Are an extravagance there is this practical answer: Any meal costs time, money and labor. If the homemaker saves time and labor she may have to spend more money, though this is a point about which there is much discussion.
But to judge fairly of this increase (if increase it be) you must consider what it represents. A can of baked beans, for instance, is ready for immediate serving after only five minutes of heating. To prepare the same dish at home, one must soak the beans overnight, must take time to order pork from the butcher and must spend six to eight hours' fuel to cook it.
To make the equivalent of a can of boned chicken, it is necessary to procure a chicken, prepare it for cooking, cook it for an hour or two and finally remove the meat from the bones. In some cases the cost of the raw materials equals the cost of the canned product.
Remember then that though prepared goods do not replace raw materials for use day in and day out (unless time and labor have a higher money value, as in the case of a business woman) they are more than worth while to the average housewife to break the monotonous routine of cookery.