In this series of four programmes broadcast over Christmas, Sheila Dillon explores the link between tradition and food.
First, in the run-up to Christmas, she takes an irreverent look at baking - and the connection between baking and being a "Good Wife and Mother. She begins by visiting a "Clandestine Cake Club", which meets every month in a secret location. This month's location takes the theme of the Mad Hatter's tea-party; the members have risen to the challenge and the cakes are truly extravagant. The founder of the cake club, Lynne Hill, sets out her vision for a world brought together by sharing cake. Sheila visits a cake-decorating competition for teenagers, and talks to girls about the particularly feminine lure of cake. She meets a cultural historian of cake, Professor Nicola Humble, whose book on cake traces our current passion back to Elizabethan days, and who explains the long connection between women and cake. But we also have a perspective from a man devoted to cake, former Bake-Off winner John Whaite. He reflects on the connection between gender and cake, and introduces his alternative take on Christmas Cake.
With cake recipes, both ancient and modern, for the website.
Producer: Elizabeth Burke.