Poor people are going hungry because they "do not know how cook", a Tory peer has said.
Baroness Jenkin told the launch of a report into food poverty: "We have lost a lot of our cooking skills, and poor people don't know how to cook.
"I had a large bowl of porridge today. It cost 4p. A large bowl of sugary cereal will cost 25p."
She said she was "not all blaming" the poor but said the evidence gathered by the All Party Group on Hunger and Food Poverty found that poor people are often unable to produce nutritious meals from scratch for lack of basic skills.
Baroness Jenkin of Kennington runs the Conservative campaign to get more women in Parliament, Women2Win, and was made a peer in 2011.
She also sits on the House of Lords refreshment committee. That body was criticised after it refused to merge catering services with the House of Commons, because, according to a former Commons clerk, it would mean peers drinking inferior champage.
The report, published this morning, warns that families are being driven to food banks because they lack the skills to shop on a shoestring.
"They may have difficulties budgeting for a week's worth of shopping, as whatever income there might be is devoted to other, non-essential items of expenditure or to paying off debt. Some households may also find it difficult to prepare or cook decent meals from scratch, making them much more likely to rely on ready meals or takeaways," the report said.
It also found some homes provided on housing benefit do not have proper kitchens, and often are equipped just with a kettle or microwave.
The report recommended that budgeting and parenting skills become a part of the national curriculum.
Lady Jenkin later apologised, saying she was speaking unscripted. "I made a mistake. I apologise to anyone offended".
David Cameron said there are "elements" of the report into hunger that the Government will "want to take forward".
Speaking at the Harris City Academy in Crystal Palace, the Prime Minister said: "We will study the report and see what we can forward.
"But it comes at a time when the economy is growing and we are lifting people into work and out of poverty." Downing Street ruled out a review of benefits sanctions.
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said people are going to food banks because they get divorced, ill or addicted drugs, adding it is "ridiculous" to blame the Government.
"It is really rather ridiculous to assume that that every single reason that someone is going to a food bank is down to what the Department for Work and Pensions does.
"The report itself today and other reports are also clear and they show there are often people with very dysfunctional lives, people who have been caught in drug addiction, family breakdown, people who have gone into serious illness that aren’t claiming benefits and come into difficulty. All of these have to be ultimately dealt with by the department," he said. He said that the DWP had dramatically improved on the late payment of benefits.
Lord Nash, an education minister, said the poor required more education in manging their money.
"The key way to reduce dependence on food banks is through education so people are less likely to be (out of) work and they are able to prioritise their funding better and making work pay through our reforms to the benefits system."
In an early victory for the cross-party panel of MPs that produced the report, it was announced that from April teachers will be encouraged to report parents to social workers if children arrive at school hungry, under the Government’s Troubled Families Programme.
The report found that an unknown number of children are going to school unfed "because their parents could not, or would not, wake up to make them breakfast or bring them to the school breakfast club."
It also found the benefit sanctions and delays are leaving people without the money to buy food. But it also noted that the issue of in-work poverty is a growing trend in Western economies, and high inflation has meant that a post-war trend of people spending less of their income on fuel, food and housing has gone into reverse.
The proportion of poorer households' incomes which is swallowed up by housing cost, utilities and food has soared from 31% to 40% between 2003 and 2012, leaving them little margin to cope with emergency expenses, found the inquiry. Inflation has hit the poor harder than more comfortable households, due in part to "rip-off" deals which penalise those who are unable to settle bills by direct debit or pay for services in advance.
The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK found that, since the establishment of the Trussell Trust network in 2004, numbers of emergency food assistance providers have grown to at least 1,500, including 800 food banks - around half of them operated by the trust.
Citing evidence from the trust that its 420 food banks provided help to 913,138 people in 2013/14 - up from 128,697 in 2011/12 - the report said it was "clear that demand for emergency food assistance is increasing, and sometimes increasing dramatically".
It said: "Although practically every respondent to this inquiry has asserted that the food bank movement should not form a new version of a residual or Poor Law kind of welfare state, it became clear from our evidence that food banks are here to stay - for more than the immediate future."
Introducing the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, said the scale of food poverty in Britain is "shocking", but urged politicians not to use the issue as a football ahead of the election.
"Our democratic system is essential and has huge strengths but it is sometimes tricky to work across parties, particularly when there is a large event happening in a few months' time. Party political approaches will not work for an issue like this which has complicated roots and affects our most basic needs. This cannot be a party political issues", he said.
Tim Thornton, the Bishop of Truro, said he was "very concerned" by George Osborne's plans to cut £12 billion from welfare over the next Parliament.
The report found that 4.3 million tonnes of surplus food is discarded by supermarkets and suppliers a year, with just 0.1 per cent given to charity.
In response to the report, supermarkets including Morrisons and Sainsbury's announced they would donate more food to food banks. Waitrose and Asda said they would aim to ban the sending of edible food for energy processing.