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1 Home & Garden Cooking and Food- Gastronomic Literature

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil Cover

ISBN13: 9780393070217
ISBN10: 0393070212
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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."

Review:

"Italy resident Mueller, who wrote a piece on olive oil for the New Yorker, is well-situated to interpose olive oil against the Byzantine ways of its present-day production in this intriguing and sumptuously researched book. He begins in southern Puglia at a small, family-run olive oil business, then examines the vastness of Italian farming and olive production and the ongoing struggle for quality oil making. His history takes readers through Europe and eventually around to California and Australia. The book's organizing conflict centers on current imbalances between trade quality and quantity, and the problematic roles of politics, government, and regulation. Mueller includes specialists in his book from a variety of disciplines, including archeology, classics, and epidemiology. Interspersed historical material follows the oil's thread out of Mediterranean antiquity through subsequent civilizations and imperiums, into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Mechanization during the Industrial Revolution, Mueller points out in this engaging story, accelerated production and consumption, but now the industry is plagued by questionable developments that are fortunately offset by the growing artisanal trade." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

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

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About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Matt S, January 10, 2013 (view all comments by Matt S)
It will make you rethink the oil in your cupboard!
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peter in port, March 29, 2012 (view all comments by peter in port)
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is an essential ingredient in Italian cuisine, and the cuisines of a lot of other Mediterranean cuisines. There was quite a lot I did not know about olive oils before I read this book. The book even helped me understand my grandparents' own peculiar feelings about cooking with olive oil versus animal fats, which they abhorred. You see my grandparents were from the section of Italy known as Apulia, (the heel of the boot) which has been for centuries, and is today the epicenter of the olive oil world. Not only are massive amounts of olive oil produced in Apulia, but it is also an area where olive oil is often mixed with inferior oils for fraudulent purposes. Tom Mueller visits the subject of corruption in the olive oil industry, which is rife, and the various kinds and classifications of olive oil, the history of olive oil, how it influenced ancient Greek culture, how it was used not merely as foodstuff, but as a cosmetic, a skin treatment, a lubricant, a fuel, a religious ritual and a cultural icon. Mueller could have used a better editor, as I found the organization of the book a little confusing, but nonetheless it was a fascinating read. Highly recommended for any foodie.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780393070217
Author:
Mueller, Tom
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
History
Subject:
Cooking and Food-Historical Food and Cooking
Subject:
Cooking and Food-General
Publication Date:
20111231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
25 black-and-white illustrations
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » New Arrivals

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil Used Hardcover
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$15.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393070217 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Italy resident Mueller, who wrote a piece on olive oil for the New Yorker, is well-situated to interpose olive oil against the Byzantine ways of its present-day production in this intriguing and sumptuously researched book. He begins in southern Puglia at a small, family-run olive oil business, then examines the vastness of Italian farming and olive production and the ongoing struggle for quality oil making. His history takes readers through Europe and eventually around to California and Australia. The book's organizing conflict centers on current imbalances between trade quality and quantity, and the problematic roles of politics, government, and regulation. Mueller includes specialists in his book from a variety of disciplines, including archeology, classics, and epidemiology. Interspersed historical material follows the oil's thread out of Mediterranean antiquity through subsequent civilizations and imperiums, into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Mechanization during the Industrial Revolution, Mueller points out in this engaging story, accelerated production and consumption, but now the industry is plagued by questionable developments that are fortunately offset by the growing artisanal trade." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The sacred history and profane present of a substance long seen as the essence of health and civilization.
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