It's apparent that Denise Jordan is comfortable in the kitchen, as she tends to two pans of bread that have been left to rise on the stove.
After determining they are ready, Jordan slides each pan into the oven.
She's dressed in a red dress and a red-checkered apron. But wait, are those pearls, too?
Yes, Jordan says, “I put on pearls every day.”
It's not your normal attire for cooking and cleaning, but Jordan dresses this way every day.
Jordan is caught between the role of a modern woman and a 1950s homemaker.
But that's just where she wants to be.
Jordan spent years managing a full-time career as a community health nursing instructor at IPFW while raising a family and taking care of a household. Now retired, she has used her more than 50 years of homemaker tips to launch a YouTube channel called “This and That with Denise Jordan,” which she describes as a lifestyle channel that shares tips on traditional homemaking for today's homemaker.
So, to convey the traditional homemaker, Jordan takes on the persona of 1950s TV moms June Cleaver and Donna Reed. “I grew up watching that,” she says.
It might seem out of sorts with today's view of female independence, but Jordan knows that there are many young women out there who are newly married or living on their own who need help running a household. “I think about what young homemakers need,” Jordan says.
She learned her homemaking skills from her mother. Being the oldest daughter with four younger siblings – two of them babies, Jordan learned to take care of children and manage a home. By the time she was 17, “I could run a household,” she says.
And like many young women during that time, she took home economics in high school, which taught basic homemaking skills such as cooking and sewing. “We were expected to be wives and mothers,” she says.
Jordan has always enjoyed mentoring young women, she says, which is why she tries to reach those homemakers who might not have had someone to look up to or have learned these skills when they were young.
Not to mention, young people on social media are “grooving on these granny kinds of things,” Jordan says.
It seems to be working as her channel has more than 49,000 subscribers and several episodes have received thousands of views.
It's probably because many of Jordan's videos are personable, as well as relatable. “I want them to feel like they're sitting right here in the kitchen,” Jordan says.
Some of Jordan's recent videos include getting back on track after the new year, putting away decorations, and organizing and prepping your pantry.
“It's our responsibility as homemakers, and the lady of the house, the man of the house, whomever is responsible for buying the groceries and planning the meals, to bring in the things you need to feed your family,” Jordan tells viewers in one video.
She's been doing the channel for three years and usually posts a new episode every Sunday and Monday, as well as livestreams a cooking episode on Sunday.
Her tips include cooking, cleaning and laundry. “I love laundry,” Jordan says. “I look at it as a challenge and as a puzzle.”
It's why she always made sure her husband, Willie, never left the house if his white shirt wasn't white.
The channel's most popular topics center on the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Other popular topics are her laundry, day-in-the-life and recipe videos. In fact, her mac-and-cheese video as part of a Thanksgiving side dish three years ago has more than 850,000 views.
Jordan says her venture has been a learning curve, especially when it came to posting videos. But, thankfully, she has some help from her family, including her two sons, her daughter and her sister, who is her administrative assistant. That includes running her apron business, Apron Diva, on her website ThisandthatwithDenise.com. It allows fans to buy the same aprons that Jordan fashions in her videos.
It has taken a while to find out what works. Jordan recognizes that you have to have a niche on YouTube in order to have a popular channel. And it appears she has found hers.
Homemaking videos on YouTube have increased over the last two years – mainly due to the pandemic, allowing people time to focus on the home and get more domesticated.
So in a way, it really has been a throwback to those housewives of the 1950s. After all, even the independent women of today need to do the dishes and the laundry.
Well, the good news is that Cameron Cage won his school's contest for free tickets to the winter semi-formal after asking his longtime girlfriend, Noelle Cardenas, to go with him in my column.
The bad news is that COVID-19 ruined the couple's plans.
Cage received the tickets last week for the Concordia Lutheran High School dance that took place on Saturday. But Cage writes by email on Jan. 11:
“I ended up winning the contest! I received two free tickets to the dance. I got the tickets around noon today, and an hour later, in an almost comedic (yet tragic) moment, I had to be removed from school because I sat next to someone who tested positive for COVID. So now, I have to quarantine until Sunday, meaning no dance. It's unfortunate but it makes for a good story.”
Indeed it does.
Terri Richardson writes about area residents and happenings that affect their lives in this column that publishes every other week. Email her at email@example.com or call 461-8304.