For millennia, fresh olive oil has been a necessity - for food, medicine, beauty, and religion. Today's researchers continue 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 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. Extra Virginity is an inspiring account of the people who are defending the extraordinary oils that truly deserve the name "extra-virgin".
©2012 Tom Mueller (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC
This is an informative book about the olive oil trade. The scams that go on in oil labeling, bottling, and sales will likely shock most readers. Unless you are already well informed about this, the book will give you much needed practical information that will help you make informed decisions about what oil to buy, how to use it, and how not to waste your money.
the section on oil substitutions and adulterants
bad at accents
the slippery side of olive oil
This book is a must-read if you are interested in where your food comes from, how it gets to your plate, and what is in it. Not all food has the same history and contorted path, but the threats are the same. Dilution, mislabeling, adulterating, and blatant cheating.
Like most popular items that carry a premium price - the masses want it cheaper and there are shady businesspeople that are willing to let them think they got a good deal. The power and quality of real olive oil is an amazing story. The artisans that bring it to the table have much history to share. Unfortunately, they are being squeezed out of business and the consumer is getting cheated by the same thing - lack of standards and meaningful rules that tell consumers what is in a product and where it came from so they can make an educated choice.
Hopefully, with more awareness things can be changed and the consumer will know what they are buying and eating.
The only thing I would change is the glossary at the end. This is of limited use in audio format and should be at the very end after the "Tips and Suggestions" for finding, buying, and using real olive oil.
Seems like the chance of actually getting extra virgin olive oil in the high priced bottle you just bought is pretty slim. Surprising to me, the book describes the need to develop an acquired taste to actually enjoy it. Overall, a solid taste of the good, the bad and the ugly in growing olives, pressing them and ultimately selling olive oil.
I enjoyed the first 25% of the book but after the next quarter i found myself fast forwarding to more repetitious chapters. I never finished the book. However for the money, it's worth it to learn this much about the history of olive oil while driving.
Audio is good everyone should hear this book.
Very informative book. I loved the history but I did have a sad reaction to this book. I lost trust in the fact that no matter the integrity of generations, it can all be ruined by greed of a few.
Only got 40 mins into the book before I just couldn't go any further. The story spent so long sucking up to oil with flattering phrases instead of meaningful content that I got sick of it, lost interest, and returned the book.
Opens your eyes to the fraud committed with the majority of EVO on the grocery shelves and the blind eye the regulators turn towards it. Fraud of billions of dollars of either olive oil below extra virgin standards or adulterated with other oils. Not only cheats consumers but penalizes reputable makers by fake EVO below their cost to produce authentic EVO.
Along with showing the corruption in the olive oil industry this books also makes one appreciate the history of olives and the pure joy of tasting good oil.
It is one of my favorites
find out what you've really been eating
This is just a delightful book, with great narration and a fascinating story. I decided to go out and buy an olive oil that was higher grade than my usual grocery store brand oil, and found that there is a significant difference in the taste, color and texture in a better olive oil. Its nice to read a book and get a sense for what the author is trying to explain in your own home. Overall 5-stars!
Mother, Wife, Cultural Anthropologist, always a scholar and lover of books!
I listened to this book in my car and really enjoyed it! Tom Mueller kept the subject fresh and relevant by introducing the reader to the history, and people (globally) that make olive oil the "liquid gold" that we consume. I will never buy a bottle again without reading the label. And I intend to educate myself on the flavor profiles of oil. This book is for the scholar, book-lover, agronomist, economist, traveler, foodie, and the casual cook alike.
Who knoew there was so much politicking going on in the world of olive oil? While I may not go out and start drinking shot glasses full to measure quality, I definitely want to try different flavors on the higher end stuff. Maybe hit an olive-oil bar in CA... Great listen!
I loved the apparent curiosity of the main character and how this was inflected by the narrator.
The bit on food law both domestically and internationally.
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