Onion grass grows wild everywhere in my area, wild thyme covers large patches of a friend's lawn, and I found purslane in between our stone patio slabs. Not that any of this would provide enough for a meal, but the idea of foraging is no longer associated with having to make ends meet but is rather fashionable. During the summer months foraging learning walks are offered in many places, and lamb's quarters and nettle tea don't sound as far out as they might have twenty-five years ago.
Danish chef René Redzepi became world known for the fabulous and wondrous New Nordic meals he makes from locally foraged foods at Noma, his Copenhague restaurant. Last year he opened a pop-up restaurant in Japan, currently he is in Australia doing the same, as the NY Times reports. In both places he worked together with local foragers and created dishes with ingredients even the locals didn't know about. Redzepi pushes the edge of making meals of ingredients we would walk right by even if we saw them by the ocean, in the woods or a meadow.
But purslane, a slightly sour succulent and wild growing crunchy "weed," has become so popular that I find it now in big bunches at my farmer's market in the summer. Nettles were the scourge of my European childhood (I fell into a hill full of nettles as a 6-year old and suffered for days), here I don't see them much, but the tender young leaves make a delicious salad (without stinging) or a tea can be brewed from the dried leaves. Mushroom foraging requires more experience and expertise than finding edible greens because many edible mushrooms have a similar looking but poisonous alter ego - so novices beware. During wartimes my grandfather foraged for mushrooms and one of the trips resulted not only in a meal but also stomach cramps for the entire family. But all wild onion weeds are edible (you recognize them by their smell), and lambsquarters, dandelion and purslane are easy to recognize. So if you don't spray your lawn take a walk when spring arrives and see what sprouts. I think I'll look for a foraging walk to get to know all the foods I have been walking right by.