If you've ever searched Camera Plus for the exact right filter to make your luscious soft-serve cone really *pop*, you might enjoy eating that creamy concoction more than folks who eschew memorializing their meals.

A new study from University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management suggests that performing a ritual before eating actually makes food taste better. Singing happy birthday, clinking glasses and saying "salud", or the original performance ritual, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, all work to make your food more delicious.

And it doesn't have to be as elaborate as a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, it just has to make you a little more mindful of what you're about to consume:

In one experiment, researchers recruited 52 researchers and told them to eat a chocolate bar; about half were given instructions on a ritual to follow before eating it. They were told, “Without unwrapping the chocolate bar, break it in half. Unwrap half of the bar and eat it. Then, unwrap the other half and eat it.” The others were just told to relax for a bit, and then eat the candy like a regular person. As it turned out, the people who had done the weird little song-and-dance routine before eating the chocolate ended up saying that they enjoyed it more than those who ate the chocolate normally. They also took longer to eat it and said they would pay more for the chocolate. And this doesn’t just apply to candy: similar experiments in the study were done using lemonade and even carrots.

Rituals bring meaning to a meal, and isn't that what we're all searching for? Meaning in this crazy rollercoaster ride called life. Or something.


So, the next time you're about to dig into some celery (YUM!!), maybe take a minute to say thanks to nature for giving you the stringy water stick to devour. Then, say a prayer, say a cheers, snap a photo — and enjoy!


[Photos via Instgram, naturally]