When she first got to our place I told her I really needed her help later. All kids love to help. When I was ready, I pulled up a chair, stood her on it and let her sprinkle the crispy onions on the already prepared green bean casserole. She kept yelling to everybody in the other room, "Me cooking! Daddy, me cooking! Capaw [which is how she pronouces grandpa] me cooking! Mommy, me cooking!" She was so excited and proud she could hardly contain herself. She next got to sprinkle the mini marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. In her mind, she was a full blown chef at this point.
All during the Thanksgiving meal, I kept making a point to say "Mmm, Sophia the green beans you made are so good." "Sophia these sweet potatoes are the best." It kept her grinning and helped the picky little eater to taste more than she normally would have.
For the rest of the weekend, whenever I went into the kitchen, she tried to drag "her" chair in to help some more. It takes so little to make toddlers happy. I can't wait to get my own little one in the kitchen to "help mommy" and see him or her beaming with pride from having accomplished some real work.