Food for Thought in the Summer! Image by freepik

Food for Thought in the Summer!

Embark on a gastronomic excursion where our team members present some of their favourite culinary creations, each exemplifying their research and, of course, identities. From the savoury pierogi to the sweet quente e frio, be inspired and remain engaged this summer!


Summer is here, and it is getting hot in the Netherlands! As we prepare to take a break from blogging until the autumn, we thought it would be enjoyable to share a few more things about our project through a delicious lens. Each team member will present a dish that not only tantalises the taste buds but also reflects our characteristics and research interests.

Think of it as a culinary journey through our academic lives—each dish is a metaphor for our work and personalities. From sustainable practices to innovative ideas, we hope that these food stories will provide some thought-provoking and tasty inspiration. If you are ready, let’s get to know each other and get hungry!

Agnieszka Jabłonowska – Fifty shades of dumplings 

Whenever I am asked about a traditional Polish dish, I always say pierogi (dumplings). In reality, this probably says more about my personal preferences than about national culinary traditions. There are certainly more elaborate Polish dishes, yet many of them come with meat (or worse, mushrooms!) and stay off my radar. Pierogi, by contrast, are a perfect combination of simplicity and flexibility: you can make them in so many flavours, store for later, and just cook when needed. At the same time, it’s pretty insane how many different versions of dumplings exist around the world – from ravioli to dim sum. Just as the dumplings differ, so do consumer identities. And yet, the law all too often assumes that we are all the same. 

If you are already craving pierogi, please find a recipe here. In the summertime, try a version with blueberries.

Tom Bouwman – Pancakes fit all!

In short, my research in the Consumer ID project examines whether EU consumer law should become less one-size-fits-all. But when is it a problem that EU consumer law is rather one-size-fits-all? That’s when consumers have different legitimate protection needs. To some extent, the same applies to cooking. Ideally, when you cook for more than one person, one meal meets everyone’s demands and wishes. With an almost three-year-old son at home, it is not always easy to find that one meal. Yet there is one thing that always works: pancakes (pannenkoeken). I like them, my girlfriend likes them, and – most importantly – my son likes them. The way we prepare pancakes in the Netherlands looks a bit like French crepes, but they are slightly thicker. Yet they are still thinner than American pancakes, and you can have them for dinner. The default toppings are syrup and powdered sugar, but you can also add cheese, bacon or apple. Curious? You can find a recipe here.

Anna D’Agostino – Consume sustainably, make pasta con mollica

One of my favourite dishes is pasta con mollica (pasta with breadcrumbs). Because, yes, there’s no such thing as too many carbs in Italian cuisine. Besides spaghetti and old bread, you need a clove of garlic, olive oil, a sprig of parsley, anchovies and a fresh chilli pepper. What I like most about the preparation of this dish is the process of repurposing old bread, the one left in the corner of the shelf and already hard as a stone, instead of throwing it away. You can use a mixer or break up the bread with your hands, depending on your level of patience. Reusing old bread is a common trick in many other Italian recipes, from South to North, such as stuffed squid and bread dumplings. For me, it is like creating a new flavour from something very simple and appreciating the value of this ingredient. I guess this dish has some connection to my research interest in sustainability, reusing resources and preventing waste. Next time you have some leftover bread, try this! Buon appetito, and don't forget to scarpetta at the end!

Carolina Lisboa Pinto – A sweet balancing act

As a dessert enthusiast, one of my favourite recipes to make is the Portuguese quente e frio, which translates to “hot and cold”. This dessert perfectly combines hot chocolate sauce and cold ice cream. To prepare it, you'll need Marie biscuits, dark chocolate, condensed milk, egg whites, and heavy cream. What I love most about this recipe—besides the fact that it contains chocolate—is the perfect balance between the hot and cold elements. Just as quente e frio demands a careful balance of temperatures, my research focuses on how legal frameworks must balance the interests of businesses with the protection of consumers and their diffuse identities. In particular, I explore whether current consumer protection laws are well-placed to address the challenges arising from the use of automated profiling by online marketplaces and consider the necessary adaptations. By ensuring that consumers are protected against potential exploitation by online marketplaces, my research aims to achieve a challenging harmony similar to the balance of temperatures found in quente e frio.

Laura Bakola – Let’s prosume!

Prosuming goods online can be fun but classic prosumption habits can be all the more fulfilling, enjoyable, and relaxing hobbies after a tiring day. Are you in the mood to produce and consume? Then it’s time for some summer cooking! Consider making Greek baked stuffed aubergine, so-called papoutsakia, meaning “little shoes”. In Consumer ID we are still in search of “fitting shoes” for our different consumer identities; but with aubergine being the ultimate summer vegetable, these “little shoes” can certainly fit in your summer prosumption habits. You can also go vegan.

Did you know? The word “economy” comes from the Ancient Greek words oikos, meaning “house”, and nemein, meaning “to manage”. Household management included production and consumption, taking place in the oikos. Although nowadays we are mostly consuming rather than producing, prosumption patterns are still many both in the online and the offline world. And if you want to go back to your prosumer roots, you only need to start cooking.

Pro-tip for the best prosumer experience: invite family and friends!

Vanessa Mak – A summery starter

Cooking is one of my absolute pleasures. Trying out new recipes, figuring out which ingredients go well together, finding substitutes if stocks in the kitchen have run out… All of this is a bit like the research that we conduct in our Consumer ID project too, where methodology and creativity go hand in hand in the pursuit of innovative solutions for consumer law problems. When at home, I often cook from Ottolenghi’s Simple, which is a very popular cookbook in the Netherlands. For this blog I selected a summery starter, using some really lovely ingredients combined in a blissful mix of soft burrata and chargrilled grapes, topped off with some basil and fennel seeds. Combine it with a glass of rosé or a non-alcoholic beverage of choice (sparkling water with a slice of lemon can do the trick here). Ideal food for warm summer evenings.