Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had the audiobook. I have to admit if I hadn’t had several hours of driving, I would have maybe had a hard time making it through the whole book — there is a lot of olive oil and crime in this book. But the olive oil history, the comparisons with wine, and even the battle make sure that extra virgin is really extra virgin (and not cut with pumice oil, or even cottonseed or sunflower!) was interested. There was just lots of that battle. I did need a break from the road, and right as I finished the book, I pulled into a Whole Foods and spent about 15 minutes staring at all the olive oil!
There were lots of interesting tidbits, and I was most fascinated with the oleocanthal that is in true extra virgin. It gives a “post-taste” burn in the very back of the throat, and it is an anti-inflamatory compound that inhibits activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, a pharmacological action shared by ibuprofen! I got home, and we had lots of olive oil with dinner, and I was quite happy to get the peppery taste and then the “slight back of the throat burn” — our extra virgin is definitely fresh extra virgin! (For more on this, check out http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/01/…
Fun book, but if you can’t “power through” (or have several hours of driving), it could be a bit overwhelming and hard to finish.