Rachael Ray Announces New Book Following a ‘Weird’ Year

Television personality Rachael Ray filmed from her home early on in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to keep her fans updated on her life events and menu of recipes. The past year has proved to be extremely challenging for Ray and her husband, John Cusimano — the couple lost their residence in upstate New York to a fire, and their beloved rescue dog Isaboo to cancer in May 2020.

With all of the major life changes, Ray decided to share her journey — along with some meals — in a new book.

John Cusimano and Rachael Ray speak during the City of Hope's East End Chapter/Jeanne Kaye League Of New York City's Spirit Of Life Awards
John Cusimano and Rachael Ray | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for BCRF

Rachael Ray posted cover of new book on Instagram

Last week, Ray shared the cover of This Must Be the Place: Dispatches and Food From the Home Front on Instagram, which features a picture of herself and Cusimano.

“Last year was weird,” she captioned the photo. “I opened up my private refuge, lost my dog and my home. But among the things we accomplished:⁠ we made over 200 shows from home with just the two of us and the pup, @johnmcusimano made an amazing album (@flabandofficial), and I actually wrote a book 🙃⁠⁠. It’s not officially out until October 26th  🙌  but, heads up (!!)”

Early in the pandemic, Ray conducted her cooking show from her home on Lake Luzerne, with Cusimano at the iPhone as cameraman. A fire that began in the chimney caused major damage to their house on August 9, with the couple relocating to their guest home. Thankfully, Ray and Cusimano, as well as Ray’s mom and their new pup Bella Boo, were unharmed.

‘Thank you to our local first responders for being kind and gracious and saving what they could of our home,” Ray tweeted to her followers on August 10. “Grateful that my mom, my husband, my dog… we’re all okay. These are the days we all have to be grateful for what we have, not what we’ve lost.”

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‘This Must Be the Place’ had special meaning for Rachael Ray

Empathizing with everyone dealing with the global pandemic that hit in 2020, Ray began creating the book to reach out to others.

“I wanted to write this book because for the first time in my 52 years, everyone on the planet was going through the same thing at the same time,” Ray revealed. “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’s passion for cooking helped buoy her through a difficult year, and she wanted to share that comfort with her fans through This Must Be the Place.

“I connect through cooking, and I noticed that’s what many others were doing as well,” she said. “We took to the kitchen to share something of ourselves—and cooking became the discipline, diversion, and devotion that got us through.” 

Rachael Ray and husband John Cusimano grew closer during the pandemic

Opening their home to viewers and filming the show together, Ray and Cusimano expressed their gratitude for their time collaborating.

“John and I have always worked together, but in separate buildings,” Ray told Us Weekly in August 2020. “But now we do everything together, which, of course, is a huge adjustment. For us, I think that we now have a better understanding of the role each of us has played, behind the scenes.”

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Ray got a birds-eye view of what her husband’s responsibilities entail, while Cusimano learned firsthand all that goes into making a television show. The culinary queen praised her husband’s ability to take on many roles.

“I don’t normally get to hear what he does during all the business calls that would happen in a day,” she continued. “And he doesn’t see how much work goes into making TV shows. … Since we have been making TV at home John has had to take on a million roles. He has done 10,000 loads of dishes. He’s a cameraman and tech services.”

She added, “I think we have a deeper appreciation of each other.”

This Must Be the Place is schedule for release on October 26, 2021.