“Mettre la main à la pâte” is a lovely French expression that translates literally to “to put the hand at the dough”. The English meaning is:
- to lend a hand
- to lend a helping hand
- to chip in
- pitch in
- to muck in (UK)
The idea is that by helping to knead the dough you’re offering a helping hand. Expressio.fr gives a great French definition: to participate in work, in what needs to be one.
Here’s an example sentence:
Tous ce qui assistent à la fete mettent la main à la pate: Jacques prépare la salade, Marie prépare la pizza et Jean prépare le dessert. Everybody who’s attending the party is lending a hand: Jacques is making the salad, Marie is making the pizza and Jean is making the dessert.