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iEat: Remembering Steve Jobs

Today, the world mourns the loss of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and one of the greatest technological innovators in this or any other generation. Some of us remember our family's first Apple computer, a revolution in itself. Dressed up in its industrial yellowish-brownish-grayish finery and introducing the term "floppy disk" into our lexicon, the early years of Apple were a harbinger of the technology era to come.

But what does any of this have to do with food?

Plenty.

Think of the way we eat now, and the ways in which we search out things to eat and the places in which we eat them. Want to find a recipe? Power up your iMac and search. Curious to try the newest restaurant in town? Call up the website on your iPad, click a few times, and you have a reservation. Want to know what others are saying about the Chinese take-out joint in your neighborhood? Open Zagat, Yelp or any other restaurant review app on your iPhone. Feel like making your friends jealous about the 12 oz steak you're about to sink your teeth into? Snap a photo with your iPhone and post it to the social networking site of your choice, all before your steak stops sizzling. Want to donate money to an organization that feeds the hungry? Send a text message.

No, Jobs didn't invent all of the applications, sites and sharing systems we now take for granted. What he did do, however, is conceive the lion's share of the technology that made them all possible. The visionary mind of Steve Jobs paved the way to the revolution we are living.

It's also worth noting that Jobs, at least in his final years, wasn't nearly as cavalier about any of it—the innovations, the convenience, and the lives such things allow us to lead—as the rest of us. In 2005, he told the graduating class of Stanford University, ‎"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

Food for thought.

So let's eat, drink, be merry and pass on whatever joy and generosity we can. We only have so long. As we make our weekend dinner plans, or send our children's birthday party eVites; as we share our thoughts, insights and even our favorite restaurants with our virtual families, we would do well to pause, reflect and give thanks for the life and creativity of Steve Jobs. His Apple innovations will continue to feed our insatiable appetites for technology, food and life for many years to come.

Steve Jobs, I raise a toast to your memory. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for having the courage to follow yours.

Salut.

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