In the southern United States, where we northerners gather in our RVs to enjoy the warmer climate, a trip to a Ropa can become a social event. Ropas are big business. Leftover used clothing is purchased from charitable organizations and churches all over the USA and Canada, shipped to warehouses and sorted, baled and then transported to all parts of the world. We are always up for a new experience and when we heard these warehouses are often open to the public, we joined a group going to a Ropa. The veteran shoppers in the group climbed up onto the huge stack of fabrics and colours that looked like a tornado had just passed through. We novices watched as a picker pulled a pink sleeve from the pile. Layers of clothing had to be tugged and shoved in order to see the rest of the garment. Wrong size and it was tossed back onto the heap. A tug on a blue ruffle produced an evening gown with sequins and lace. Someone found a wedding dress. A man pulled out a wrinkled jacket and tried it on. “I like it,” he said. “I wonder what the return policy is?” Everyone looked up and laughed.

Unable to resist any longer, we waded in. A woman nearby was accumulating material for a quilt. Local ladies sat in clothing trenches, with their young children content around them, sorting shorts, shirts, tank tops and bathing suits at record speed. We wondered if a tug-of-war would erupt if two pickers each grabbed a sleeve, pulled, and discovered it was attached to the same garment. At the checkout, treasures were placed on a large scale and sold for 30 cents a pound.

Try these crepes for a unique breakfast or brunch experience. They can be made ahead or guests can have fun picking and packing their own.

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INGREDIENTS (Makes 8 servings)

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) melted butter
1 cup (240 mL) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) vanilla
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
canola oil.
mascarpone cheese or ricotta cheese.
fresh blueberries, peaches, raspberries or fruit in season.


Combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, flour, vanilla, and salt in a blender or mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
Add the flour and salt. Mix again until smooth. The crepe batter should be the consistency of heavy cream.
Set the batter in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat a crepe pan or 10-inch (24 cm) frying pan over medium- high heat. Brush the pan lightly with the canola oil.
Pour approximately 1/4 cup (60 mL) of batter into the centre of the pan. Tilt and twist the pan to spread the batter over the surface of the pan.
Cook each crepe until the edges begin to brown and the underside is golden. Turn each crepe over and cook for 1 more minute.
Brush the pan with oil between crepes. Stack the cooked crepes unevenly on a plate for easy lifting.
Place a row of mascarpone or ricotta cheese across the middle of each crepe.
Top the cheese with one or more of the fruits. Roll the crepes or fold them like pockets so they can be picked up to eat.

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