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Like an Extra Virgin

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Abstract

In this article, I track the contemporary possibilities for the global circulation of extravirgin olive oil. Recent technoscientific discoveries about the health benefits of extravirgin olive oil combine with narratives about olive oil's “ancientness” and “naturalness” to make it a very successful food commodity in an era of global concern about the risks of “industrial” food. “The Mediterranean” has emerged as a culture area that is defined by food in two realms: in a scientific register (“the Mediterranean Diet”) and in contemporary gustatory discourses of distinction that imagine “the Mediterranean” as a site of delicious, “real” food as opposed to the industrial, processed food of the North Atlantic.

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