It was start-up time in a newly founded meat marketing venture, when out of the clear blue came this call from the high school superintendent.
He asked if I would be willing to teach the VO-AG classes until a teacher could be hired. He was in a bit of a panic, as school was about to start in a couple of weeks, and he was without a teacher.
First of all, I told him that I didn’t have a teacher’s degree, for which he assured me that there would be no problem. Second, there was no way I could walk away from my business without some kind of compensation plan. Again, he assured me that he would provide an office in the school, as well as a part-time high school girl to handle all secretarial duties.
It was a reciprocal arrangement that proved to be a win/win for all involved. Not only were there long lasting relationships that evolved and prestigious honors reciprocated, there was the tangible gleaning of at least one keepsake — a hog cooker.
This was long before hog cookers were so popular. So when the kids asked for a project that they could do in the shop, I offered to buy all of the material if they would design and build a hog cooker. It remains to this day one of my treasured possessions.
It has been modified and updated over time, but continues to be an actively used piece of equipment. From community functions to family affairs it stays red-up for most of the summer.
There’s a hog cooker on every street comer in today’s world, but none that can compare with the one my boys made in FFA. I’m so proud of those guys, as it has stood the test of time and will be handled down for generations to come.
Hog cookers come and go — rusted out, burnt out or worn out — but this one is better than the day it was built. More proof that when quality and workmanship come rst, the net result will be that of a product that you can be proud.
Pride in your cooking begins with quality meat selection and ends with a quality cooking experience. If either comes up short — you’re stuck holding the bag! 

Read also: "Value Added Grilling Selections"

"PONY TALES by" Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the "Farm And Livestock Directory" every month.