This Must Be the Place: Dispatches & Food from the Home Front - book cover
Arts & Literature
  • Publisher : Ballantine Books
  • Published : 09 Nov 2021
  • Pages : 352
  • ISBN-10 : 0593357213
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593357217
  • Language : English

This Must Be the Place: Dispatches & Food from the Home Front

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Rachael Ray presents 125+ recipes straight from her home kitchen in upstate New York, with personal stories on loss, gratitude, and the special memories that make a house a home.


"I wanted to write this book because for the first time in my fifty-two years, everyone on the planet was going through the same thing at the same time. We were all feeling the same fear, heartsickness, worry, and sadness, but due to the nature of the virus, it was hard to connect. 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." 

You may think you know Rachael Ray after decades of TV appearances and dozens of books, but 2020 changed us all and it changed her, too-her life and her direction. During the early months of the pandemic in upstate New York, far away from her New York City television studio, Rachael Ray and her husband, John, went to work in their home kitchen hosting the only cooking show on broadcast TV. At her kitchen counter, with the help of her iPhone cameraman (John), Rachael produced more than 125 meals-everything from humble dishes composed of simple pantry items (One-Pot Chickpea Pasta or Stupid Good, Silly Easy Sausage Tray Bake) to more complex recipes that satisfy a craving or celebrate a moment (Porcini and Greens Risotto or Moroccan Chicken Tagine).

This Must Be the Place captures the words, recipes, and images that will forever shape this time for Rachael and her family, offering readers inspiration to rethink and rebuild what home means to them now.

Readers Top Reviews

cdeckC. Fine
I was so looking forward to enjoying this book, cookbook and story, I m a fan Of 2 printed in China...not the time for that..Going back!!

Short Excerpt Teaser


Coming Home

The food I created for those first few shows focused on what to make from pantry items. Americans at that moment felt like we were all on a short, unknown adventure, and we were concerned about stocking up on staples that would last however long quarantine would.

I'm a homemaker by nature and by nurture. When I was growing up, my mom always had a way, often with limited funds, to turn rooms into magical living, breathing spaces. She still has a unique eye for design, and I love her style.

When I was a girl, my family lived in a Yankee Barn on Cape Cod-a beam, peg, and groove house with sliding wooden barn doors. I remember as a child drifting off on many nights, nestled under a cozy throw on the sofa, not wanting to go to bed. I preferred falling asleep there in the living room, near the glow of a fire, looking at all the magical shapes and forms that surrounded me. Mom has always loved to layer a room with both shape and texture: statues and sea glass, an old lobster trap, weathered leather and nubby fabrics, wood and metal accents. The natural materials made the room feel real, like it had a personality and a force of life of its own.

My room in the barn was a hayloft with a small balcony and a ladder that dropped down into the living room. I put a lot of effort into keeping it cozy and nice, just the way my mom did with the rest of the house. I arranged my stuffed animals and dolls in animated poses at a tea set and around the shelves and room-Raggedy Ann and Andy swinging from their ragdoll knees on the ladder. In the morning, I'd leave the art paper on my easel either clean, calling me to paint or draw after school, or with a completed work, art to decorate the space until I felt the need for a change. I rarely left it with a work-in-progress, and the same was true with my weaving loom and Erector set. I arranged my books by height and color before that was a thing, and placed some favorites around the room on side tables and my worktable, as if my toys would come to life and read them while I was away. I took pride in making my bed and would organize the pillows in an inviting way, and I always wanted the corner turned down, an invitation to climb in and take comfort there. My room was loved as if it were a member of the family, and that's the way I feel about where I live to this day. The house I grew up in and the comfort it provided became the inspiration for the design of the home that my husband and I built in the Adirondacks.

In cooking, you gather elements or surprising ingredients in new combinations and right before your eyes it all comes together, like magic. Home design is like that, too: some science, but also that magic that makes something surprising just work. I've lived in houses small and large, apartments cramped to sprawling, and rarely have I been able to sleep if there was a dish in the sink or a mess to pick up or a pillow on the floor. I don't want to live in a "perfect" or precious space, but I do want the space to reflect that it is loved and that its purpose is care and comfort. I want my home to feel welcoming to human and animal guests, a space where they instantly feel love and warmth.

I've also always thought of my home upstate as a refuge, a safe place away from my career in the public eye. Over the years I've been asked dozens of times to be photographed or filmed here and I have always, with very rare exceptions, said no. I wanted to keep our secret garden, our crazy fort, our treehouse/clubhouse to ourselves, to be shared with only our closest friends and family. This is one reason why-knowing I would have to start recording my show from here, and let the world into my safe space-that I looked at my homecoming in March with fear and dread. Trucking upstate each week after recording shows, taking meetings, reviewing magazine spreads, and talking about new recipes was always a joyful and regular reprieve for me, one that I looked forward to throughout the week after a run of hard workdays in the city. Now that time that I used to look forward to was laced with panic. The idea of filming at home during the pandemic would mean showing viewers my private space, something I'd resisted doing for fifteen years.

Another concern was that I would have to do my own hair and makeup. The counterpoint to my love for homemaking is my hives-inducing dislike of "self-care"-including applying makeup and looking at myself in a mirror for long stretches to do it. But because it wasn't safe to have another person touching my face during this time, I'd have to do it myself. Each day of filming at home I would put on the bare minimum of makeup-a few swipes of my Milk blur stick-and groom my eyebrows. Sharing a stripped-down version of myself meant peopl...