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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil (2011)
by Tom Mueller
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393070212, Hardcover)Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2011: E.V.O.O. just got a whole lot more complicated. Tom Mueller's Extra Virginity is about as explosive as an expose can get, at least if your subject is liquid fat. The road from tree to table, it turns out, is fraught with corruption, fraud, and laboratory interventions. Mueller shows how and why the trade in adulterated olive oil is about as profitable as the trade in some hard drugs, and with a lot less risk, too. There are equally entertaining detours into olive oil's long history, the politics of regulation and enforcement, and even debates over the best way to taste it (swirl, aerate, spit, or just swig?). All in all, it's a great read not just for foodies, but also for anyone interested in the complexities of global trade and organized crime. --Darryl Campbell
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:14 -0400)
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, the author 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. It is also an 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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