When Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana at the end of August, it knocked out power in New Orleans and triggered catastrophic flooding across the Northeast United States as it traveled up the coast. Dozens of lives were lost and thousands of homes were destroyed — including the newly renovated New York City apartment of Food Network star Rachael Ray and her husband, musician John Cusimano.
“We had finally just finished the work on making the [NYC] apartment over. And then, Ida took it out. And I mean, out. Down hard,” Ray told People magazine, which features her as one of their “50 Food Faves” in this week’s issue.
Ray says “every speaker in the ceiling, the fireplace, every seam in the wall” of her sixth-floor home was ruined. “It was like the apartment just literally melted.” To make matters worse, when a team came in to repair the damage, they ended up accidentally breaking a water pipe and flooding the entire apartment building. “The people that we were waiting for, the cavalry, burst this pipe and made everything worse,” she lamented.
This isn’t the first time Ray has experienced her home being ravaged by the elements; in August of 2020 her upstate New York home in Lake Luzerne burned to the ground after an ember from the chimney landed on the roof. However, she and Cusimano, who celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary this month, have maintained an admirable attitude about the adversity they’ve experienced, and it comes down to one thing: gratitude.
Coming Back to Gratitude
Through everything, Ray and her husband keep their focus on feeling thankful for all they still have. “There are so much worse positions we could be in,” she told People magazine after the house fire. “I mean, I’m alive. And I do have a roof over my head … At the end of the day, [John and I] always come back to grateful. Some days are different than others. But we try and just say, ‘Okay. Here’s the new plan. Here’s today’s version of the plan. Look at how much we have to be grateful for.'”
During the pandemic, Ray penned a new book that will be published in November, titled This Must be the Place. Part cookbook, part memoir, she says she wrote it in hopes of helping people find connection through cooking.
“We were all feeling the same fear, heartsickness, worry, and sadness, but due to the nature of the virus, it was hard to connect,” Ray writes of the time she spent holed up at her Lake Luzerne home as Covid-19 ravaged the globe. “I connect through cooking, and I noticed that’s what many others were doing as well. We took to the kitchen to share something of ourselves — and cooking became the discipline, diversion, and devotion that got us through.”
Hopefully, Ray will be able to return to cooking in her NYC apartment soon. In the meantime, we can make her mouthwatering recipe for crispy lemon roasted potatoes and look forward to reading her book!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.