On Grey's Anatomy, Izzy Stevens goes into a baking frenzy when she is stressed or upset about something. I'm not nearly that bad, but I do find that baking calms me down. I like baking muffins on a regular basis, and love making cookies or other treats to share with friends. Making up a batch of something I know a certain person will like is my way of saying I'm thinking about them. Not having access to an oven (the Japanese concept of "kitchen," especially in small apartments, does not much resemble that which I grew up baking and cooking in), my ability to bake is severely limited.
A number of years ago, when I lived out in the boonies of Chiba and had a fairly big one-room apartment I had a toaster oven. I decided to try using my toaster (which was a oven-type toaster, not one of those ones with two bread slits in the top) to bake cookies, and made up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies. I discovered the cookies had to be quite small to bake properly in the oven, and I could only bake two or three at a time... it ended up taking me about three days straight to bake the darn things, jumping up every 20 minutes to take out three cookies and spoon three more onto the pan... The sad thing was that I took the cookies to work and they were inhaled immediately - disappearing in under 30 minutes!
With all of that in mind, when a good friend of mine finally admitted (after about 20 minutes of beating around the bush) that she and her boyfriend of 2 years were in a very rocky patch and it seemed like they'd be breaking up, I immediately wanted to make her something. I settled first for taking her out for a couple of drinks and listening to her (I'm guessing she hasn't actually told anybody else, so this in itself was important). But when I got home I wanted to make her something, to cheer her up or at least make her feel cared for. I settled on Bakerella's Oreo truffles, and whipped up a batch that very night. They turned out really really really yummy, but it has been years since I made chocolates and I hadn't figured out how to make do with the limited supplies I had, so the end result didn't look all that impressive. They were yummy though, and my friends (including the intended recipient) gobbled them down happily.
I went out with the friend in question again this weekend and she's still in a pretty tough place - things are dragging out and both parties are getting hurt. So after I listened and offered some advice I got to thinking about making another batch of chocolates, this time incorporating one of my friend's favourites, matcha (green tea). I had a few problems with the centres of these ones - trying to balance matcha and chocolate flavours. They looked better than last week's bunch though and disappeared just as quickly.
The only trouble is, after taking in goodies two weeks in a row, one friend innocently asked me today "so what is next week's flavour?"