Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce recipe

It’s that time of year again when we look back and take stock, see what we’ve learned. A lot of it was about food, naturally. So we collected the top 10 food and cooking questions that resonated on Chowhound in 2019.

Some were very of-the-moment (concerning air fryers and keto snack staples), while others were eternally pressing issues (like “Will sprouted potatoes kill you?” and “Can you swap brown and white sugar?”). One involves a shocking origin story and another delves into the surprisingly passionate responses people have to ketchup.

Related Reading: Chowhound’s Top 100 Kitchen Gadgets, Cookbooks & Pantry Staples

From general kitchen wisdom to specific questions about ingredients and methods, these are the things you were most interested in this year.

Here’s to learning new things, and staying curious!

1. Is Getting an Air Fryer Worth the Investment?

Is an air fryer worth it?


It’s the modern appliance that threatens to unseat the Instant Pot as top holiday gift/counter space hog. And it’s only natural to want to know if you really need one. So find out once and for all: Is getting an air fryer worth it?

2. Should You Buy Your Steak at Costco?

filet mignon recipe


Costco is a wonderland, full of keto-friendly food in bulk, fabulous frozen finds, and splurge-worthy treats from great Champagne to entire legs of jamón, but there’s a needling question we’ve wrestled with…Should you buy Costco steak?

Related Reading: The 15 Biggest Food Fights of the Last Decade

3. When Should You Use the Lid on Your Grill?

bet grilling BBQ cookbooks

Huw Jones / Photolibrary / Getty Images Plus

This one really popped in summer (no surprise), but there’s no law that says you can’t keep cooking out in winter, even in colder climes. At any rate, it’s a good basic life skill to know: When should you open and close the grill lid?

4. Does It Matter Whether You Use a Glass or Metal Baking Dish?

best baking pans and bakeware

Apichat Thongmalai / EyeEm / GettyImages

Knowing the pros and cons of baking with different materials makes every batch of brownies, baked salmon dinner, and pan of roasted veggies that much better. So find out: Is it better to use glass or metal baking dishes?

Related Reading: Should You Line Your Pan with Parchment or Silicone Baking Mats?

5. Are Sprouted Potatoes Poisonous?

are sprouted potatoes poisonous?

Jenny Dettrick / Moment / Getty Images

You’ve likely heard that sprouted potatoes can kill you, but is it an old wives’ tale or scientific fact? Even if you think you know the answer, it’s always safe to double-check before you start peeling eye-studded spuds for that next vat of mashed potatoes. Settle it: Can sprouted potatoes kill you?

6. Should You Rinse Meat Before Cooking It?

should you rinse meat before cooking it?

Manny Rodriguez/Getty Images

This is another food safety issue, and you’ve probably heard both sides of the debate presented as absolute, immutable kitchen gospel—but only one camp is actually correct. If you’re not sure, find out: Should you rinse raw meat before you cook it?

7. What Are Fat Bombs?

no bake energy ball and energy bite recipes


As keto has entered the mainstream consciousness, people have had lots of questions about it (like “What is Bulletproof coffee?” and “What’s the difference between keto and Atkins?”), but this was the one that topped our charts. If you’ve yet to be acquainted with them, find out: What are fat bombs (and how do you make them)?

Related Reading: The Top 10 Friday Food Finds of 2019

8. What Is the Origin of the Word Cocktail?

vermouth and sherry cocktail recipe


An oldie but a goodie, we dug a little deeper and refreshed this with some new knowledge earlier this year. Read it immediately and be sure to whip out the anecdote at your next cocktail party or holiday happy hour. Do you think you know the origin of the word cocktail?

9. Are Brown and White Sugar Interchangeable When Baking?

are brown and white sugar interchangeable in baking?

Michelle Patrick / EyeEm / Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, this saw a recent surge as everyone was doing their holiday baking, but it’s good to know the answer all year round. So see how it shakes out: Can you use brown sugar instead of white sugar in baking (and vice versa)?

10. Why Does Ketchup on a Hot Dog Piss People Off?

hot dog on bun with ketchup and mustard


And were you aware that it does? Oh, boy. Discover the truth: Why do some people hate ketchup on hot dogs?

Header image by Chowhound

Jen is an editor at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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