I don't mean the motorway service station that peddles distinctly average food to weary travellers.
The Little Chef, in this instance, is Lydia.
She has got into the habit of "helping" us when we are busy preparing meals in the kitchen, the point where she will say, "attend Daddy, je vais t'aider" (wait Daddy, I'm going to help you), then head off to her room to get her stool to stand on.
Of course, at her age the amount of help she can offer is debatable, and would more accurately be referred to as hindrance. Still, it's a nice gesture on her part to want to help us out.
As it was particularly rainy this weekend, I had a little think about what inside activities we could do, and I decided to get Lydia to make a chocolate cake (which actually came out more like biscuits or brownies).
I put an apron on and when Lydia saw this she immediately rushed off to her room and came back with her own apron (a play accessory we got from IKEA). Once she was properly dressed, we got to work on the cake.
I weighed out the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, milk and softened butter and put them in separate bowls, then got Lydia to tip each one into a big mixing bowl. She was very attentive and was careful to tip the bowls so that nothing fell on the floor.
Once this was in place, we mixed it all up using wooden spoons, although a fair amount of it was eaten before we managed to put it into the cake tray! It tasted delicious, and the fact that there were no eggs meant we didn't have to worry about Lydia eating raw cake mix. She loved it!
We popped it in the oven for about 45 minutes, then waited for it to cool down before tasting the finished product. It was nice, but I think I preferred eating the mixture before it was cooked!
At least all this means I have definitely found a rainy day activity that Lydia enjoys.