Sweetbread are the thymus or pancreas a young beast, see Sweetbreads. Why it was once considered necessary to make imitation ones is not clear, but receipts occur regularly throughout the 19th Century.
See also: Mock Tripe
Original Receipt from 'Pot-luck; or, The British home cookery book' by May Byron (Byron 1914)
113. MOCK SWEETBREADS (Cheshire)
Take three-quarters of a pound of veal, pass it through a mincer two or three times till it is practically a pulp: add a little suet or bacon very finely shredded or minced, the yolks of two eggs to bind, and a few fine breadcrumbs to give it consistency. Season with a little mace, pepper, and salt: add a little cream or milk to moisten. Make up into the shape of sweetbreads, and brown in good (but not fierce) oven. Serve with gravy.
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