Longtime cooks

Jennifer Liuzzo of Bemus Point became interested in cooking in the early 1970s while watching Julia Child on TV.

“I remember seeing Julia Child upset with a leg of lamb, throwing it on the floor, and it hit the wall,” she said.

She says she is “a Food Network junky,” but develops a lot of her own recipes.

“I don’t know where she gets it from,” said her mother, Karen Thayer, of Jamestown. “I go by the book.”

“I can bake, but I’d rather not because my mom does, and she’s the bomb,” said Mrs. Liuzzo.

She talks about her years of working in the food-service industry, having worked at The Wine Cellar, The Vikings, The Surf Club and Shawbucks, The Grist Mill, and McDuff’s.

“I did prep work during the day at McDuff’s, then took the food to Chautauqua Institution, serving at social affairs with President Daniel Bratton and other dignitaries present,” she said. “I would love to some day go into someone’s house and use their equipment to teach them how to cook.”

She considers herself a smart shopper and says we, in this area, are blessed to have places like Brigiotta’s, ALDI and Wegmans.

Mrs. Liuzzo’s hobbies are both vegetable and herb gardening and cooking and community service. She enjoys running the front gate at The Blue Heron Music Festival. She is a member of the board of directors of Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, a past director at the Resource Center, as well as many other community services and is an alumna of Chautauqua Leadership Network. She was a world-class gymnast, having several college scholarships when she severed her Achilles tendon trying out for the World Games, which ended her career.

Both she and her husband, Paul Liuzzo, are New York state certified residential real estate appraisers and are the proprietors of Eagle Real Estate Services. They have a 6-year-old daughter named Anna and share a home with Paul’s father, John Liuzzo. The family has two cats, Boo and Scout, adopted from the Humane Society.

“When Anna first came into our lives we decided that I would stay home with her. Since then I have been working with buyers. I’m able to get into the community, stay active in real estate and be a stay-at-home mom,” she said.

She used her own poetic justice on a cookbook recipe for the Caponata.

“A friend’s grandmother had ‘The Home Book of Italian Cooking.’ My husband found it on Amazon.com, and when I served it (Caponata) to her, she told me it was just (like) her grandmother’s,” she said.

Mrs. Liuzzo’s mother is a nurse, who retired from The Resource Center after 27 years of service.

“I don’t miss the work. I miss the people,” she said.

Besides Jennifer, Thayer has two sons. Chris is a code enforcement officer with the City of Olympia and lives in Seattle, and John lives in Stanwood, Wash., and is a high school band director. Thayer’s interests are knitting and reading historical novels. She is a committee person for The Resource Center.

“She is a huge supporter of the Humane Society,” said Mrs. Liuzzo about her mother.

She loves to cook and take food to her neighbor, Roxie.

“Oh my gosh, she makes the best gravy in the world,” said Mrs. Liuzzo.

“I had no clue how to cook when I got married in 1962. When my kids were in school, and I would bake bread for the band bake sales, the director would take the bread before it got to the sale. Each of my kids had a week where they could choose the variety of bread baked that week,” Thayer said.

“Every kid in the neighborhood always knew there was something baked on the counter,” said Mrs. Liuzzo.

“The neighborhood kids knew if it was on the counter, they could take it,” said Thayer.

Thayer would make and leave wrapped sandwiches in the refrigerator for her family.

“The neighborhood kids knew they were fair game,” Thayer said. “Once Alden Abbott and John ate all of the Mexican Wedding Cakes I had made for Christmas.”

Thayer uses Scandinavian Porridge Rice, purchased at Wegmans, in her Swedish Rice Pudding.