Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup

That is, on any project, if too many people give orders, the project will fail. Searching for this phrase turns up many references to a short parody video. I tried my search by adding -parody -infomercial.

rollsoffthetongue notes variations such as “too many cooks spoil the… soup, broth, or stew.” They say “this is a very old saying or proverb that exists in many languages. In English, it dates back to at least the 16th century when it first appeared in print,” but do not list the citation.

Phrase Finder lists the phrase as originating in another language but, alas, offers no details. agrees “it was already considered a proverb in 1575.”

RF_alum and I were discussing this phrase when I complained of contradictory comments in a critique of a novel I’m working on. On the plus side, if comments are contradictory I feel justified in doing whatever I want.

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About Ponderer

Ponderer also writes science fiction and science-inspired rhyming poetry. Check her out at She worked at Rocky Flats for 22 years - you may know her as Kathy London.

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