The more I think about Philistine food, the more I like the idea. I dug around a little about the vegetables and spices that would have been available in the ancient Mediterranean and have come up with this recipe for pork roast that might at least come close to a dish one of Samson’s Philistine wives would have served:
One boneless pork loin roast, 3.5 to 4 pounds
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 tsp sesame seed
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup beef broth
One 15-ounce can fava beans
NB: A can of lima (butter) beans or chick peas will work if you can’t find fava beans. Instead of lemon zest, you can substitute sumac if available (try your local Middle Eastern market).
(1) In a thick-bottomed pot, heat oil on medium high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). Sprinkle and rub the next six ingredients over the roast. Brown the roast for several minutes on each side.
(2) Lift up the roast and add chopped onion. Return the roast to the pot. Add broth. (A splash or two of red wine wouldn’t hurt anything.) Cover and bring to a simmer, then adjust the heat down to the lowest heat possible to maintain a low simmer when covered.
(3) Cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until meat is tender. Near the end of the cooking, add fava beans, cook until heated all the way through.
(4) Serve with bread and a strong red wine.
Let me warn you that this is an untested recipe, so some of the amounts of spice may be a bit off. In any event, in deference to the palates of the women in my life, I’ll probably be substituting a can of Trappey’s pinto beans when/if I convince them to let me try it.