Steve Jobs: He gave us food for thought.

As one of the news stories about Steve Jobs put it: It’s impossible to overstate the man’s impact.

Jobs, the co-founder of Apple who died Oct. 5 at 56, surely did change the way we talk, write, think, take photos, listen to music, shop, work and play. He also changed much about our relationship with things food-related.

Among the millions of apps we now take for granted are programs for tracking calories, recipes and food-safety recalls. We find new restaurants on iPhones (or the other devices inspired by them). We look up how many tablespoons are in a cup, where the best apples can be found on a given day. Before heading to the farmer’s market, we check the weather and traffic. Some of us rely on grocery list apps to remember the mustard.

Those are the literal manifestations of Job’s genius. There is another, more profound way that the Apple co-founder changed our foodish selves. The swift availability of information has made us better consumers. It’s second nature now to know facts about the food we eat: origins, nutrition, price. Even those of us who do not use the devices Jobs inspired are affected. As a growing number of consumers have demanded more information about products, the manufacturers, retailers and importers have been prodded to provide it across the board.

Soon we will find ourselves roaming the produce aisles, pointing our phones at turnips for info on how long to cook the things. (Answer: A week or so.) Or scanning bulk bins with our phones for the latest nutrition/allergy info.

Jobs’ innovations were at first oddities, toys for an elite few. Now, his vision for better communication has spread through everyday life for everyday people. A remarkable legacy.

-Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett


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