October 30, 2013 9:54:18 AM
PHOENIX -- Mitt Romney cooks. He washes dishes. The former Republican presidential candidate even does his own laundry.
The candid revelations come from his wife, Ann, who is taking her own turn in the media spotlight with a bestselling cookbook, "The Romney Family Table: Sharing Home-Cooked Recipes & Favorite Traditions" (Deseret Book Co., 2013).
Filled with photos and tales of everyday life inside the Romney household, Romney's new book isn't just about cooking. It offers readers a peek into the lives of a prominent American family, and she says, helps to dispel the myths of maids, personal chefs, chauffeurs and caretakers.
"I think people would be surprised to see how we really did live our lives," Romney said in a recent interview.
She chuckles at the image of her family being waited on hand and foot as she and Mitt raised five sons. They now also have 22 grandchildren.
"I was doing the cooking. Mitt was washing the dishes. The boys were misbehaving. Life wasn't perfect. It was messy," she said.
With recipes ranging from Mimi's buttermilk pancakes to mango salad, lasagna noodle bake, Mitt's meatloaf cakes and banana trash pudding, the book has reached the New York Times advice best seller list.
Romney said her husband first started cooking when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, a disease that ravaged her in the beginning, sapping her energy and forcing her to rest constantly, something she wasn't used to doing.
"He learned how to roast a chicken, how to steam vegetables," she said, adding that things have changed a bit since the disease went into remission.
"It's really interesting that he's forgotten all about it now that I'm better," she joked, noting that he was probably at home making himself hot dogs while she travels to promote her book.
She said proceeds from the book's sales will be donated to research at the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where she has been treated since her diagnosis.
But why a cookbook?
Romney explained it simply: It was a "more upbeat, positive, cheerful thing to write about than politics."