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Sweetbread is a culinary name for the
thymus The thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''or ...
(also called throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) or
pancreas The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system The human digestive system consists of the human gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion (the tongue, salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallb ...
(also called stomach, belly or gut sweetbread), typically from
calf A calf (plural calves) is a young domestic cow or bull. Calves are reared to become adult cattle or are slaughtered for their meat, called veal Veal is the meat of calves, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced fro ...
(''ris de veau'') and lamb (''ris d'agneau''). The "heart" sweetbreads are more spherical in shape, while the "throat" sweetbreads are more cylindrical in shape. As the thymus is replaced by fibrous tissue in older animals, only pancreatic sweetbreads come from
beef Beef is the culinary name for meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, she ...
and
pork Pork is the culinary name for the meat of a domestic pig The domestic pig (''Sus scrofa domesticus'' or only ''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or simply pig when there is no need to distinguish it from other pigs, is a large, D ...

pork
.Herbert W. Ockerman, Conly L. Hansen, ''Animal By-Product Processing & Utilization'', 2000, , p. 65–66, 271 Like other edible non-muscle from animal carcasses, sweetbreads may be categorized as ''
offal Offal (), also called variety meats, pluck or organ meats, is the Organ (anatomy), organs of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of edible organs, which varies by culture and region, but usually excludes muscle. Offal ...
'', ''fancy meat'', or ''variety meat''. Various other
gland A gland is a group of cells in an animal's body that synthesizes substances (such as hormone A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any member of a class of signaling molecules in multicellular organisms, that are tra ...
s used as food may also sometimes be called "sweetbreads", including the
parotid gland The parotid gland is a major salivary gland in many animals. In humans, the two parotid glands are present on either side of the mouth and in front of both ears. They are the largest of the salivary glands. Each parotid is wrapped around the man ...
("cheek" or "ear" sweetbread), the
sublingual gland Sublingual (List of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions, abbreviated SL), from the Latin for "under the tongue", refers to the pharmacological route of administration by which substances diffuse into the blood through Tissue (biology), tis ...
s ("tongue" sweetbreads or "throat bread") as well as
ovary The ovary is an organ found in the female reproductive system that produces an ovum. When released, this travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus, where it may become fertilized by a sperm. There is an ovary () found on each side of the bo ...
and testicles. One common preparation of sweetbreads involves brining, soaking in salt water, then Poaching (cooking), poaching in milk, after which the outer membrane is removed. Once dried and chilled, they are often breading, breaded and frying, fried. They are also used for stuffing or in pâtés. They are grilled in many Latin American cuisines, such as in the Argentina, Argentine asado, and served in bread in Turkish cuisine. The word "sweetbread" is first attested in the 16th century, but the etymology of the name is unclear. "Sweet" is perhaps used since the thymus is sweet and rich-tasting, as opposed to Umami, savory-tasting muscle flesh. "Bread" may come from ''brede'', "roasted meat"''Oxford English Dictionary'', 2nd edition, 1989, ''s.v.'' "brede" or from the Old English ''brǣd'' ("flesh" or "meat").


See also

* Head cheese, or brawn: typically, meat from the head of a calf or pig


References

Offal {{meat-stub