IN A REPORT on the decline of home cooking in busy, busy America, The Wall Street Journal raises the possibility that the term "convenience food" may soon apply only to those things that can be put directly into one's mouth or microwave oven. Everything else is a lot of trouble.

This is because certain rudimentary kitchen techniques are not being passed from mother to daughter anymore; they are not being passed from mother to son or from spouse-equivalent to stepchild either. How rudimentary? Consider a can of corn. The Journal says that when the Pillsbury Co. "removed the directions from its can of corn (put the corn in a pan on a heated burner) it received so many calls from puzzled consumers that it reinstated them." We think those directionsare still a little vague, though. How about the following instead?

Grip can-opener firmly and begin opening procedure as described in owner's manual.

Open only one end of can. Corn will be yellow.

With single motion, empty product into pan and place on stove.

Light burner to begin heating procedure.

Continue until corn is hot. Consult with friends and/or relatives on proper temperature.

If complications arise, call toll-free number at top of label. In event of fire dial "911" where applicable.

"A can of corn" is an old baseball expression for a play that's so easy no one could botch it. No wonder it isn't used much these days.