Jordan, Michele Anna 1949-
Jordan, Michele Anna 1949-
Born July 6, 1949, in San Diego, CA; daughter of John Joseph Baker (a marine corps officer); married Larry Jordan (divorced, 1998); children: Gina Renée, Nicolle Michele. Ethnicity: "Irish." Education: Sonoma State University, B.A., 1975, graduate study, 1980-82. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Traditional Hawaiian dance (hula), travel, radio, art, design, photography, bats, aurora borealis, physics.
Office—P.O. Box 1552, Sebastopol, CA 95473. Agent—Amy Rennert Agency, 98 Main St., Ste. 302, Tiburon, CA 94920. E-mail—[email protected]
KRCB-FM Radio, Sonoma, CA, host and producer of Mouthful, the Wine Country's Most Delicious Hour, 1995—, host of Red Shoes Rodeo, 1997—. KRSH-FM Radio, cohost of Krush Bites, 2002—. Santa Rosa Junior College, adjunct culinary arts faculty, 1991—; cooking teacher and lecturer on food-related topics; occasional presenter of spoken-word performances. Jaded Palate (catering business), former owner and chef; Sonoma-Provence Exchange, founder, 1995. Commission on the Status of Women, district commissioner, 1993.
Named outstanding Sonoma County chef, Sonoma County Art Awards, 1989; merit scholar, Beringer Vineyard's School for American Chefs, 1990; award of merit, Sadie Awards, 1991, for "The Jaded Palate" and "Recipe for Fall," and award of excellence, 1993, for The Good Cook's Book of Oil & Vinegar; Woman of Achievement Award for culinary arts, Santa Rosa Junior College, 1992; fellow, Yaddo, 1993; James Beard Journalism Award for magazine feature writing, James Beard Foundation, 1997; certificate of commendation, Academy of Wine Communications, 1997; best cookbook award, Small Press Book Awards, 1998, for California Home Cooking; Sonoma County Friend of Agriculture Award, 2002.
A Cook's Tour of Sonoma, illustrated by Marsha Serafin, Aris Books (Reading, MA), 1990.
The Good Cook's Book of Oil & Vinegar, foreword by M.F.K. Fisher, illustrated by Michele Stong, Addison-Wesley Publishing (Reading, MA), 1992.
The Good Cook's Book of Mustard, foreword by Madeline Kamman, illustrated by Michele Stong, Addison-Wesley Publishing (Reading, MA), 1994.
The Good Cook's Book of Tomatoes, foreword by Flo Braker, illustrated by Michele Stong, Addison-Wesley Publishing (Reading, MA), 1995.
The Good Cook's Book of Days: A Food Lover's Journal, Addison-Wesley Publishing (Reading, MA), 1995.
Ravioli & Lasagne, photographs by Joyce Oudkerk Pool, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1996.
Pasta with Sauces, photographs by Joyce Oudkerk Pool, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1996.
Polenta: 100 Innovative Recipes from Appetizers to Desserts, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 1997.
California Home Cooking, Harvard Common Press (Boston, MA), 1997.
Salt & Pepper: 135 Perfectly Seasoned Recipes for the Cook's Best Friends, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Williams-Sonoma Complete Pasta Cookbook, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1999.
Complete Pasta Cookbook, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1999.
San Francisco Seafood: Savory Recipes from Everybody's Favorite Seafood City, Ten Speed Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.
Pasta Classics, Cooking Club of America (Minnetonka, MN), 2000.
The New Cook's Tour of Sonoma, photographs by Faith Echtermeyer, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2000.
The BLT Cookbook: Our Favorite Sandwich, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
(Editor, with Susan Brady) The World Is a Kitchen: Cooking Your Way through Culture; Stories, Recipes, Resources, Travelers' Tales (Palo Alto, CA), 2006.
Work represented in anthologies, including Women Chefs: A Collection of Portraits & Recipes from California's Culinary Pioneers, edited by Jim Burns and Betty Ann Brown, Aris Books, 1987; Saltwater, Sweetwater, Floreant Press, 1997; The Gift of Travel: The Best of Travelers' Tales, O'Reilly and Associates, 1998; Williams-Sonoma Complete Pasta Cookbook, Time-Life Books (Alexandria, VA), 1999; and Ethnic Entertaining, Cooking Club of America, 2001. Writer and narrator of Sonoma County Appellations, a limited documentary series about Sonoma County viticultural areas for KRCB-TV. Author of the weekly columns "Seasonal Pantry," 1997—, "Wine of the Week Pairing," 2002—, and "Mouthful," 2003—, all in Santa Rosa Press Democrat; columnist for Sonoma County Independent; former author of the column "The Jaded Palate," Sonoma Press Democrat; former restaurant critic for San Francisco Focus and San Francisco Chronicle. Contributor to periodicals, including Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Kitchen Garden, Wine Enthusiast, Electronic Gourmet Guide, and Focus.
