It’s no secret that Americans like to eat – particularly at restaurants. Just last spring Bloomberg reported that Americans now spend more on dining out than they do on groceries.

However, companies such as Plated and Blue Apron are trying to encourage more Americans to eat-in. They deliver meal kits to customers’ homes which offer step-by-step instructions to assemble the box of ingredients. As Forbes describes it,

“Blue Apron’s approach, the meal kit, offers the convenience of delivery while keeping home cooks in the kitchen. The precisely portioned dinners minimize waste and allow consumers to try ingredients they might not otherwise buy, at a price they’d have trouble matching–roughly $10 per meal per person. …

Blue Apron is tapping a rich vein. Americans spend $1 trillion each year on food, about $400 billion of that on dinner, but they’re not spending as much time as they used to cooking the food themselves. Less than 60% of dinners eaten at home are cooked there, according to a recent study by market research firm NPD Group, down from 71% in 1985.”

While meal kits like these may be great for convenience, they’re a bit of a sad indictment on our culture. Have we indeed strayed so far from tradition that Americans don’t even know how to make their own food anymore? Are we so busy that we don’t have time to create something with our own hands that can serve our friends and families and bring them closer together in the bonds of community?

Image Credit: Paula Reed Nan Carrow