Friday Food Definition: Sweetbread

This week’s Friday Food Definition, inspired by a meal at Parkside I shared with Jamie last night, is sweetbread.

Let me set the scene for you. We are having dinner at Parkside before seeing Anthony Bourdain at the Paramount. There is an Anthony Bourdain special where if you order the veal tongue, you can choose between a blond pate or lamb sweetbread over mascarpone raviolli (pictured below).

sweet bread over mascarpone raviolli
Looks so innocuous doesn’t it?

We were chewing on the sweetbread which was breaded and fried when Jamie, who wasn’t aware what we ordered, asked what kind of meat this was.

I replied, “I think this is the sweetbread.”

“No, I’m asking about the meat?”

“I think sweetbread is a body part. I think…… it may be part of the pancreas?” I didn’t tell Jamie that I have this floating in my memory from reading Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter series years and years ago. I also didn’t want to tell her because this memory was very cloudy and I needed to confirm it.

This morning, I did some clicking around to confirm what sweetbread is and sure enough, I’m pretty close.

As taken from Wikipedia:

Sweetbreads are the thymus (throat sweetbread) and the pancreas (heart or stomach sweetbread), especially of the calf and lamb (although beef and pork sweetbreads are also eaten).

So there we have it. Just like cream of tartar is not creamy, sweetbread is neither sweet nor bready but can be breaded.

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