Fresh off her Whole Foods NYC Book Tour, CC Minton sits down with me to talk about her latest children’s book, Daddy’s Greek Potato, illustrated by Elana Lemon.
Patricia Rogers: Tell me a little bit about yourself
CC Minton: I am originally from Washington, DC and have lived in the New York area for a number of years. As an author and award-winning advocate of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Community Leadership Award, I am a Health and Lifestyle Entrepreneur. For example, I was selected as a partnering business with the NFL for the NY/NJ Superbowl in 2014 to provide bits and bites at the VIP event at Metlife Stadium right before the Superbowl. I strategically partnered with a local bakery to fulfill the contract obligation. I enjoy working with others so this type of an arrangement is perfect for my brand. I work with national food companies strategically as well.
Because of my busy schedule, I enjoy spending time at home and value the time spent with family and close friends. I love sipping on tea while reading a good book or having a great conversation. Downtime in The Hamptons is always relaxing too. I’d say I’m pretty connected to the community. I make it my business to stay up on what is happening by attending Board of Education and Town Council meetings and I love hanging out at the Newark Museum as well. Over the years, I’ve done humanitarian work with a number of organizations and I’m excited about the opportunity to get involved during the Spring as an assistant coach with a church run middle school boys program in the area. It’s my way of continuing to give back. Let’s just say I’m high ‘high touch” in a ‘high tech’ world.
Why is health important to teach at a young age, why specifically people of color?
If you take a look at CDC (Center for Disease Control) statistics, people of color suffer from a cardiovascular disease at a disproportionate rate. That includes heart disease and stroke. Cancer is the second cause of death for African Americans. Prostate cancer affects men and for women, it’s breast cancer at higher rates than Caucasians. We have to be aware and stay diligent with making the healthiest food choices that we possibly can. I believe in the saying that your health is your wealth. Being from the south (just below the Mason-Dixon line) LOL, eating healthy wasn’t always a part of my life. But as an athlete playing sports like volleyball, hockey, basketball, and soccer, I started to pay attention. In my adult life, I became more of a runner so I needed to make sure I fueled my body properly to have the energy to go the distance and feel good.
My journey as a writer started when I wrote my first book Daddy’s Greek Potato Pie. It is a book about healthy eating and was my first time a putting pen to paper professionally. It was pretty easy to write the book because I’m passionate about the subject matter and it is based on real life events. After my first book, I took on the role of Health and Lifestyle Editor for Harlem World Magazine. Writing a column called Up Close with CC Minton, I took readers inside the community of Harlem. I also had the opportunity to take readers inside The White House Kids State Dinner hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and have interviewed some of the hottest New York City chefs, Olympians, celebrities, and mouth-watering social events in The Big Apple.
Why did you want to focus Daddy’s Greek Potato pie on a father/son relationship?
I think the relationship between father and son is so important. Boys need role models just like girls do. A positive image in the kitchen is important too. Besides, the characters are based on my son, his good friend and my husband’s great cooking.
What is a greek potato pie, and in the same vein as the last question, why?
In the story, sweet potato is used as one of the ingredients in the recipe. Due to a mishap, the sweet potato pie becomes a greek potato pie because Daddy uses greek yogurt in the recipe instead of milk. Greek Potato Pie is the focal point because the mishap helps make the story fun, silly encourages kids to try new things and teaches readers about the different food groups.
What inspired this story?
The book is based on real-life experiences that took place in my family. When my sons were younger I did most of the cooking in the house. When I’d go away on business trips, my husband started to dibble and dabble in the kitchen. His mom was a great cook and encouraged him to cook for himself. I must admit, his food menu was always so much better than mine and it still is. By the way, both of my sons are now vegetarians.
What are some of the main points you want young readers to gather from your story?
Sometimes foods may not look like they taste good but try them anyway.
Sugar is something that may taste good but cut back on or eliminate it, food is still delicious!
Eating foods from all the food groups on a daily basis is important. Making healthy food choices can have an impact in the classroom and on the basketball court or on the field.
How can inner city kids eat healthier on a budget?
I’d say start in school. The Let’s Move Initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama has been instrumental in making access to fresh fruits and vegetables easier. Take advantage of the school breakfast and lunch menu. Kids can make a choice between chips and an apple. There are a number of community gardens that have sprung up over the past few years in the area. The grocery store is a better alternative than fast food so take a trip to the market.
Are you a chef or have culinary experience?
I cook out of necessity so I’m not a home chef. My culinary experience is a result of interviewing chefs and of course watching my husband chop it up in the kitchen.
Talk about you other books
I’m in the process of writing a lifestyle empowerment book on healthy lifestyle and business. It is a work in progress.
Written by Patricia Rogers