Photos of Rachael Ray's house burning are devastating

If you're like us, you follow Rachael Ray's Instagram for your recommended daily dosage of visual eye candy and culinary inspiration. These days, though, Ray's social media posts are a little more serious than usual. That's because in August 2020, Rachael Ray and her husband, John Cusimano, watched their upstate New York cottage burn to the ground, all in the space of an hour. "It was blood curdling, chilling, from head to toe," Ray recounted on Instagram

If anything, the food star's candid response to the tragedy has drawn us to her even more. For one, if you think the tragedy's stopped "The Queen of Burgers" from making magic in the kitchen, think again. After a brief absence from food-related posting, Ray was back at it, making our stomachs rumble with lasagnas, pasta carbonara, and grilled Monte Cristo sandwiches from the kitchen of what used to be her guest house

But more than just persevering, Rachael Ray has been using her story to inspire. On September 12, 2020, Ray gave fans an inventory of what she'd lost in the fire. "15 years of memories, 40 years of notebooks, drawings, thoughts, my life's work ... In the years that I lived here, I Iearned an awful lot. In the few weeks since it burned, I think I've learned even more," Ray wrote. Now, Ray's taken her resilience a step further, sharing photos and footage on her social media of the fire that devastated her home.

How Rachael Ray is processing the loss of her home

The photos that Ray shared show the devastating chaos of rubble, burnt timber, and fallen trees sitting hauntingly against a breathtaking, vibrantly-green woodscape. Despite the wreckage, in the middle of her own personal tragedy, and the ones we are collectively surviving as a nation, Ray has used her online influence as a harbinger of not just delicious dishes, but hope.

She's put on a brave face since day one. Incredibly, in the hours after the fire, instead of despairing at her loss (as she had every right to), Ray sent out a thank you note through Twitter. "Thank you to our local first responders for being kind and gracious and saving what they could of our home," reflected Ray, "These are the days we all have to be grateful for what we have, not what we've lost." A month later she took to her social media soundbox again. "With skies red-orange over the west from wildfires raging ... we living in a continuing surging pandemic, our own home lost to fire, I am grateful for our first responders today, every day," she wrote

Ray will share her story, and footage of the fire, with the world on  September 14th's Rachael Ray Show. It seems unlikely she's doing it for dramatic effect. Instead, we'd place bets on her mid-September episode being a vivid reminder to us that, as Ray Instagrammed, "When one chapter ends, a new one begins."