Our ancestors were a lot less squeamish than we are about what they'd eat. This fine recipe, courtesy of my former CEO and all-around good bloke Jeff Zie, comes from a 17th century English cookbook. Apparently it tastes like shrimp paste.
Collect a quantity of the finest wood-lice to be found, and drop them into boiling water, which will kill them instantly, but not turn them red, as might be expected. At the same time put into a saucepan a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, a teaspoonful of flour, a small glass of water, a little milk, some pepper and salt, and place it on the stove. As soon as the sauce is thick, take it off and put in the wood-lice. This is an excellent sauce for fish.
Well, seeing as I'm allergic to shrimp, but love the taste of shrimp paste, I'm half-tempted to give it a go. This does, naturally, leave me with two questions.
How do our local Floridian woodlice compare to English woodlice? The initial thought is that the American pill bug is likely to be meatier than your English variety, though whether it will have the same taste is a whole different question.
American pill bug or roly poly, of the Armadillidiidae family
And secondly, what are the criteria for "the finest woodlice to be found"? According to Jeff, they'd be "the ones in top hats". Hmm.
This calls for experimentation. Who wants to join me on this culinary expedition?