Soup design

Everyone likes good design, but most people don't know how to design
Cover image for the article Soup design

Everyone likes good design. But I think that people generally underestimate its importance. Most people don't know how to design, just like most people don't know how to cook.

Design blindness

Many people have "design blindness". They benefit from good design and suffer from bad design, but they don't realise that: a) design sense is very important (design affects every aspect of your life), and b) they don't have a good design sense.

This situation makes me think of someone dining at a fine Japanese restaurant. This person can tell that he likes the soup's presentation and taste. But the person has no idea about: a) how to make the food, or b) why he likes the food. If asked why he likes it, the person would say the food "tastes great" or "has a salty flavour".

Regarding interior design, I am currently sitting in a room in a house on the coast of England that I designed over several months. After my changes, I would say that the room had a sense of ordered minimalism. There were few broken visual lines, symmetries, with an emphasis on solid wood and fabric. The room was ordered, uncluttered, and calm.

Other people using the house really liked how the room was after I changed it. Yet that didn't stop them from accidentally making the room into a cluttered mess.

Perhaps attracted by the free space, they added items that grate against the room and its furniture. This includes a rectangular, shiny plastic floor mat, which they placed over the ornate, fine red carpet with the aim of "stopping the carpet from wearing out".

They added a pile of cardboard, which blocks a mahogany bookshelf's carved wooden branches. And a bulbous plastic printer now sits on what was a smooth pine table top, with paper boxes splayed around it.

This design-blindness again reminds me of cooking. Just like an enthusiastic novice chef, a person can keep adding more and more ingredients until the dish's balance is skewed and the soup is much worse than before.

People appreciated the room's design. But, lacking design ability, they changed the room to something that they like less.

Extra: Soup recipe

After I published this article, Gunnar Zarncke commented on my article to add a soup recipe. I haven't tried the recipe. Here's the recipe:

I came expecting - or rather hoping against expectation - more about the design of soups. I like your analogy. And to build on it, I will give an example of a simple soup that just works (at least it gets served for 25 years):

  • dice 1kg carrots (less than 1cm^3) stew shortly with 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some water.
  • dice 1kg potatoes,
  • optional: slice and dice one leek bulb,
  • one spoon of finely cut parsley (can be from a shaker),
  • two tablespoon vegetable stock, and cook with
  • enough water that everything can still easily move around when stirred. Cook until al dente.
  • Add either: 300g meatballs (readymade or from ground meat with one teaspoon of salt and pepper)
  • or: add more spicy vegetables, e.g., diced celery, add pepper, or something else.

Serve with soup noodles and offer additional flavoring for people who like it spicier.