Sign in

You can travel the world, and you’ll find shawarma on menus in populous places everywhere. The Middle East. Northern Africa. Expat communities in Toronto, New York, São Paulo, Los Angeles, and Buenos Aires.

Thousands upon thousands of vendors will proclaim they have the best shawarma in the world. And not one of them is lying.

That’s the great thing about shawarma. Whether it’s spelled that way or as chawarma, shaurma, showarma, or any other variation, the things that make it great are universal. …


I’m a huge fan of British murder mysteries. I especially enjoy the ones that are set from about 1880 until around 1920, before traditional English culture was so very changed by World War I.

In these stories by the likes of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Patricia Wentworth, you’ll come across the phrase, “Shall I be mother?” It seems like a strange question until you realize someone is asking if they should pour tea for everyone.

It’s only fitting, then, that tea is a beverage associated with mothers, at least in the United Kingdom. And on my last visit to…


As Mr. Mike Ballard and I have traveled the world searching for our next home, we’ve encountered numerous expat communities in places that sometimes surprise us.

Expatriates are people who live outside their native countries, and they do so for many reasons. Some have moved for work, others have moved to follow loved ones, and then there are the lucky people who have retired overseas, often to tropical locales, to enjoy the fruits of their labor under a palm tree on the beach.

Roatán, Honduras, is a melting pot of all these types of expats mixed with a population of…


Several years ago, Mr. Mike Ballard and I rented a yacht and took the boys on a sailing trip through the Dodecanese Islands of Greece.

It was entirely Gwyneth Paltrow’s fault and not nearly as glamorous as one might imagine, but it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

One of my favorite memories from this adventure happened on Tilos. I’d heard about the island’s Eristos Beach, where self-proclaimed “hippies” from all over Greece and beyond descend upon the shoreline to camp in a makeshift commune for the summer.

As we dropped our yacht’s anchor and…


Travel is in the air!

More and more people are getting vaccinated, and countries are beginning to reopen their borders and welcome visitors once more. Many people are digging out their passports, counting their vacation days, and dreaming of exotic locales they might actually get to see in person for a change.

It’s been so long since most of us have been able to travel that many people have practically forgotten how to pack a suitcase. The producers of Morning Beats, the morning television show airing on The Heartland Network and The Family Channel, recently asked Mr. Mike Ballard and…


Morocco is one of my favorite places on the planet. It’s the country I’ve visited most often outside North America, and every visit has a bit of magic and mystery.

I took a solo trip to Rabat a few years ago to volunteer as an English teacher, and a weekend excursion found me in Merzouga, a town in eastern Morocco just 31 miles (50 km) from the border of Algeria. …


I have been a fan of soup my whole life. Broths and bisques, consommés and chowders, I adore them all.

And it doesn’t matter to me what time of year it is, either. I’ll eat a steaming bowl of stew in the middle of a sweltering summer and not think twice about it. I’ve often tried to order soup off the menu when I’m traveling, and waiters in steamy locales like Bali and Brazil look at me like I’m crazy. “But madame, it’s summer.”

(These are also usually the places with eight-page menus, of which only eight total items are…


Rather than a single piece of land, the Republic of the Philippines is comprised of more than 7,600 islands that form an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. And when you begin exploring Filipino cuisine, it seems there are as many different approaches to local food as the country has islands.

When faced with this many delicious things to discover, we generally try to find a street food tour. …


Having been raised in the American South, I learned at an early age that butter is its own food group. Sweet dish or savory? Doesn’t matter. It needs butter. Are you having breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Irrelevant. Butter is required.

But when you travel the world, you discover that not every culture uses butter. In the European South, for example, butter is often difficult to make and store, therefore, it’s quite expensive. You’ll find widespread use of oils like olive, walnut, and grapeseed in Mediterranean cuisine instead.

Butter didn’t even exist in Japan until it was introduced by Westerners during…


I absolutely love shrimp.

I love shrimp so much that all-you-can-eat seafood buffets and coastal wedding receptions should be afraid when they see me coming.

I was pescatarian for several years, and I didn’t miss meat at all. (Except, perhaps, for bacon-wrapped shrimp.)

But even as a lifelong shrimp connoisseur, I paused for a moment in India when first presented with pickled shrimp.

We went to Mumbai on a whim. I found an amazing deal for round-trip flights from New York for $314 apiece, and we took the boys for a fall break adventure in 2015. …

Angela Ballard

Food and folklore from my travels to over 100 countries.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store