Conservative peer Baroness Jenkin of Kennington has apologised after saying "poor people don't know how to cook".
Lady Jenkin was speaking in Westminster at the release of a report into the rising use of food banks in Britain.
The parliamentary inquiry - which she was part of - was set up to understand the extent and spread of hunger, food poverty and its causes.
Lady Jenkin later said she made a "mistake" and had meant that society had lost its ability to cook.
The all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger in the UK, undertaken by Conservative and Labour MPs and church leaders, said many families are one unexpected bill away from financial crisis.
It used analysis of food bank usage as a way of determining the problem.
Downing Street said it would consider the report "seriously".
Speaking at the launch of the report, the Conservative peer - who is married to Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin - said hunger stemmed in part from the disappearance of the knowledge needed to create cheap and nourishing meals.
"We have lost our cooking skills," she said. "Poor people don't know how to cook.
"I had a large bowl of porridge today, which cost 4p. A large bowl of sugary cereals will cost you 25p."
Baroness Jenkin later clarified her remarks on BBC Radio 4's World at One programme, and apologised if she caused offence.
She said: "I made a mistake. Obviously I was stupidly speaking unscripted.
"What I meant was as a society we have lost our ability to cook, or that no longer seems to be handed down in the way that it was in previously in previous generations.
"Life is considerably cheaper if you are able to cook."