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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oilby Tom Mueller
Synopses & Reviews
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."
"How long have readers been waiting for a book like this? A century? A millennium? Finally, the earth's most poetic food has found its storyteller. Essential, smart, and ridiculously overdue." Bill Buford, author of Heat
"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." New York Times
"Tom Mueller is, in turn, chemist, explorer, scholar and bard, infusing the narrative with a sense of wonder." USA Today
"Extra Virginity may make you reconsider the extra you’re paying for ‘extra.’" Times Literary Supplement
"The New Yorker writer does for his subject what Susan Orlean did for orchids." Wall Street Journal
"[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." Columbus Dispatch
"Engrossing history, vivid contemporary reporting and a cogent call to action, expertly blended in an illuminating text." Hollywood Reporter, Starred review
The sacred history and profane present of a substance long seen as the essence of health and civilization.
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.
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