Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

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W. W. Norton & Company, Dec 5, 2011 - Business & Economics - 238 pages
4 Reviews

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

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."

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User Review  - dele2451 - LibraryThing

Being an experienced cook and farmer, I always wondered how grocery stores could afford to sell extra virgin olive oil at such low prices. Thanks to Mr. Mueller I now know the answer and the news isn't pretty. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - liz.mabry - LibraryThing

The time came due for it to be returned...and I don't think I'll check it out again. The first 35 pages were fine, but I really don't like olive oil, and perhaps that's why it didn't grip me. Read full review



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About the author (2011)

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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