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This year was ripe with political conversation and conflict. That’s a given. At The Smart Set, we reflect on the things that brought us joy this year. These were the texts in which we found comfort: the noise control from the constant squawkings of pundits and politicians invading our spaces, from the bad feelings and vibes that permeated and settled into our skins. Here are the salves and balms that made 2017 a bit more pleasant. Some of us stayed in the present, finding these bits and bobs that helped accentuate some of the truly cool stuff that happened this year, that amplified some of the positive energies that erupted in 2017 — collective formations, activism, points of solidarity. Others looked back, finding pleasure in artifacts once looked over and discovering their relevance and pleasure. In a post-KonMari method world, it’s necessary to think of pleasure. In her 2011 book on tidying, she suggests holding each of your artifacts and asking “Does this bring me joy?” If yes, keep and cherish. If no, discard. This question is just as relevant to maintaining your body/mind/soul as it is your abode. With all the noise and distractions, the following items were the standouts that, when sorted into the piles of texts we consumed over the year, we could say in earnestness: this brought me joy.
More… “Best of 2017”

Get in touch with The Smart Set at editor@thesmartset.com.

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Portable, quick, satisfying, cheap and requiring neither plate nor cutlery, the sandwich is the most universal of all fast food, the archetypal hand-held snack. With the exception of people who don’t eat bread, for whatever reason, all of us eat sandwiches – and in an unusually wide range of contexts. They are eaten by school children and High Court judges, by soldiers and pacifists, by busy call-centre workers and leisurely picnickers. They are eaten in hospital wards, in prisons, in the lounges of four-star hotels and at the kitchen table. The sandwich is simply the quickest way of making a meal. We may speak and dream of other foods; we may pontificate on banquets and gastronomy; but a lot of the time, if we are honest, what we are really eating is sandwiches.

“Sandwiches in the twenty-first century,” writes the food historian Andrew F. Smith, “are… More…