Join the conversation! Here's what folks are saying about "What's On Your Plate?" Share your thoughts too, as well as your recipes and questions. Recipes will also be added to our blog. And teachers, you have your own space to brainstorm the best ways to use the film modules and curriculum. What works best? What other activities do you suggest? How have your students responded? Be a part of it! Thanks!

What You Think (All) | General Comments | Teacher's Corner | Recipes
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Northampton, MA
General Comments
Fran and I thoroughly enjoyed What's on your Plate. The two girls were fabulous: funny, smart, earnest. The animations in between scenes were charming and informative at the same time. The folks the girls interviewed were diverse and interesting and represented many different elements of this topic. And the important messages were on the right level for kids but for adults, too. We spoke to the mother of two kids who were there and she reported that they loved the movies, as did she.

Northampton, MA
General Comments
We took our kids to see the film in Northampton, MA along with a whole crowd from Jackson Street School and were really inspired. It renewed our commitment to eating locally grown food and supporting area farmers. Thanks for the inspiration and great job making the whole topic so interesting for adults and kids alike! The 4th graders in Susan Ebitz's class had a great time selling eggs in the lobby of the theatre, that came from chickens that hatched after being incubated in a 2nd grade classroom and had grown up on her farm.

New York, NY
General Comments

McDonald’s Is...

by Rio Hope-Gund

McDonald’s is your

house catching fire on

Christmas Eve. McDonald’s is

a volcano erupting when you

are near. McDonald’s is

falling off of a really

tall horse. McDonald’s is

a scary clown that makes

you fat. McDonald’s is getting brainwashed.

McDonald’s is getting icicles sticking out

your nose. McDonald’s is just McDonald’s.

New York, NY
General Comments

Farmers Market Shopping Cart

by Nellie Engle


a petunia and

a dozen eggs

Swiss chard

mint and

lemon balm



tomato plants

Ronnybrook Farm milkshake

(yuck), asparagus, and our shopping



Madison, WI
General Comments
I just viewed the film at the Tales from Planet Earth film festival in Madison, WI this morning. What a phenomenal addition to the growing body of research in food studies, politics and anthropology! I was so happy to see an audience full of kids, college students, chefs, parents and teachers. I hope this kind of enthusiasm for change isn't unique only to Madison - let's hope this message reaches beyond progressive little towns like ours.

New York, NY
Teacher's Corner
Matt's Calorie Experiment featured in the film


  • Test Tube
  • 20 mL water
  • Test-tube tongs
  • Thermometer
  • Aluminum pan
  • Metal Skewer
  • Stopwatch
  • Lighter or Matches
  • Walnut (or any nut)
  • Marshmallow (or any candy)
  • Funyun (or any chip)
  • Pencil

Procedure (As seen in Movie):

  1. Place students in groups of 4
  2. Assign each student in each group one of four jobs: test tube holder; food holder; time watcher; data recorder.
  3. Once each job has been assigned, the test tube holder should go to the sink and fill the beaker with 20mL of water.
  4. Tell the test tube holder to place the thermometer in the water. The data recorder should record the initial temperature of the water in degrees Celsius in the data sheet under “Initial Temperature.”
  5. Once the initial temperature has been recorded, the test tube holder should hold the tube with the test tube tongs.
  6. Next, tell the food holder to place the marshmallow on the metal skewer, and hold it over the aluminum pan (to prevent mess).
  7. When the food holder is in position, the test tube should be held just above the marshmallow (See Film for Visual).
  8. When all students are in position, the teacher can light the marshmallow using the lighter.
  9. The time-watcher should start the stopwatch as soon as the marshmallow is lit.
  10. The time-watcher should stop the watch when the fire goes out. If the marshmallow falls off of the skewer into the aluminum pan but is still burning, time is not up.
  11. The data recorder should record in the data table the amount of time the marshmallow burned. The burning marsmallow will have caused the temperature of the water in the tube to rise, so the temperature of the water at the time the marshmallow stopped burning should also be recorded under “Temperature Two.”
  12. Once all information has been recorded, spill the hot water out of the tube into the sink and get another fresh 20mL.
  13. Repeat procedure for walnut and funyun.

Data Sheet:

Food Item Initial Temperature of Water (°C) Temperature Two (°C) Time Item Burned

New York, NY
General Comments
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has published their Methodological Toolbox on the Right to Food. The toolbox includes a Guide on Legislating for the Right to Food and the FAO's Budget Work to Advance the Right to Food. To download these analytical, educational and normative tools in pdf format, visit here.

San Pancho, Nayarit MX

One of the things I enjoy most about cooking is inventing recipes, and few things lend themselves to reinvention as readily as gazpacho and salsa.

Gazpacho is like salad soup. I usually like to make it by chopping up heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions, and fresh sweet and spicy peppers, cucumbers, and parsley. I mix it all together and then scoop out half and put it in the blender with some olive oil, vinegar, garlic and tomato juice and puree it. Then I mix the pureed and the chopped vegetables together, add a little salt, and serve it up.

Here in Nayarit, it's hard to find really great heirloom tomatoes and sweet onions, so I make a pureed gazpacho rather than a chopped one, and I top it with avocado cream. It makes better use of what we have and it still tastes good.


  • 1 ½ cup of tomato juice
  • 1 whole small cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 6 roma or 3 beefsteak tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 1 roasted red bellpepper, peeled and cored
  • ½ seeded Serrano pepper, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1 spring of cilantro
  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped

Put the juices in a blender with the oil and vinegar and then add the rest of the ingredients a handful at time while you puree. Once the mixture is smooth, check for salt. Chill in the fridge.

Avocado Cream

  • 1 sprig of cilantro
  • 1 whole shelled avocado, chopped
  • ¾ cup of orange juice
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ½ cup of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • salt to taste

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Check for salt. Refrigerate.

