By: James Calemine
Published in 1999 by the University of Georgia’s Hill Street Press, Dexter Weaver’s book Automatic Y’all contains stories and recipes revolving around the Athens, Georgia, soul food joint Weaver D’s. Weaver grew up in Athens. In Automatic Y’all he reveals how cooking became his life, and eventually how his restaurant slogan became the title for one of R.E.M.s greatest selling albums.
Each chapter begins with a slogan of Weaver’s like, “In the ghetto, your notebook is your treasure chest” or “Greens are good for you, but it’s the drippings that make you want to eat em’. Taste life!” Dexter began preaching in 1976, and there are powerful biblical convictions through these pages that resonate with the reader.
Weaver D’s eatery has served as a main cultural staple in Athens since 1986. Dexter Weaver’s motto, “Automatic For The People”, caught the local band R.E.M’s eye, and they asked permission to use the title to an album that ended up as a Grammy-nominated album of the same name in 1992. Warner Brothers shipped Weaver D’s special peanuts all over the world for promotion of the album.
The soul food guru outlines his religious upbringing and humble intentions along with advice and insight on what it takes to make people coming back to his place. He’s a great guy, always has been. When I attended The University of Georgia, I sometimes ate there every day of the week.
The book contains rare photographs, culinary insight and over 50 recipes that prove worth the time to inspect and try to replicate in one’s own kitchen. His cooking philosophy always ran parallel with his strong spiritual convictions, which seems to explain why his food is so soulful. The chicken has always been out of sight, and his greens are my all-time favorite, but also dishes like sweet potato soufflé, broccoli with cheese, potato salad and fried squash rank as delectable. My old friends Widespread Panic once issued a statement regarding Weaver D’s that still resonates: “We’ve eaten at Weaver D’s a lot over the years. It’s just good home cooking and you can always count on Weaver to make you happy.”
Excerpt from Insured Beyond The Grave Vol. 2…