nashville, I seek out 16-ounce bottles of Atlanta Fresh.) I whip half the bottle, divide the cream into two bowls, and add a teaspoon of sugar to half for the kids and leave the other half unsweetened for myself. The cream lasts two or so days in the fridge. When it gets too watery to re-whisk, usually on day three, I whip the other half. 

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After the kids go to bed, I’ll dip whole berries into a bowl of cream or spoon a bit onto granola. With a ramekin of whipped cream on hand for dipping, my kids will eat the minimally sweetened pancakes and waffles me and my husband prefer, without even realizing that I was a miser with the sugar. 

As for Bec, well, I can’t imagine her squirting canned whipped cream into her mouth, even after a 70.3-mile race through the mountains, but she has bought a carton or two of fresh cream since the Wildflower. A few dollops topped her Mother’s Day strawberry pancakes; she has swapped it in for ice cream after dinner once or twice; and she confessed plans for old school ice cream sundaes after an upcoming race.

If you need instructions for how to whip cream, I will assume that you have never done it, and send you to Martha Stewart so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I use a lot less sugar than Martha does, none for me and 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of cream for my kids. The only instruction I will add is this: stay close to the mixer when the cream is thick enough so that the whisk starts to leave tracks as it turns. If you whip too far beyond that point you will end up with butter, which is another food I’ve been trying to sell to Bec as an everyday food…in high-quality moderation, of course. --Melissa

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