For Elly Leslie, cooking is only one of many hobbies and interests – but she truly enjoys the activity. “I eat very healthy, and I watch television for new ideas and recipes, print them from my computer and then try them,” she said. “Since my four children live in four different states (none of them California) I love to cook for them when they come to visit me.”

Leslie, who will be 80 years old in November, said the Madison Avenue Potato Salad recipe was given to her by her mother a very long time ago. “It uses a very small amount of mayonnaise and is therefore healthier than most,” said Leslie, who lives in Rancho Bernardo. “The warm potatoes are marinated in oil and vinegar, which gives the salad a zesty flavor. Yellow mustard adds to the savory aspect.”

When not trying out new recipes, Leslie – who lost Richard, her husband of 55 years, one month and five days, in 2008 – walks (two-to-three miles four days a week with five friends); plays piano concerts at local retirement homes; sings in choirs and jazz bands (she’s recorded three vocal CDs, the most recent in 2010); writes (her memoir, “Now Let’s Go Sin”, is available at; and tap dances – taking a weekly class. “Tapping is great for people of all ages, but especially seniors,” she said. “It keeps your mind strong and the body exercised. And it is so fun that one forgets one is actually exercising.”

[tabs] [tab title=”Ingredients”]

5 Large Redskinned Potatoes

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

6 tbsp salad oil (I use olive oil)

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp yellow mustard

3 tsp grated onion

1 cup large green olives, quartered

1 cup sliced celery

3 sliced hard-cooked eggs

[/tab] [tab title=”Directions”]

1. Boil potatoes until fork tender.
2. Peel and dice while still warm.
3. Mix vinegar, oil, salt & pepper, pour over warm potatoes and let marinate for 30 minutes @ room temperature.
4. Blend mayonnaise & mustard.
5. Then add olives, onion and celery to the mixture.
6. You can either add the eggs to this mixture or use the eggs later as a garnish around the edge of the salad bowl.
7. After 30 minutes, mix all ingredients together.

* This salad is at its most flavorful when served at room temperature.

* Serves 4 to 6

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