TRAVERSE CITY — Maxcie Latimer doesn’t pull out a novel or magazine when she has trouble sleeping at night. She grabs a cookbook instead.
The 84-year-old is an avid cook who loves to play around with recipes, adding a little of this and a little of that. But she insists she is no gourmand in the kitchen.
“I’m a down-to-earth cook,” said the Traverse City resident. “I’m not a gourmet cook, I just enjoy basic cooking.”
Latimer said she taught herself to cook with some help from an older woman who was like a grandmother to her. She gave Latimer a lesson in the basics and Latimer took it from there.
Latimer has put her culinary skills to good use at Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City, where she began cooking 10 or 15 years ago. She’s been a member there for 42 years.
“If you’ve had something to eat here at Grace Church, chances are Maxcie prepared it, plated it or orchestrated that meal or snack,” said parish administrator Ann Hackett.
During Holy Week alone, Latimer planned, shopped for, prepared and cleaned up after the Maundy Thursday supper for 80 people, the Easter Vigil refreshments for 90 and the Easter Sunday breakfasts for 200 or so, Hackett said. “She had an army of volunteers to help, but Maxcie arranges every event including funeral receptions and weekly batches of soup for the Jubilee House and Wednesday evening Lenten series soup suppers,” she said.
Funeral luncheons usually include meat and cheese sandwiches, along with a variety of salads and cookies tossed and baked by Latimer, who also coordinates the luncheons and finds volunteers.
Latimer also has been the chairman of the church’s annual cookie walk held the first week of December.
“One year I made 150 dozen cookies,” she said.