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A holiday cookbook for Christmas

Pearlie Killebrew achieved a personal milestone in both writing and cooking with “Ms. Pearlie’s Holiday Cookbook.” She wrote and printed her 14-page collection of recipes with help from WriteVisionOutreach, a ministry project of Grace House and Associates LLC.

Killebrew included seven recipes in her cookbook and plans to write another with even more recipes. She said some of her favorite recipes in this first cookbook are for sweet potatoes and potato salad, which take her back to when she learned to cook with her mother and grandmother when she was just a little girl.

“I was in the kitchen (with them) the whole time growing up,” she said. She watched them peel potatoes and bake pies before she got her mom gave her a little stove of her own. “That’s how I learned how to cook.”

She also learned to cook healthier recipes through Sentara Obici Hospital classes in 2011 after she was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and her son was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

“I had to break his diet and keep his sugar down,” she said. “All the cookies weren’t good for him (or me).”

She’s been attending classes through Suffolk Literacy Council since 2002, catching the bus every week to come to the Suffolk Workforce Redevelopment Center on North Main Street. She needed to improve her reading skills for a job at McDonald’s, she said.

Tutor coordinator Jessica Reitz said she’s seen Killebrew improve her standardized testing scores over the years. Her reading comprehension and writing has steadily improved, along with her public speaking. She spoke in front of the Suffolk Literacy Council board in spring 2017.

“It was quite a challenge for her to project and be organized,” Reitz said. “She did a really great job.”

Killebrew keeps herself busy volunteering at New Mount Joy Food for Living Ministries and at the Suffolk Salvation Army. She said she wanted to put together this cookbook to help people put great food on their tables and bring together their whole families for the holidays.

“They will know how to bring the family together more around the holidays,” she said.

Those that want to ask Killebrew for recipes this holiday season can reach out to Reitz at the Suffolk Literacy Council office, either by phone at 514-7733 or via email at tutorcoordinator@learn2readsuffolk.org.