What do you know about the Romneys? They were on the U.S. presidential campaign trail for more than a year but what do you really know about Mitt and Ann and their family?
Just like many a family, they waited with their boys to catch the school bus in the mornings. They went blueberry-picking together. Mitt took over the making of the mashed potatoes for dinner. Josh's rolls were nearly better than Mom's.
Ann Romney shares these tender glimpses into the life of her family in "The Romney Family Table" cookbook, newly released this month. But it's more than the 125 recipes, it's a book of memories and traditions that Ann wants preserved.
"A lot of people know us but a lot of people don't know us," says Ann. "I wanted to show how important our family is, our children and grandchildren."
When one of her five sons, Josh, suggested in January that Ann put together a cookbook, she thought it would be easy "because I have all these recipes." But then as the project progressed she said, "It was a lot more work than I thought! It became a family project with the help of my daughters-in-law -- a lot of us worked together."
The first time Ann compiled a cookbook it was given as a wedding gift to her daughter-in-law when the Romneys' first son married. "I wanted to pass on traditions," says Ann. "Sharing traditions is so important to make a happy life. This is how great happiness came in our family -- these events that seemed to center around cooking. Anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas always centered around food -- it enriched the celebrations." Ann included some of the same memories and traditions from that family cookbook in her new cookbook for all to peruse.
Ann and Mitt are proud of their sons, who are all fathers now. But as most parents, they worried about raising them so they asked a well-known psychologist what to do. He told them, "The best thing you as a parent can do for your children is to love your spouse. And then love your children."
Ann adds a third: "Love God." Attendance at church is important as is the family dinner that follows with much conversation. One family night memory Ann includes in the cookbook involves son Matt. She and Mitt sit on the sofa with the boys on the floor listening to the lesson.
"The moral of the story was about procrastination," remembers Ann. "The lesson told of a little boy who was asked by his mother to do some chore -- close the gate for the dog, pick up his clothes and so forth. Each time the boy responded, 'In a minute, Mommy.' "
Of course each time his procrastination led to a bad thing, she says. "Delaying to close the gate for the dog meant the dog got lost; delaying to put away his clothes meant he couldn't find what he needed the next day for school."
After the lesson, Matt, age 5, asked his parents to sit on the floor while he sat on the sofa. He began, "Once there was a little boy who asked his Mommy for a cookie, and she said, 'In a minute, Matt.' "
"We howled!" Ann says. Matt had understood the moral of the story! "His little mind was working." She adds that she remembers that incident like it was yesterday.
The Romneys are a close-knit family. "If we're not with them, we're talking to them," she says. "The grandchildren have Instagram. I laugh, it's fun. We're always making plans to get together."
Twice a year -- in the summer and at Thanksgiving or Christmas all five sons, five daughters-in-law and 22 grandchildren gather around.
Mitt and Ann have more time together than, say, a year ago. "Much more time," she says. "During the campaign I was on one path and he was on another. Then we'd have two days here and there together. I was able to campaign on my own and do media on my own." So her book tour seems easy.
During the interview for this article, Ann was on the train traveling from New York City to Boston. "I've been busy putting together the book tour. I did 'Good Morning America' and Fox today. Then I'm doing a lot of TV in Boston, then on to Phoenix. I'll do Jay Leno. ... "
After 44 years of marriage, Mitt and Ann remain sweethearts -- their relationship began in high school. "We just enjoy being together, we enjoy the same things: music and movies," she points out. "We're together as much as we can. We email, text, call one another."
Ann has had quite a few church callings but her favorite was teaching early morning seminary at 6:15 a.m. for three to four years. She taught about 18 youth who were juniors and seniors. "I just ran into a 'student' on the train with me right now," she says. "He's age 32!"
Volunteering and becoming involved in the community ranks high on Ann's priority list. "I was on the PTA, a town meeting member and when the kids were in elementary school I volunteered at my children's schools," she says., "Just get out and start doing things, be involved. You get to know people and feel a part of your community."
She has many favorite charities. Proceeds from her book sales will go to research for cancer, MS (of which she is in remission), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease.
Her philosophy of life: "Have fun. Enjoy!"
Click through the slideshow for featured recipes from Ann Romney's cookbook.