My memories of Ellicott City, MD, are vague but happy. I somehow missed the severity of the 2016 and 2018 floods, perhaps due to marital issues.
My college roommate hailed from Ellicott City, and after living in Texas and North Carolina, returned to the Baltimore suburbs. A town neighboring Ellicott.
My college roommate, we’ll call her N to respect her privacy, was part of the same college social circle as my husband and I. Long before my husband and I dated, we did things like pile into N’s black Honda Accord, the car on which I learned to drive a manual transmission while blasting Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill, to swarm into N’s parents’ split level house and spend the weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Faire.
I can’t even tell you for sure what I did in Ellicott City. I know N always took me proudly down Main Street for a walk. I remember a shop with crazy hats, lively colors and the memory of a velvety texture.
When my daughter was 2, yes the teenager, I drove the three hours alone to meet N and my high school best friend who drove three hours up from Virginia. And we took lots of photos on Main Street in Ellicott City. I recall antique stores on that trip.
And I locked my keys in the trunk of the car at a rest stop two hours away from home at dusk.
I also know of another trip where N took me for coffee and dessert at what I believe was a French restaurant one night. Where I taste pear tart tartine for the first time.
I have very key memories of Ellicott City.
Now, if you’ve been around this blog for a while, you probably know I have a strong admiration for Gordon Ramsay. I also have some rather strong unladylike feelings for Chef.
I can’t help it— I like tall, athletic men with exotic accents and bad attitudes. And I’m a Taurus so food is really important to me.
So when I saw that Gordon filmed an episode of his latest TV show in Ellicott City a few months ago, I did what any fan girl would do: I squealed and texted all my friends. Okay, maybe not all of them. My almost ex-husband and N. I haven’t reached out to N in months but this was important.
The episode aired May 13 and is available on Hulu now.
N said she hadn’t seen it, but most of Ellicott City is still boarded up. She’s heard that the locals feel like Gordon came across as single-handedly taking credit for rebuilding the town.
(They had catastrophic 1,000 year floods two years apart—2016 and 2018.)
Gordon worked with four local businesses and made some cosmetic improvements. And then Covid hit.
I watched the double episode and didn’t feel like Gordon was being an egotistical maniac. He was kinder and more in the background than he usually is.
The story of the episode really focused on the trauma and the struggles and the personalities of the business owners and the community at large.
If anything, it seemed to honor the spirit of the town and the grit of the businesses.
I hope N gets to watch it.
I’d like to hear her opinion.
In the meantime, we need to amend the constitution so Gordon can run for President. He always seems to have his act together. Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger can be his running mate.