Back when I was a kid, my dad was a big fan of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” He rarely missed an episode.

From what I remember of the show, whenever the Starfleet officers wanted a home-cooked meal while the Enterprise zoomed through space, all they had to do was ask a computer to replicate their favorite meal.  So if they were craving fettuccine alfredo, or a slimy-looking alien food, then the computer would rearrange a few molecules and, poof, the meal would appear.

Believe it or not, we’re getting closer to bringing real-life food replicators into our homes. Engineers have developed 3-D printers that can create candies, pancakes and even pizza (or something edible that resembles pizza) at the touch of a button.

However, until I get a robot in my kitchen, I’m stuck trying to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner tonight. Should I heat up leftovers, fight my way through the long lines at the...