To cook barley, rinse it first under cold running water.
Two or so tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the bottom of a heavy sauce pan on medium high, add a chopped onion, a quarter medium for each serving (1/4 c barley) and about a tablespoon of chopped celery for each serving. Saute onion, celery and rinsed barley in the hot olive oil 'til translucent.
Add the correct amount of water: use three cups water for every one cup of barley. Crank a grinder of mixed seasonings into the pan - I like Trader Joes' Everyday Seasoning . A bit of salt. I watch the salt 'Cuz it freaks Dirt out and you can get by with just a bit per serving and top it off with fresh squeezed lemon. If you use broth or stock, which is nice, you can use even less salt.
Cook for about forty-five minutes.
Barley is certainly different and not that much like rice, So don't fuool yourself into thinking your going to have rice pilaf with your dinner and cook up barley. But when you figure that with each meal, a person normally either eats wheat, rice or potato for their starch and potato doesn't count as a grain, then it is time to broaden our horizons.
Barley is more famous for being in stews and soups, mostly lamb, as in Scotch Broth, than used as an accompaniment on the plate. But a side dish of barley can bring round a whole new world.