It’s cold and gross outside and chances are good you’re currently in some sort of semi-vegetative state from all the Thanksgiving food, booze, and downtime with extended family. The long weekend is a perfect chance to luxuriate with some long reads. Here are a few favorites from the Reader archives that—like your grandma’s pumpkin pie—never get old. 

  • Speaking of pie, feast your eyes on the “The Real American Pie.” The 2009 James Beard award-winning feature from the late Cliff Doerksen examines the meaty history of the mince pie—a meat-and-booze-filled treat that was once woven into our national fabric. 
  • “Chicken of the Trees,” Mike Sula’s feature on how squirrels disappeared from the American diet, also won a Beard award.
  • In her 1999 feature “Brickyard Blues,” Tori Marlan painted a vivid portrait of the thankless, physically punishing world of brickyard workers. 
  • With Stanley Trigerman playing a role in the Chicago Architecture Biennial, it’s a good time to revisit “Tigerman on the loose,” Deanna Isaacs’s 2013 profile of Chicago architecture’s “bad boy.” 
  • This week, the New Yorker published a great piece on how a daughter of Westboro Baptist Church left the faith. In a similar vein, the 2009 Reader piece “The Passion of David Bazan” by Jessica Hopper explores how Pedro the Lion’s front man broke from his own evangelical Christian tradition.
  • Corruption in Cook County is always a relevant topic. In “Backstabbers,” Ben Joravsky, tells the story of Paul Newey, a chief investigator for the Cook County state’s attorney who discovered corruption that went all the way to the top of local government.
  • And here’s Lee Sandlin’s essential two-parter “Losing the War.”