Barley is a cereal grain and a member of the grass family, In the kitchen it is used primarily in soups and stews, especially in Scottish and African dishes. Barley is also used in beer making and is a major animal feed.
Barley has a unique history in that it is the first domesticated grain, with evidence of it’s existence dating back to 17,000 BC, at one point being important enough to be used as currency. Fermented barely drinks were common from ancient Egyptian and Greek times up through the middles ages.
Barley may be considered too bland to be eaten alone. However, cooked in a good chicken stock with onions or leeks combined with other vegetables can make a decent side dish. It creates an excellent texture in the White Turkey Chili with Garbanzo Beans.
Barley can be hard to find in the grocery store, because it’s stocked in different places depending on the store. Ask the staff for help finding it, because it is almost certainly in the store somewhere.