Grace makes the meal taste better (and singing improves the birthday cake).

The Telegraph celebrates the effect rituals have on our appetites, with research that shows saying grace makes the meal taste better:

The study, by researchers from Minnesota University, could explain why we have so many unusual customs and quirky habits when it comes to eating and drinking.

Professor Kathleen Vohs, who led the study, said: “Whenever I order an espresso I take a sugar packet and shake it, open the packet and pour a teeny bit of sugar in and then taste.

“It’s never enough sugar so I then pour about half of the packet in. The thing is this isn’t a functional ritual – I should just skip right to pouring in half the packet.”

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.

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.

You have to do it yourself.