Twelve Of Our Favorite Uproxx Life Pieces From 2016

There’s one thing that no one can disagree on: 2016 has been a year. It’s been great, it’s been terrible, it’s put us through the emotional wringer, and it’s given rise to important conversations about the future. It’s also been a year that’s inspired great writing everywhere, but especially here, in Uproxx’s LIFE vertical. And since we’ve only got one more day before we can bid this year goodbye and prepare for what’s to come, we’re ending it by running down our absolute favorite stories, which you should read before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve and they all disappear.*

A Fact-Soaked Odyssey Through Kentucky’s Bourbon Country

Consider this epic — which includes everything from the difference between whiskey and bourbon to an actual bourbon battle — your detailed introduction to The Bourbon Trail. Funny and insightful, Vince Mancini’s adventures with Maker’s Mark in Kentucky is a perfect read anytime, but especially important about three hours before the New Year’s party you’ll be going to Sunday night — you know, the one where at least five people will be talking about whiskey in those hushes and reverent tones reserved only for the most significant topics.

Don’t shy away: Impress them with your knowledge and #bourbonfacts.

Black Lives Matter, The Police, And The Nature Of False Dichotomies

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Is it possible to support Black Lives Matter and not vilify all police? Steve Bramucci breaks down the reasons why critical thinking and logic, especially in times of crisis, are necessary for America to heal, progress, and evolve.

The Story Of Frybread — From Cheap Staple To Cultural Touchstone

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Part autobiography, part cultural exploration, this piece by Zach Johnston unpacks the rich history of frybread, from its birth to the important place it holds in Native American culinary history.

Please also check out Zach’s follow up on “The Sioux Chef” and the fight to restore Native American cuisine.

Exploring Why Millennials Are ‘So Over’ The Big Mac

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One of the most devastating news items to burst forth from 2016’s hellmouth was the revelation that millennials just weren’t into Big Macs anymore. Brokenhearted, we sent E.S. Huffman — one of those millennials who was never into the burger in the first place —to investigate the Big Mac’s decline. We even made her ambush members of her generation who were just trying to eat in peace.

Examining LGBT Self-Loathing In A Post-Pulse Nightclub Shooting World

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, reports began to circulate about the perpetrator’s sexuality. Was he gay? And if he was, is it possible for him to have hated himself so much that he would take the life of so many others? This pieceexplores the nature of internalized homophobia, its place in our society, and how it can lead to fear, depression, and even destruction.

SERIES:Eat This City

Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one favorite, especially when a series like Eat This City is so full of gems. Check out our interviews with top chefs and cheflebrities — including Gail Simmons, Mike Isabella, and David Lawrence — in which they dish on the best places to eat in the cities they call home. (Book flights accordingly)

How To Travel The World Solo, According To Our Favorite Female Globetrotters

Traveling alone is different (and often more difficult) for women. So, Colleen Dunn asked some of the world’s foremost experts in solo travel to give us their best advice for conquering the world while you’re on your own. These tips could change your life!

Unwrapping The Mission Burrito, San Francisco’s Mysterious Culinary Creation

In which David Pemberton almost gets stabbed but then saves the day with a burrito. Because burritos.cure.everything. (Maybe not actual stab wounds, though, so we’re glad he’s okay.)

Facebook Allowed Us To Live In Echo Chambers This Election, It’s Up To Us To Break Out

Before you blame Facebook for Donald Trump’s win one more time before the big ball drops, check out Dan Seitz’s piece on accountability and personal responsibilityin an age where social media has become our latest and most dangerous echo chamber.

This Halloween’s Spookiest Story Includes A Very Old House, A Moaning Ghost, And A Corgi

When M.T. Anderson purchased his 18th century dream house in Vermont, he was warned that ghosts wailed outside (scary children ghosts — the worst kind) and that the house was categorically haunted. And then he found letters a child had written to a ghost. About corgis. And isn’t that how all the best horror stories begin?

SERIES:The Mad Ones

Our seriesThe Mad Ones is named for a Jack Kerouac quote: “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”

This year we traced these fabulous roman candles, sharing their stories as they crisscrossed the globe searching for joy, adventure, hope, wisdom, laughter, and some awesome photos.

The Story Of One Father’s Incredible Odyssey To Become A U.S. Citizen

Delenda Joseph has long been one of our favorite writers, and for good reason. On father’s day, she shared the story of her dad’s immigration to the U.S. from Haiti. The piece was a perfect balance of funny and heartfelt, offering a fresh perspective on the immigrant narrative in a time when immigration was being discussed on a national stage.

BONUS SERIES: Three Food Writers Face Off

If nothing else, 2016 was a year of (mostly unpleasant) surprises. So we’re going to end this list with a surprise of our own: One more entry! We do a lot of fun stuff here (and are paid to say that), but not much is more fun than when our writers face off to make the best tacos, BLTs, and Mac & Cheese. Enjoy these in good health and have a happy new year!

*No, just kidding. They’ll all still be here. But we’ve got to create that sense of urgency, you know? You get it!