Here's my idea of a perfect weekend:>> Fri nite, sit with a pile of my favorite cookbooks and plan menu for tomorrow night's dinner party.>> Saturday. In the morning, grocery shopping. Set the table for 7; debate over which dishes to use (OK, I admit it: I have way too many dish sets. I'm a yard-sale junkie.) Out to the garden for flowers (few) and fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, and garlic chives). Spend most of the day cooking and humming. Run to the farmers' market for last-minute extras; find lovely flowers. Indulge in a serene cup of tea. Debate music: Schumann or Nina Simone? Friends are here! We eat, drink, talk and laugh for hours. Guests offer to help clean up; I decline, with thanks. >> Sunday. Patsy Cline on the stereo. At my leisure, clean up from last night. No one believes me, but I actually prefer to do this myself the next day; it's a bit like enjoying the party all over again. Make a lunch from the leftovers. Stretch out in my reading chair with a John Sandford mystery, or maybe Robert Crais, or maybe William Kent Krueger, or maybe ...You figured it out: This weekend daydream hold clues to my background and my life. I love gardening, and I love cooking, and I love writing about both of them. To add a few specific biographical details: I grew up mostly in South Carolina (which is where I learned to love vegetable gardens), finished high school and college in Raleigh NC, and now live in Portland Oregon, where I cultivate a kitchen garden on my tiny patio and spend happy hours developing new dishes from the produce.