On your special day, the cake emerges, all adorned with lit candles and groups of friends and family (and strangers, if you’re at a restaurant), embarrass you for about 60 seconds as they belt out the well-known tune. You make a silent wish and blow the candles out and the cake is then, at last, served.
Food rituals like this one, it turns out, actually help us to better appreciate the flavor of the edible treats they are dedicated to. Ritualistic behavior, often coupled with anticipation, psychologists found, alter the way we perceive flavors for the better.
Read the whole story: Smithsonian Magazine