1:55 AMPosted by Scholar
Preparing for Shabbos:
While the Jews were in the desert, they gathered the manna they would eat on Shabbos(along with Friday's portion). The manna was gathered early in the morning. From here our Sages learn that we should begin our Shabbos preparations early Friday morning.
Purchasing Shabbos Food:
Right after davening(praying) on Friday morning one should begin preparing for Shabbos. If one has a custom to learn right after they should try and avoid the session getting drawn out so he can still prepare for Shabbos.
Even if all preparations were done Friday morning one should still do some form of preparation just before Shabbos.
When purchasing items for Shabbos one should declare "l'kavod Shabbos, for the honor of Shabbos," by doing so the holiness of Shabbos rests upon the purchased item.
It is a custom to bake Challah in honor of Shabbos. The custom includes baking enough challah to enable one to fulfill the mitzva of separating challah on Erev Shabbos.
Getting involved in the Shabbos preparation:
There is a general rule that it is better to perform a mitzva oneself then through an agent. A person should get involved in the preparation work for Shabbos even if his family is doing the work. Even an important person has the obligation to prepare for Shabbos. It is an honor for anyone to prepare for Shabbos. One must clean their house in honor of Shabbos. One should envision a king coming to visit the house, how hard would we all work to prepare for such a visit! All the more so should we work for the Shabbos Queen.
Tasting the Shabbos food:
There is a mitzva to taste each of the Shabbos foods before Shabbos to see if it requires any further preparation. It is also a Mitzva to taste all the dishes on Shabbos itself, there is a hint to this from the Mussaf Prayer, "Those who taste it, merit life."