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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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emu Dromaius novaehollandiae, a non-flying bird of the family Dromaiidae, is indigenous to Australia and is now farmed there (and, more experimentally, in a few other parts of the world). Low (1989) draws attention to the enthusiasm, almost an obsession, displayed by one of the foremost early explorers in Australia, Leichhardt. It is recorded that this intrepid sampler of wild foods used to eat a kilo of emu meat for breakfast, the same for lunch, and almost another kilo for tea. But he did not only eat the meat, for he wrote:

the bones, heads and necks were stewed: formerly, we threw the heads, gizzards, and feet away, but necessity had taught us economy; and, upon trial, the feet of young emus was found to be as good and tender as cow-heel.