Dunce In The Kitchen? If You Can’t Make It, At Least You Can Fake It

The gap between tying on your apron springs and producing a family feast from scratch after a few hours and slapping down some fast food on the table and calling it dinner is narrowing. That’s good news for anyone who likes the idea of a homemade meal but isn’t exactly Julia Child in the kitchen, and it’s partly due to some crafty research by the big food companies.

See, packaged-food companies like Kraft and Bumble Bee Foods have been tapping into the problems plaguing consumers, and have figured us out, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The result? Products that can be simply combined into full meals that have that homemade feel, but don’t take all the time and energy of a more traditional effort. There’s still enough “cooking” involved, however, to not instill that cheating feeling in consumers.

To wit: Kraft spent 18 months working on its new Recipe Makers products, which include at least two sauces mixed together with fresh ingredients. Those two sauces are important, as only having one step or fewer ingredients doesn’t make it feel as homemade, the company’s research showed.

Bumble Bee’s recent launch of its Bumble Bee SuperFresh frozen seafood works along similar lines — fish comes wrapped in parchment paper for steam-cooking that is pretty hard to mess up. It cuts down on work but still has enough to do so the prepare feels involved.

In other words: They’re helping us fake it if we can’t make it. Make me chop a few things, prepare a few ingredients and actually cook it on the stove and I may as well be Mrs. Child.

The Art of Almost Homemade [Wall Street Journal]