"[Mueller reveals] the brazen fraud in the olive oil industry and [teaches] readers how to sniff out the good stuff." Dwight Garner, New York Times
For millennia, fresh olive oil has been one of life’s necessitiesnot just as food but also as medicine, a beauty aid, and a vital element of religious rituals. But this symbol of purity has become deeply corrupt. A superbly crafted combination of cultural history and food manifesto, Extra Virginity takes us on a journey through the world of olive oil, opening our eyes to olive oil’s rich past as well as to the fierce contemporary struggle between oil fraudsters of the globalized food industry and artisan producers whose oil truly deserves the name "extra virgin."
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
Prologue Essences 1
1 Olives and Lives 15
2 Oil Bosses 41
3 Olives Sacred and Profane 67
4 The Lovely Burn 89
5 Industrial Oil 111
6 Food Revolutions 131
7 New Worlds of Oil 159
Epilogue Mythologies 203
Appendix Choosing Good Oil 221
What People are Saying About This
From the Publisher
A Best History, Current Events, Contemporary Issues Audiobook of 2012. "[Narrator] Peter Ganim narrates with appropriate surprise, occasional outrage, and always energy and excitement. His excellent Italian and his deep base voice suit the text. His voicing of the many personalities Mueller interviews and even his reading of the glossary at the end are most entertaining...a must listen..." - SoundCommentary "[Ganim's] voice lavishes the descriptions of beautiful landscapes of olive groves and delicious olive-oil-infused cuisine with audible love. He gives studied accents to the global range of olive oil producers, farmers, professors, and wholesalers, according to their country of origin." - AudioFile Magazine Starred review. "Engrossing history, vivid contemporary reporting, and a cogent call to action, expertly blended in an illuminating text." - Kirkus Reviews 3 out of 4 stars. "Mueller builds a convincing case...gives readers the tools to find honestly and lovingly produced product." - USA Today "...engaging story..." - Publishers Weekly "Extra Virginity promises a journey into the 'sublime and scandalous world of olive oil' and delivers on that promise. Readers of this book will never again look at olive oil in the same way." - New York Journal of Books "a sparkling, stylish, sharply observed narrative that entertains and educates." - The Dallas Morning News "Extra-virgin olive oil is glorious, complex and slippery...that's bountifully clear in Tom Mueller's expansive, fascinating exploration...Mueller manages to fuse the poetry and business of olives into a riveting tale that also sheds light on food politics more broadly. The growing legion of olive oil aficionados are destined to adore it, especially the useful index telling them how and where to buy." - Macleans "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
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