If one wants to prepare a meal, one may do borer activities of selecting ochel mitoch pesoles if it takes place as part of the normal preparatory time for a meal that will occur immediately thereafter. For instance, if it takes 30 minutes to prepare for a meal, then one may start doing borer activities of selecting ochel mitoch pesoles 30 minutes prior to the meal. Lets say one estimated that the preparation time would have taken 30 minutes. However, 20 minutes into the preparation time, he realizes that he has only one more borer activity to do, and this activity should take only two minutes. If he does the activity now, then this last activity will end up not having been immediately prior to the meal (there will be 8 minutes left to the start time) and he doesn’t want to begin the meal earlier (e.g. he wants to wait for guests that are scheduled to arrive at the end of the 30 minute anticipated preparation time). So should he wait until the last 2 minutes of the anticipated 30 minute preparation time to do this last borer activity?
The idea that the preparation time is included in the “meal” does not mean that the woman has to be timed exactly to the minute, that the minute that she finishes her preparations they will start the meal. As long as she doesn’t mean to prepare and then take a break, it is considered prior to the meal. Therefore even if she finishes five or 8 minutes before the meal she is still alright.