Once the soup and cream are chilled, pour the soup into bowls and put a generous dollop of the avocado cream on top. It’s a great treat.

Stewed Tropical Fruit Salsa

I also experimented with making a cooked fruit salsa in order to use up fresh fruit once it goes a little past ripe. I think it turned out pretty good. See what you think.

  • 1 cup of chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh papaya
  • 2 or 3 roma tomatoes, peeled seeded, cored
  • ½ cup of onion chopped
  • Half of a jalapeno pepper, seed and ribs removed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of catsup
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ½ tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

To peel a tomato, cut an “x” about half an inch long on each cross into the end of the fruit and then drop it into enough boiling water to cover. Let it sit in the water for a couple of minutes and then remove and place in ice cold water. Once it is cool enough to handle, the skin on the end you cut should be curling back a little. It will peel off easily. If it doesn't, you haven't boiled it for long enough. If it's soft, you've gone too far and should save that tomato for sauce.

Now you know what a recipe is calling for when it asks for a tomato concasse. It’s just a peeled tomato with the core and seeds removed, usually chopped up. If you like tomato skin you don’t need to do it but, be forewarned, the skin of the tomato will curl up into tough little strips in your salsa.

Once you’ve prepared all of the ingredients, mix all of them together and let the whole mess sit for a while (a process called maceration which will cause the fruit to weep some of it’s juice). After about 10 minutes or so, dump the fruit and vegetable mixture into a sauce pot and heat it on med-low heat until it starts to bubble. Mix and mash as you go. Once the whole thing looks like chunky baby food (about 10 minutes) take it off the heat and let it cool.

Once it is safely cool, put it in a blender and puree it until it is the consistency of course catsup. Add salt if you like.

If you don’t have fresh pineapple, used canned. The crushed stuff saves you the trouble of having to chop it, but, having worked in the pineapple fields, I can tell you that what’s in the crushed stuff is what didn’t make it as chopped which, in turn, didn’t make it as rings. Juice is made from what you can’t make into anything else. Papaya is available frozen.

Up there in the U.S. you might want to substitute local fruit for the tropical fruits that I use. You can make a delicious compote with things like apples, apricots, raisins, and pears.

You can also easily find heirloom tomatoes and onions as sweet as apples for fresh salsas and traditional gazpacho, all locally grown by organic growers and available at farmers' markets. Your local organic farmers will appreciate the business, and the rewards of supporting them are delicious.

San Pancho, Nayarit MX

Hi Sadie, Safiya and Cat!

This soup is one of my favorites. I was inspired to make it after having it at Rosa's Mexicana, a justly famous Mexican restaurant in New York. I love the texture and flavor. I hope you do, too.

To make the soup, you need the following:

  • 4 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 6 cups of cold, low sodium chicken stock*
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon of minced cilantro
  • 1 serrano, jalapeno, or habanero pepper, ribs and seeds removed and minced
  • 1/2 seedless watermelon
  • Salt to taste
  • A squeeze of lime juice

*You can substitute vegetable broth or stock if you want the soup to be vegetarian, but I like chicken stock.

Place the avocado, a cup of stock, orange juice, zest and cilantro into a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the rest of the stock and blend until completely combined. Salt to taste.

If you like heat, use the habanero. Habanero peppers have a sweet, floral taste that I like, but they are the hottest peppers out there and the soup will be noticeably spicy. If you touch the habanero with your bare hands, be sure to wash. If you touch your eyes or lips before washing your hands you'll be sorry. It'll only burn for 7 or 8 minutes but it will feel like forever.

Once you've gotten your soup nice and creamy, top it with a pile of chopped watermelon, no seeds, and a squeeze of lime. If you want a really nice presentation, pour the soup into the bowl that is created from the rind of the halved watermelon after you scoop the flesh out.

This much soup will feed around 6 people. It's a delicious change of pace and a great thing to serve chilled on a hot day.

If you have a smaller crowd or you're serving it with a large meal, I strongly recommend cutting the recipe down. It doesn't store well and avocados turn an unappealing shade of greenish black when they oxidize.

New York, NY
General Comments

Oh yes indeed... And Monsanto uses basically criminal means to stop people from investigating, criticizing, opposing. It's quite unbelievable. What can one do? Your film and Food, Inc., as well as The World according to Monsanto, would really all be REQUIRED viewing for all consumers and purveyors of food, and restaurateurs - that is, for everyone!!

I had horrible dreams of meat (!) after seeing Food, INC., and awoke in the middle of the night with stomach ache and nausea... Ugh.

It's all very scary. Food can be filthy in the EU too, but there are things allowed here that aren't allowed there - like atrazine pesticides, which are in the ground water. And corn fed to cows! The disgusting insanity of it! And GMOs, which have been opposed in the EU for years now. I'm increasingly realizing that it's actually DANGEROUS to eat here - and one has to put so much thought, knowledge, time and money into NOT being poisoned. (No wonder there are so many fat people around...) For instance, there's a Greek yoghurt I love, Kesso, but it's not organic - I decided to call to enquire where the milk comes from. They don't really know - it's clearly industrial so probably contains antibiotics, pesticides, and even the dreaded rGh of Monsanto... So I'll have to stop eating it. My goodness. If only it were only a matter of grassroots, but the legislation is still in favor of those corn and meatpacking and GMO people and it's not as if the revolving door policy has entirely stopped under Obama! All those decades of criminal lobbying can't be undone un a matter of months. That's why I'm signing all those petitions, we all have to, the more voices the better. As that fantastic farmer in Food, Inc., of whom Pollan had written about, says, agribusiness is like the tobacco industry, and if there's enough pressure perhaps some of this horror will begin to be undone.

Anyway, onward!

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