I was talking with some coworkers today and our conversation reminded me of this story from when I was about 20 years old. I had just started working as a butcher and I was fresh faced and wide eyed and about as big a sappy romantic that you ever could meet. I was also addicted to Food Network. I watched a ton of it all the time(trust me this is relevant). I was stocking the case when I noticed a woman feverishly looking through the meat case, looking frazzled. She'll be Val, I'll be Me.
Me: Can I help you find something? You look confused.
Val: Yeah, I just started dating a guy who is new to the city. He's from Philadelphia and he really misses cheesesteaks, I want to make him one for Valentine's Day, but I have no idea what I'm looking for.
Me: Well, you won't really find it here. What you need is very thinly sliced ribeye. (She slumps like I just told her that her dog died. I think on my feet and come up with a plan.) But listen, do you have time to come back later today?
Val: I guess, why?
Me: Well I can help you out. I just need to ask you a very crucial question. Does he like Pat's or Geno's?
Me: Those are the most famous cheesesteak places in Philly but they are very different.
Val: Oh he said something about Cheese Whiz? Does that matter?
Me: It does, that's Geno's. Ok, give me about 2 hours and I'll have everything ready for you.
Val: Really? You can do that?
Me: Technically I'm not really supposed to, but yeah I'll take care of you.
So when she left I tossed a couple ribeye steaks in the freezer to firm them up and proceeded to grab the Italian rolls, onions, cheese whiz, and some seasonings. When the meat was firm I put it on the slicer and shaved it thin. Sprinkled on a little seasoning and packaged it up. I also sautéed the onions for her and packed them as well. When she came back I handed her everything she needed so she could check out and gave her a sheet of instructions.
For a few months, about once a month, she and him would come in to shop and would always call ahead of time for me to slice up some more meat. Each time the guy would shake my hand and thank me for bringing him a little bit of Philly to our city. After maybe 8 months she came in and hugged me because he'd asked her to marry him and said that anyone who went through so much to make him a cheesesteak for Valentine's Day was worth marrying.