Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller
The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

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It is an appalling and comical mess, which Mueller sees largely in terms of honest, hard-working farmers versus slippery businessmen.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The sacred history and profane present of a substance long seen as the essence of health and civilization.


For millennia, fresh olive oil has been one of life's necessities-not just as food but also as medicine, a beauty aid, and a vital element of religious ritual. Today's researchers are continuing to confirm the remarkable, life-giving properties of true extra-virgin, and "extra-virgin Italian" has become the highest standard of quality.



But what if this symbol of purity has become deeply corrupt? Starting with an explosive article in The New Yorker, Tom Mueller has become the world's expert on olive oil and olive oil fraud-a story of globalization, deception, and crime in the food industry from ancient times to the present, and a powerful indictment of today's lax protections against fake and even toxic food products in the United States. A rich and deliciously readable narrative, Extra Virginity is also an inspiring account of the artisanal producers, chemical analysts, chefs, and food activists who are defending the extraordinary oils that truly deserve the name "extra-virgin."
 

About Tom Mueller

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Tom Mueller writes for The New Yorker and other publications. He lives in a medieval stone farmhouse surrounded by olive groves in the Ligurian countryside outside of Genoa, Italy.
 
Published December 5, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 267 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Cooking, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Extra Virginity
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Alex Renton on Jan 13 2012

It is an appalling and comical mess, which Mueller sees largely in terms of honest, hard-working farmers versus slippery businessmen.

Read Full Review of Extra Virginity: The Sublime ... | See more reviews from Guardian

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Russ Parsons on Mar 04 2012

...the reporter in me admires the way he's been able to ferret out and parse so carefully so many of the cheats, both large and small, that make up the other end of the olive oil business.

Read Full Review of Extra Virginity: The Sublime ... | See more reviews from LA Times

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