In Central Australia, people used innovative means to obtain a balanced diet.
The food categories, and their Arrernte names are:
|Kere||food from animals; meat, fat, offal, blood, eggs||Kere arlewatyerre (goanna), Kere ulkerte (perentie), Kere arntetherrke (carpet snake), Kere aherre (kangaroo), Kere antenhe (possum), Kere inape (porcupine (echidna)), Kere ankerre (emu).|
|Merne||food from plants; fruit, vegetables||Merne atwakeye (wild orange), Merne arrutnenge (wild passionfruit), Merne pmerlpe (quandong), Merne mwanyeme (bush tomato), Merne arnweketye (conkerberry), Merne alangkwe (bush banana), Merne arlatyeye (pencil yam).|
|Ntange (Merne ntange)||edible seeds||Merne ntange ulyawe (Pigweed seed), Merne ntange arlepe (Prickly wattle seed), Merne ntange artetye (Mulga seed), Merne ntange arlketyerre (Dead finish seed). |
(See also: seedcakes)
|Tyape||edible grubs and insects; witchetties, cicadas,||Tyape atnyematye (Witchetty grub), Tyape ahernenge (River red gum grub), Tyape ankerrutne (Coolibah tree grub), Tyape tyerraye (Cicadas), Tyape ayepe-arenye (Tar vine caterpillars). Tyape atnyematye (Witchetty grub)|
|Ngkwarle||honey-like foods; nectar, wild honey, lerps, gum|
Ngkwarle athenge arlperle (Ironwood tree gum), Ngkwarle alkerampwe (Mulga tree gum, Ngkwarle arlperrampwe (Whitewood tree gum, Ngkwarle atnyerampwe (Supplejack tree gum), Ngkwarle akikarre (Witchetty bush gum), Ngkwarle aperarnte (River Red gum honeydew, Ngkwarle yerrampe, (Honeyant), Ngkwarle arwengalkere (Native bee honey), Ngkwarle untyeyampe (Corkwood flower nectar).
Some other category words from Arrernte that are used in relation to food include:
|Murnyaŋ' (plant or vegetable food) Alternative names: Dhäkadatj; Ŋayaŋay', Buku-bira'||Gonyil (meat, shellfish, eggs) Alternative names: Matha-yal, Merrpal'Matha-bira, Ŋänarr-yal|
|1. Borum— fruits||1. Warrakan'— land animals and birds|
|2. Guku— bee products||2. Miyapunu— marine mammals|
|3. Ŋatha— root foods||3. Maranydjalk— rays and sharks|
|4. Manutji Ŋatha— seeds||4. Guya— fish|
|5. Mudhuŋay— cycad foodstuffs||5. Maypal— shellfish, crabs|
|6. Mapu— eggs|
The old people would talk about the need to eat from both murŋyan' and gonyil food groups and the need to supplement their diet with gapu (fresh water). While this balance was maintained, the people knew they were eating correctly.
When the men would come back from the magpie goose hunt, they would be craving murnyaŋ foods after having eaten so much meat and eggs. While the women, children and old people back in the camps would be looking forward to gonyil, Magpie goose meat and eggs, after eating so much murnyaŋ'.