Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

ostrich Struthio camelus, the largest of birds, belongs to Africa, where its flesh and eggs have been eaten from early times. Now it has begun to be farmed elsewhere, and its meat is no longer as exotic an item as it used to be.

Its reputation had already had a boost in the 19th century by no less an authority than Charles Darwin. Voyaging round the world in the Beagle and pausing in S. America, he assured his womenfolk at home that he did not have to live on salt beef and biscuit, as they might have imagined, but enjoyed delicacies such as ostrich dumpling. He was, of course referring to the rhea, known by some as the S. American ostrich.