The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil
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."
- April 2013
- 5.5 × 8.3 in
/ 288 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.
Endorsements & Reviews
“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
“Mueller builds a convincing case for olive oil as one of the most miraculous and versatile substances in all of nature. . . . Passionately written yet clear-headed.” — USA Today
“Tom Mueller is, in turn, chemist, explorer, scholar and bard, infusing the narrative with a sense of wonder.” — Times Literary Supplement
“Extra Virginity may make you reconsider the extra you’re paying for ‘extra.’” — Wall Street Journal
“The New Yorker writer does for his subject what Susan Orlean did for orchids.” — Columbus Dispatch
“... [Extra-Virginity] does for olive oil what Eric
Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation did for hamburgers.
Mueller traces the history of this valuable product from
antiquity to the present, but the really disturbing part is
his expose of the inferior quality control and outright
fraud among today’s’ oil producers.” — Hollywood Reporter
“Starred review. Engrossing history, vivid contemporary reporting and a cogent call to action, expertly blended in an illuminating text.” — Kirkus Reviews