You can also make plates yourself, crafting raw clay plates with three clay balls in a row:
Once the plate has been placed on a block you can right-click it with a food item to place that item on the plate. You can stack up to 64 food items of the same food type on a single plate (since Public Beta 21). Cakes and soups can not be stacked on plates.
Right-clicking a filled plate with something else or empty handed, will feed the player one piece. If you want to take a single piece, shift-right-click the plate (since Public Beta 21). If you want to take all food and the plate, break the plate (left-click).
Plates can also be thrown, causing minor damage to any mob they hit, and breaking random glass or glowstone blocks that they fly through in a 5x5 corridor. Hobbits can also throw plates at you. You can auto-shoot plates by dispensers.
The achievement 'Kitchen Brawler' is awarded for killing a Middle-earth NPC upon which damage has been inflicted only by thrown plates.