SIDNEY — Fran DeWine remembers the first time she went door-to-door campaigning with her husband, Mike.
“Mike was running for (Greene County) prosecutor,” said DeWine Tuesday during a stop at the Shelby County Courthouse. “We knocked on 18,000 doors. I was a young, shy mother and I didn’t want to knock on the doors.”
After the election, she told her husband that if they campaigned again, she wanted to create something that people would want to keep.
“I went home and went through all my recipes and found the ones with spots on them,” she said. Those spots, she said, signified a family favorite and it was one she wanted to share in a cookbook for the voters.
“My first cookbook was handwritten and our kids did the illustrations,” she said.
And thus “Fran DeWine’s Family Favorites” collection of recipes was born. The cookbook is in its 12 edition and still includes handwritten recipes. Now the illustrations are done by her daughters and granddaughters.
At the bottom of each recipe is a note which tells the family background of the family favorites.
“Janet Voinovich and I did one together,” she said, of the time their husbands ran for governor and lieutenant governor in 1990. That was the first time her cookbook was distributed statewide.
The cookbook includes recipes from her children, both sons and daughters. Son, John, who is a hunter and organic farmer, gave his mom his venison chili for the cookbook.
He also makes his own maple syrup, so his daughters, Josie and Rebecca, have their own maple-oatmeal cookie recipe in the book.
“Our seven-year-old granddaughter loved illustrating the book and wanted to do it all,” said DeWine. “I had lots of help doing the booklet.”
One recipe that is included in every cookbook is one for play doh, she said.
The DeWines are the parents of eight children and have 20 grandchildren.
The stop in Shelby County is one of 88 DeWine makes every year on behalf of her husband, who is currently the attorney general for the state of Ohio.
“I’m the eyes and ears for Mike,” she said.
Her stops Tuesday included the Miami County Fair and visits in Wapakoneta and New Bremen.
“I usually do four a five counties during a trip,” she said. “I try to coordinate it on where Mike is traveling also so we can meet up in the evening.” They both were in New Bremen Tuesday night.
The DeWines met when they were in the first grade.
“I thought I was marrying a school teacher,” said DeWine. “He was always interested in politics. He loves what he does.”
During her stop in Shelby County, DeWine met with Commissioners Tony Bornhorst and Bob Guillozet, Clerk of Courts Michele Mumford, Prosector Tim Sell and Judges James Stevenson and William Zimmerman Sr. She toured the courthouse and the commissioners discussed what improvements are planned for the building.