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Sweetbreads - They're Not Sweet and They're Not Bread

This is one of those things in life where if you know, you know. And if you don't, you're in for a big surprise.

Sweetbreads: They're not sweet and they're not bread. In truth, they're about as far as can be from the delicious cinnamon rolls you may be picturing.


According to Ask Nigella, sweetbreads fall under the category of varietal meats, along with heart, tripe, brains, liver, and kidneys. Also known as offal, it's the all inclusive description for organ (as opposed to muscle) meat.

The term sweetbreads, a subset of offal, usually refers to the thymus or the pancreas harvested from young calves or lambs, occasionally pigs.


Unless you're an adventurous eater or world traveler, you've probably never tasted sweetbreads. They're only popular in some parts of the U.S and aren't commonly found in mainstream American supermarkets. Why? Most likely due to perception. Once you know what's on your plate, it's tough to get past pre-conceived notions!

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