Researchers at Minnesota University discovered that singing “Happy Birthday” or praying before a meal makes you experience food as more flavorful. In their study, recently published in Birthday Cakes Monthly Psychological Science, the researchers told subjects exactly how to unwrap and eat chocolate — and those subjects reported enjoying the treat more than people could just gobble it up however they wanted. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL:

A second experiment using carrots found that the anticipation of eating the vegetable following a ritual improved their taste, with people enjoying them more the longer they waited to eat them.

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How about never? If I wait forever to eat carrots, they’ll taste AMAZING!

In the final experiments the researchers showed that watching someone else methodically mix lemonade does not make it taste any better, suggesting that personal involvement is key.

OH WEIRD. Science shows watching someone else make lemonade is boring. Well, duh. That’s why the saying isn’t “When life gives you lemons, hand them off to your pal and simply observe the liquefying process.”

In all seriousness, the findings basically support the tenets of slow food: taking the time to acknowledge where your food comes from and the hands that harvested it, and ideally having some of those hands be your own. Whether or not you’re religious, taking a second to be grateful is never a bad thing. (Like we needed science to tell us that!)

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You might think this research is irrelevant, but the scientists say it may lead to further study about the effect of rituals on recovery from surgery. So before your next quadruple bypass, see if someone will sing you “Happy Birthday.”

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