Want a home-cooked meal? It’s in the can

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 11:18 a.m. CDT

NEW YORK (AP) — There’s nothing more satisfying than a home-cooked meal, especially if it comes out of a can or a pouch.

As more people try their hand at mimicking sophisticated recipes from cooking shows and blogs, food companies are rolling out meal kits and starters that make amateur chefs feel like Emeril Lagasse or Rachael Ray in the kitchen.

Call it the next generation of dinner-in-box sets like Rice-A-Roni and Hamburger Helper that were rolled out as moms flooded the workforce in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. But the new kits and starters go beyond just browning meat and throwing evaporated cheese and seasonings into boiling water — the idea is to make people feel like they’re making their meals from scratch.

The companies that make the new starters say it’s too early to make sales projections but the hope is to appeal to the people who want it both ways: a home-cooked meal that doesn’t require much labor. In particular, companies are aiming for those in their 20s and 30s whose cooking skills may be outmatched by their increasingly sophisticated tastes.

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