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An inside look at the world of olive oil

March 2, 2012 |  9:00 am

OlivesThe making, buying and selling of olive oil is invariably described as, ahem, a slippery business. That's not the half of it, it turns out. If you're curious about just how slippery, Tom Mueller's "Extra Virginity" offers a smart, well-written crash course. As Food editor Russ Parsons writes in this week's Book Review:

Mueller, a New Yorker writer who lives among olive groves in Liguria, is clearly besotted with great oil. That is a typical reaction from those who have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to the real thing. Great olive oil is beyond mere ingredient. Like great wine, it seems to have a life of its own.

Of course, there's a lot of not-so-great olive oil around too that is very definitely a mere ingredient; olive oil is one of the most widely used cooking fats in the world. And therein lies the rub.

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Photo credit: Miguel Palacios / Getty Images

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