Michele Anna Jordan writes mainly about food. She points to her friendship with M.F.K. Fisher, whose artful personal essays about food created a genre, as one of her many influences. Jordan carries on the tradition of that genre. Jordan once told CA: "I write because I can, because I love it, because it is viscerally satisfying and, now and then, utterly exhilarating." Jordan includes the folklore and history of the foods about which she writes. She looks at the science of them and their place in the culture that created them. Then she adds her personal narrative. As she described it, "I do not view food or the writing about it as an end in itself, and I find most cookbooks, those without a strong narrative, somewhat dull and, for the most part, short-lived."
In The Good Cook's Book of Oil & Vinegar Jordan discusses ingredients that, as she commented, "in one form or another have been companions since the beginning of our own history." The book includes recipes to make homemade flavored oils and vinegars, as well as recipes that use oil and vinegar as ingredients. Topics, including how to deep fat fry, how to carry out an oil and vinegar tasting, and cooking in parchment, are also covered. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that "culinary enthusiasts will find this book original and delightful."
California Home Cooking is a collection of recipes Jordan culled from newspapers, old menus, and notes written in cookbooks. Also included are hints for shopping at farmers' markets, a list of suppliers of native California foods, and information about other chefs and cookbooks. A reviewer for American Fitness noted Jordan's "use of fresh foods to create bold flavors with signature California ingredients." A Library Journal reviewer mentioned the "readable headnotes and informative sidebars." Although the book could have been better organized, according to a Publishers Weekly critic, the selection of recipes was "as wide-ranging as the state itself."
Jordan added: "I quit working as a chef in the late 1990s in order to devote myself full-time to writing. This change has allowed me to focus on more than food and wine, which has always been my intention. Although food and wine writing is my primary genre, it is the context—the interaction between individuals—that is most interesting to me.
"After a lifelong interest in traditional Hawaiian culture and its unique geography, I began studying and occasionally performing ancient and contemporary hula with a halau based in Santa Rosa, California, in 2002. This study informs my writing in a number of ways, and I see the graceful flowing movement of Hawaiian dance as a physical expression of my narrative style."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Fitness, November, 1998, "California Cuisine," p. 9.
Booklist, April 15, 1999, Mark Knoblauch, review of Salt & Pepper: 135 Perfectly Seasoned Recipes for the Cook's Best Friends, p. 1497; January 1, 2001, Mark Knoblauch, review of San Francisco Seafood: Savory Recipes from Everybody's Favorite Seafood City, p. 894.
Library Journal, September 15, 1992, Judith C. Sutton, review of The Good Cook's Book of Oil & Vinegar, p. 88; April 15, 1994, Judith C. Sutton, review of The Good Cook's Book of Mustard, p. 105; April 15, 1995, Judith C. Sutton, review of The Good Cook's Book of Tomatoes, p. 108; December, 1996, Judith C. Sutton, review of Polenta: 100 Innovative Recipes from Appetizers to Desserts, p. 136; December, 1997, review of California Home Cooking, p. 143; April 15, 1999, Judith C. Sutton, review of Salt & Pepper, p. 139; February 15, 2001, Judith Sutton, review of San Francisco Seafood, p. 194.
Newsday, April 22, 1999, review of Salt & Pepper.
New York Times Book Review, June 6, 1999, Corby Kummer, "Cooking," p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1990, Molly McQuade, review of A Cook's Tour of Sonoma, p. 58; September 28, 1992, review of The Good Cook's Book of Oil & Vinegar, p. 74; December 2, 1996, review of Polenta, p. 57; November 3, 1997, review of California Home Cooking, p. 80; March 1, 1999, review of Salt & Pepper, p. 64; December 18, 2000, review of San Francisco Seafood, p. 75.
Restaurant Hospitality, July, 2001, review of San Francisco Seafood, p. 26.
Austin Chronicle,http://www.weeklywire.com/ (May 17, 1999), Virginia B. Wood, "A Matter of Voice."
Toyon Books,http://www.toyonbooks.com/ (March 18, 2002), "Featured Author—Michele Anna Jordon."