A sweetbread is the thymus gland of lamb or calf, but in cookery, veal sweetbreads only are considered. It is prenatally developed, of unknown function, and as soon as calf is taken from liquid food it gradually disappears. Pancreas, stomach sweetbread, is sold in some sections of the country, but in our markets this custom is not practised. Sweetbreads are a reputed table delicacy, and a valuable addition to the menu of the convalescent.
A sweetbread consists of two parts, connected by tubing and membranes. The round, compact part is called the heart sweetbread, as its position is nearer the heart; the other part is called the throat sweetbread. When sweetbread is found in market separated, avoid buying two of the throat sweetbreads, as the heart sweetbread is more desirable.
Sweetbreads spoil very quickly. They should be removed from paper as soon as received from market, plunged into cold water and allowed to stand one hour, drained, and put into acidulated, salted boiling water, then allowed to cook slowly twenty minutes; again drained, and plunged into cold water, that they may be kept white and firm. Sweetbreads are always parboiled in this manner for subsequent cooking.