Takeout feeling a little lackluster now that it’s your treat from cooking? Well, even a frozen dinner can taste better with the right ambience: New research finds relaxing background music (think Wynton Marsalis’ “Standards & Ballads”) played at around 30 decibels can increase meal enjoyment by 60 percent, compared to the typical din of restaurant chatter. That’s a pretty low-volume soundtrack—louder than rustling leaves but quieter than chirping birds.
Another study in the journal Food Quality and Preference found brighter lights produce more intense-tasting food for diners, so hit the dimmer when eating spicy Mexican or Indian takeout. Oh, and despite the MSG takeout-freakout of the past (the additive was rumored to cause myriad health issues), a recent report found no merit to the so-called “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”
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