Why You Should Sing “Happy Birthday” Before Eating The Cake

Gwen Ong July 24, 2013 0

Birthdays are never the same without a cake and there’s a good reason too. 

Birthday cake with candles

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to birthday. I think a cake is one of those prerequisite things to celebrate a milestone in someone’s life. After all, you only ever turn that age once in your entire existence, so there will be cake!

Here’s an interesting read we found about rituals and food. A study from the University of Minnesota discovered that rituals such as saying prayers before meal or singing “Happy Birthday” before cutting/eating the cake can actually deliver some mouth-watering effects.

It seems these rituals actually enhance the flavour of the food we eat. Researchers say that by delaying the meal through the means of a ritual, we build up a greater anticipation of that first bite and get a bigger relief afterwards.

If you think about it, this makes sense. When we practise a bit of self-restraint in our eating habits, we eventually develop a more enjoyable eating process.

In the study, four experiments were conducted to test the theory of enhanced consumption and enjoyment through rituals.

The first experiment was done to test people’s reaction to eating chocolate bars with and without a small ritual beforehand.

One group could eat the chocolate however they like while those under the ritual group had to break the bar in half before unwrapping anything; then once they were done with unwrapping and eating the first half, they were allowed to do the same with the second half.

The findings showed that the ritual group savoured the chocolate more, rated it higher and were actually willing to pay more for the treats.

This type of ritualistic behaviour however aren’t only reserved to special occasions and celebrations. The same effect was found on people eating vegetables, which in this experiment saw the participants eating carrots after performing a set of rituals. Somehow the carrots tasted better to them. But the same outcome was not registered when participants watched someone else mixing a pitcher of lemonade.

This suggests that user participation is key. Researchers called this “intrinsic interest” – we need to feel involved with the ritual in order to personally get that high of eating.

Perhaps, preparing our own meal for cooking or getting your kids involved in cutting vegetables will entice the appetite?

Source: Medical Daily