Thursday, September 9, 2010


Sweetbreads are culinary names for the thymus (throat sweetbread) and the pancreas (heart or stomach sweetbread), especially of the calf (ris de veau) and lamb (ris d'agneau) (although beef and pork sweetbreads are also eaten).

The "heart" sweetbreads are more spherical in shape, and surrounded symmetrically by the "throat" sweetbreads, which are more cylindrical in shape.

One common preparation of sweetbreads involves soaking in salt water, then poaching in milk, after which the outer membrane is removed. Once dried and chilled, they are often breaded and fried. They are also used for stuffing or in pâtés. They are grilled in many Latin American cuisines, such as in the Argentine asado, and served in bread in Turkish cuisine.

The word "sweetbread" is first attested in the 16th century, but the logic behind the name is unclear. However, the etymology of the word "sweetbread" is thought to be of Old English origin. "Sweet" is probably used since the thymus are sweet and rich tasting, as opposed to savory tasting muscle flesh. "Bread" may come from Old English word "bræd" 'flesh.'

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