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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil Paperback – April 8, 2013
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"100 Million Years of Food" by Stephen Le
A fascinating tour through the evolution of the human diet, and how we can improve our health by understanding our complicated history with food. Learn more
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Mueller reveals the brazen fraud in the olive oil industry and teaches readers how to sniff out the good stuff. --Dwight Garner"
Mueller builds a convincing case for olive oil as one of the most miraculous and versatile substances in all of nature. . . . Passionately written yet clear-headed. "
Tom Mueller is, in turn, chemist, explorer, scholar and bard, infusing the narrative with a sense of wonder. "
Extra Virginity may make you reconsider the extra you re paying for extra. "
The New Yorker writer does for his subject what Susan Orlean did for orchids. "
... [Extra-Virginity] does for olive oil what Eric Schlosser s Fast Food Nation did for hamburgers. Mueller traces the history of this valuable product from antiquity to the present, but the really disturbing part is his expose of the inferior quality control and outright fraud among today s oil producers. "
Starred review. Engrossing history, vivid contemporary reporting and a cogent call to action, expertly blended in an illuminating text. "
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a story of two opposites: first-class quality doing battle with worldwide commodity pricing and big-money subsidies. Mueller, best known for his 2007 exposé on the world of adulterated olive oil in The New Yorker magazine, spent the last four years delving deep into the subject. When the stakes are as large as a rapidly growing, $1.5 billion business in the U.S. alone, it's understandable that Mueller would uncover an undercurrent of shady dealings.
He introduces readers to a cast of characters from around the world. From "hero" archetypes like Paolo Pasquali of Villa Campestri in Tuscany, a former philosophy professor, who spearheads a new system to protect oil from tree to table to villainous players like Domenico Ribatti, whose illegal activity eventually led to a plea bargain in Italian court. Even Mark Twain gets a mention.
Kudos to the well-deserved acknowledgement of Mike Madison's long years of diligence as a small-scale producer of first class oil. I was only disappointed that there was so little mention of many other ardent, honest and ethical growers in California who are toiling to see extra virgin olive oil gain its rightful place on the shelf. I hope Mueller gets to meet some of them before he completes a sequel.
Caroline J. Beck, The Olive Oil Source
What I (gratefully) did get from this book were some great sources to find authentic extra virgin olive oil and a persuasive argument that quality in the product does matter for culinary and health reasons. These are two good reasons to buy Mueller's book. And here's a tip to perspective readers who might, like me, tire of the long passages about Italian oil criminality or semi-cryptic descriptions of olive oil's chemical makeup: you can skip to page 221 of the book where begins Mueller's detailed Appendix, and where you will find all of the information you need to locate, buy and appreciate authentic extra virgin olive oil of any origin. It includes what to avoid as well as how and when to purchase. I have used the information and bought my first Mueller-recommended oil--a Spanish label, Castillo de Canena, that is every good thing that Mueller promised it would be, including crushingly expensive.
Finally, here are a few important things that the reader will get from this book: most extra virgin olive oil sold in the U.S.Read more ›
He should know. Mueller is the investigative author whose 2007 piece in The New Yorker, Slippery Buisness: The Trade in Adulterated Olive Oil, forever changed the discourse about olive oil quality by uncovering plenty of places you wouldn't want your children to go.
Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil is Mueller's first book and, while the title emphasizes the weight and complexity of those words, it's all about people.
Mueller is driven by a profound respect for the dedicated people who make good olive oil and a disdain for the fraudsters and profiteers who have always had their way with us. But much more than just getting in the faces of the good guys and the bad guys, he tells why it matters. And then you get it -- you understand what olive oil really is, and why so many care about it so deeply.
After 256 engrossing pages that go by way too quickly, someone who never contemplated the tin of olive oil on the kitchen counter will know why it has brought out the best, and the worst in people for thousands (yes thousands) of years.
I tore through the book, then went back to the beginning and tore through it again. The only times I paused were to read a passage over to take it in a second time, marveling at Mueller's way with words.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I gave this as a hostess gift with a bottle of organic olive oil. It was very well received.Published 1 day ago by Dani-gal
Book is okay. It's pretty esoteric and gets a little boring. I'll finish it but it'll take me a while. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Broudst
Being an informational book, this was excellent. The problem with it is that it got repetitive. I understand the author's zeal to right the wrongs of the olive oil industry, and... Read morePublished 13 days ago by TruxtonSpangler
So complex, the magical history of olive oil over the centuries. Reminds me vaguely of Tom Robbin's Jitterbug Perfume - fun, entertaining, complicated relationships. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Susan Moore
I found this to be a very interesting read. It also inspired me to do research before purchasing my olive oil to buy and use only the highest quality oil I can find. Read morePublished 19 days ago by HC