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'Pizzelle Lady' pours herself into her work

Thursday, December 04, 2003

By Marlene Parrish, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The Pizzelle Lady stands 4 feet 8 inches, max, wears bright red lipstick, and has made thousands and thousands of pizzelles. She's Louise Ligouri, 78, and she's the pizzelle-meister at Joyce's Homemade Cookies and Candy in Stowe.

Working two pizzelle irons at once, she shrugs off her speed and expertise. She measures batter into the patterned waffle-like electric pizzelle irons. One, two, three, four, she pours, and by the time the last puddle is in, the first pizzelle is brown. She peels it off, and within seconds, the pliable cookie is stiff and crisp.

"I'm Italian. My mother taught me how, and I've made pizzelles all my life," says Ligouri, without missing a movement. She turned pro seven years ago.

"I worked at Stouffers for 17 years. Then I was with Marriott for 10 more," she says. "I retired in 1990 and stayed at home in McKees Rocks with my husband, Nicholas. He passed away in 1996. I was crying all the time, so my doctor said to get out of the house. I volunteered to work with the women at the church, Mother of Sorrows. One day a man came in and said that Joyce Pecorelli, the owner of Joyce's, was looking for women to help bake Christmas cookies. I've been here now seven years come January."

To keep her two pizzelle irons -- a Pizzelle Chef and a Vitantonio -- ready for action, she wipes them down after they cool, sprays them with cooking spray, then places a paper towel on the grid and closes the lid.

"Then next time, it's ready to go," says Ligouri. She's teaching her daughter, Barbara Yurkovich, and her three granddaughters the techniques. "Everybody loves pizzelle," she says. "It's been fun. I like doing it."

Marlene Parrish can be reached at or 412-481-1620.

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