I learnt that preparation was almost key to a recipe. Get all your ingredients ready on the board before attempting a recipe. But also, get them prepared and ready to use. It is common sense really and prevent the headless chicken moment of running to fetch this and that when something is boiling or burning on the stove. Most of nowadays recipes flash of how fast they are yet don't take into account the prep, the good old peeling, or the chopping. It looks like a bang-bang in a pan done and dusted. But the reality is the chop-chop is not as fast when you are not a Chef.
Anyhow I enjoy the Prep' time. It is my time to relax, when I pour myself a little glass of wine while I catch up with the news on TV or the odd program. During that time, by getting all the ingredients, putting my hands in the cupboards and fridges, I get a good picture of what we are running low of, what we have an excess of, and what has been plundered secretly and put in an unsusual place in order for someone to not be found out that they spoon-dived into the peanut butter... Therefore it allows me to add the things I need on my shopping list pad, and prompts me to find nice recipes for the items I add in excess. It can be a pleasure like dealing with lots of ground almonds: Clafoutis and Bakewell Tart were tea time treats that week. But also noticing that something is the guilty pleasure of someone is somewhat a tell tale of their taste at that moment in time and as food is love and nurture, I whisked up a peanut butter ice cream...
For those three above reasons, I do enjoy assembling all the ingredients on the kitchen counter before even starting the recipe. Then I go to step two which is to prep and measure the ingredients. Doing that prior to cooking remove the stress of it, it can have sometimes, especially when cooking for a crowd of dinner guests. I see it as a measured way and calm approach. Once all is laid out and prepared on the counter, I read again the recipe I am attempting to then crack on with it confidently, knowing that I have everything at hand and the knowledge of every step of the process.
For me preparation is important because it is all about making your life easy. Some ingredients discolor, like apple or potatoes, so when dealing with those prep them last.