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How Sweetbreads Got Their Name

Burning Question: How Did Sweetbreads Get Their Name?

I recently heard a chef call sweetbreads overrated, and I couldn't agree more. While I'm not opposed to eating offal, I simply don't love this bovine bit in particular. Yet I've always wondered one thing about the ingredient in particular: How did it get its name?

Although the answer isn't definite, the book FYI: Does Size Matter? 15 Questions We Aren't Afraid to Answer lends an important clue. In 1578, the word appeared in the book The historie of man. It read: "A certaine Glandulous part, called Thimus, which in Calues...is most pleasaunt to be eaten. I suppose we call it the sweete bread."

That explains why, the first time I witnessed the word sweetbreads being used, I mistakenly thought they were dessert or breakfast breads. Did you ever fall into the same trap?

Got a burning question? Join the Burning Question group in the YumSugar Community! It's your place to post the most pressing questions about the culinary world.

Source: Flickr User jasonlam

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