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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oilby Tom Mueller
Synopses & Reviews
New York Times Bestseller
Humans have been perfecting the science of alcohol production for ten thousand years, but modern scientists are only just beginning to distill the complex reactions behind the perfect buzz. In a spirited tour across continents and cultures, Adam Rogers puts our alcoholic history under the microscope, from our ancestors’ accidental discovery of fermented drinks to the cutting-edge laboratory research that proves why—or even if—people actually like the stuff.
From fermentation to distillation to aging, Proof offers a unique glimpse inside the barrels, stills, tanks, and casks that produce iconic drinks. Rogers ventures from the whiskey-making mecca of the Scottish Highlands to the most sophisticated gene-sequencing labs in the world—and to more than one bar—introducing us to the motley characters and evolving science behind the latest developments in boozy technology. He uncovers alcohol’s deepest mysteries, chasing the physics, molecular biology, organic chemistry, and even metallurgy that power alcohol production, and the subtle mixture of psychology and neurobiology that fuels our taste for those products.
With intoxicating enthusiasm, Rogers reveals alcohol as a miracle of science. If you’ve ever wondered how exactly your drink of choice arrived in your glass, or exactly what will happen to you once you empty it, Proof makes an unparalleled drinking companion.
"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.
The sacred history and profane present of a substance long seen as the essence of health and civilization.
An illuminating look at olive oil withand#160;100 recipes from the country's leading authority on the subject.
"Follow a single, microscopic yeast cell down a rabbit hole, and Alice, aka Adam, will take you on a fascinating romp through the Wonderland of ethyl alcohol, from Natures own fermentation to todays best Scotch whiskies—and worst hangovers. This book is a delightful marriage of scholarship and fun." —Robert L. Wolke, author of What Einstein Kept Under His Hat and What Einstein Told His Cook
An illuminating look at olive oil with 100 recipes from the countryand#8217;s leading authority on the subject
Olive oil is more popular than ever, thanks to its therapeutic and preventative effects in treating different diseases, as well as the growing variety of brands and imports available. Nancy Harmon Jenkins, arguably the leading authority on olive oil and the healthy Mediterranean diet, presents more than 100 dishes that showcase olive oil, ranging from soups to seafood to sauces to sweets. Along with favorites like tapenade and pesto, youand#8217;ll find other exciting dishes like North African Seafood Tagine, Oven-Braised Artichokes with Potatoes and Onions, and Quince and Ginger Olive Oil Cake. But this book isnand#8217;t just a collection of hearty and healthful recipes; Jenkins also covers the history and culture of olive oil as well as how to buy it and cook with it. Aand#160;thing of beauty with the stunning photographs of exquisite dishes as well as Jenkinand#8217;s own Tuscan olive tree grove, Virgin Territory captures the delights of making and cooking with olive oil.
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 , 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, 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 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.
Table of Contents
Smell and Taste 133
Body and Brain 160
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