20 December 2011

Today's Read: Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller

Tom Mueller's Extra Virginity takes us deep into the world of olive oil, from producers to tasters, from family farms to supermarkets. Americans are buying it by the gallon, and Western medicine is extolling its health benefits. But something's rotten in the state of olives: What you don't know about the oil will astound you. Look for my review before the end of the year.

"This is what nearly everyone in the world thinks is extra virgin olive oil! This stuff is killing quality oil, and putting honest oil-makers out of business. . . . But olive oil labels all say the same thing, whether the bottle contains a magnificent oil or this schifezza . . . " He pointed the neck of the bottle at me like a gun, then lifted his glasses to read the label. "It says what every olive oil says: 100 percent Italian, cold-pressed, stone-ground, extra virgin . . ."

He shook his head, as if unable to believe his eyes. "Extra virgin? What's this oil got to do with virginity? This is a whore." (p. 5)
Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, by Tom Mueller (Norton, 2011)

Extra Virginity at Powell's
Extra Virginity at Book Depository
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Care 12/20/11, 6:32 AM  

I WANT! I am SOOOOooo curious.

Ana S. 12/20/11, 6:45 AM  

Very curious as well! Olive oil is huge in Portuguese cuisine, so I feel like I should know more about it.

GatheringBooks 12/20/11, 7:06 AM  

Oh dear, such language! Hahaha. I am definitely intrigued - looks like a fascinating read.

Here's our TT over at GatheringBooks:

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 12/20/11, 7:40 AM  

Really looking forward to hearing about this one!

Col (Col Reads) 12/20/11, 8:21 AM  

Taking the AVE from Madrid to Sevilla you travel through miles and miles of olive orchards. I would love to know what's going on behind the scenes. I think I need this one!

caite 12/20/11, 8:31 AM  

A book about olive oil...I must have this!

Laurel-Rain Snow 12/20/11, 8:57 AM  

Oh, I love it! How intriguing and unique...thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

Beth Hoffman 12/20/11, 9:34 AM  

I'm hooked! I cannot wait for your review. Loved the teaser.

Kathy Martin 12/20/11, 10:06 AM  

Sounds fascinating! My teasers are from Lawe's Justice by Lora Leigh and Kaptain Vamp by Joanne Lecuyer. Two very different reads!

Zibilee 12/20/11, 10:38 AM  

Oh, I have to admit that teaser and description really have me hooked, and I can't wait to hear what you think of it!

Daryl 12/20/11, 10:40 AM  

a dear friend, now passed on, hated restaurants that served olive oil in place of butter with the bread/rolls and had no problem vocalizing about it ... thanks for the memory prod!

Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post 12/20/11, 10:55 AM  

I LOVE olive oil! We mix half and half olive oil and real butter for our 'butter' It stays soft like soft margarine in the fridge. Yummy too and good for you. Bertolli's is the best oil to use.

Nan 12/20/11, 10:56 AM  

I've been so upset reading about this book, and look forward to your review. I'm particularly wondering about olive oil labeled 'organic' - wondering if that is more to be trusted.
This situation goes on in the world of honey, too, though I don't know if anyone has written about it. Most honey is adulterated and you have to look really hard to find the real deal.

Sandy Nawrot 12/20/11, 12:16 PM  

Oh man, is reading this going to open a can of worms? I do love my olive oil and will spend big bucks for it. This book scares me for what I don't know!

Unknown 12/20/11, 1:13 PM  

Fab & unique choice of teaser!

Here's my TT:


bermudaonion 12/20/11, 1:55 PM  

I'll be watching for your review. My sister read an article on olive oil and was telling me about it. It sounds like I need to buy all of my olive oil at our olive oil store.

Alice Audrey 12/20/11, 2:35 PM  

This matches stuff I've seen in the paper lately about olive oil.

Marg 12/20/11, 6:40 PM  

I listened to an interview on NPR about this book earlier this week. Sounds like an interesting, and enlightening, read.

Julie P. 12/20/11, 7:59 PM  

Sounds perfect for Weekend Cooking!

Anonymous,  12/20/11, 9:56 PM  

In spite of what this author claims, the overwhelming majority of olive oil on supermarket shelves is labeled correctly; same with honey.

Anonymous,  12/20/11, 11:02 PM  

You'll be happy to know that my instincts were right. I had to google schifezza and it really does translate as crap! :-D

I loved this excerpt!

Michelle 12/21/11, 6:17 AM  

This is one of those scenarios where ignorance is bliss. I don't like to know bad things about food!

Tom Mueller 1/7/12, 3:01 AM  

Thank you, Beth, for a remarkably titillating teaser - I hope your experience w/ the book, and those of your readers, was every bit as riveting throughout!

I'm trying, in a Don Quijote-ish sort of way, to turn this book into a grassroots movement in favor of great olive oil. See www.extravirginity.com for more details. Also, leave a comment about the book, what you trusted, what you weren't convinced by or wanted to know more about. This is an incredibly complex and intriguing industry, moving very fast - definitely work in progress!

All best,
Tom Mueller

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