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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil | [Tom Mueller]

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

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?
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (173 )
5 star
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3 star
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Overall
3.9 (150 )
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4.0 (147 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    dr 07-30-12
    dr 07-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well worth the listen - if you eat"
    What did you love best about Extra Virginity?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Extra Virginity?

    the section on oil substitutions and adulterants


    What three words best describe Peter Ganim???s voice?

    bad at accents


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    the slippery side of olive oil


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert des plaines, IL, United States 12-26-12
    Robert des plaines, IL, United States 12-26-12
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    "Great subject, sad story"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 01-24-12
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 01-24-12 Member Since 2002
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    "probably the root cause of caveat emptor"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven 11-22-13
    Steven 11-22-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great history of olive oil"
    What did you like best about Extra Virginity? What did you like least?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-03-13
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    "SHOCKING !"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Extra Virginity to be better than the print version?

    Audio is good everyone should hear this book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason San Francisco 09-23-13
    Jason San Francisco 09-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Oil spoken sensuously >10 per paragraph"
    What disappointed you about Extra Virginity?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Browder Ocala, Fl USA 07-12-13
    Bill Browder Ocala, Fl USA 07-12-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Enlightening"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Jost philadephia 05-14-13
    K. Jost philadephia 05-14-13 Member Since 2012

    k

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    "a sensory delight"
    Where does Extra Virginity rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is one of my favorites


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    find out what you've really been eating


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Niceville, FL, United States 04-01-13
    Heather Niceville, FL, United States 04-01-13 Member Since 2010

    Mother, Wife, Cultural Anthropologist, always a scholar and lover of books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent, keeps your interest!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celeste Chicago, IL, United States 03-25-13
    Celeste Chicago, IL, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Wow! Who knew?!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the apparent curiosity of the main character and how this was inflected by the narrator.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The bit on food law both domestically and internationally.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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