Peanut Butter & Jellyfish / Crema de Cacahuete y Medusamermelada

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

A COUPLE OF weeks ago, I was on the beach with my pal Luke, his little brother, and their parents when we noticed that a very large jellyfish had washed up. A man was closely examining it and, since we didn’t know what type of jellyfish it was, Kathleen asked the man (in Spanish). “What is it?” “A medusa,” was his response. That’s what locals tend to call all jellyfish. So, Kathleen continued, “Is it Portuguese (I suppose wondering if it was a Portuguese Man of War).” But the man laughed and replied, “No, it’s Spanish.”

It became obvious the jellyfish was dead. Luke found it fascinating and, since we didn’t know anything about it, we explained the potential dangers of jellyfish. Meanwhile, the man tried to push it back into the water, which caused part of it to flop onto his bare foot. We gasped, but nothing happened.

I’ve done some research and I think I’ve figured out what kind it was. Rhizostoma luteum. It was once thought to be rare but scientists then determined that it was being misidentified as other rhizostomas (there are three species). Although it’s more common than it was thought to be, it doesn’t appear to have a common name. Then again, Rhizostoma luteum DOES flow off the tongue. I’ve read that their sting is not NORMALLY harmful to humans, but it’s best to keep your distance. (NO KIDDING!) And, as we had already explained to Luke, jellyfish can still sting even if they’re dead.

I suggested to Luke that we could take it home and have peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches. He laughed and rolled his eyes. He’s not yet 4, but he gets me.

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HACE DOS SEMANAS, estaba en la playa con mi amiguito Luke, su hermanito, y sus padres cuando notamos que había una medusa muy grande. Un hombre lo estaba examinando detenidamente y, dado que no sabíamos qué tipo de medusa era, Kathleen le preguntó al hombre (en español). “¿Qué es?” “Una medusa”, fue su respuesta. Eso es lo que los lugareños suelen llamar medusas. Entonces, Kathleen continuó: “¿Es portugués?” (supongo que me pregunto si fue una carabela portuguesa). Pero el hombre se rió y respondió: “No, es una española”.

Se hizo evidente que la medusa estaba muerta. Luke lo encontró fascinante y, como no sabíamos nada al respecto, explicamos los peligros potenciales de las medusas. Mientras tanto, el hombre intentó empujarlo de vuelta al agua, lo que provocó que parte de él cayera sobre su pie descalzo. Nos quedamos sin aliento, pero no pasó nada.

He investigado un poco y creo que he descubierto de qué tipo era. Rhizostoma luteum. Alguna vez se pensó que era raro, pero los científicos determinaron que se estaba identificando erróneamente como otros rizostomas (hay tres especies). Aunque es más común de lo que se pensaba, no parece tener un nombre común. Por otra parte, Rhizostoma luteum fluye de la lengua. He leído que su picadura no es NORMALMENTE perjudicial para los humanos, pero es mejor mantener la distancia. (¡NO HAY RODAJE!) Y, como ya le habíamos explicado a Luke, las medusas aún pueden picar incluso si están muertas.

Le sugerí a Luke que nos lo lleváramos a casa y comiéramos bocadillos de crema de cacahuete y medusa (en inglés, una medusa es un “jellyfish” que significa un pez de mermalada). Luke se rio y puso los ojos en blanco. Todavía no tiene 4 años, pero me entiende.

OK. The guy had small feet, but that was still a big jellyfish! Bigger than San Geraldo’s feet.
OK. El hombre tenía pies pequeños, ¡pero eso todavía era una gran medusa! Más grande que los pies de San Geraldo.
As we all repeated, “Not too close.”
Como todos repetimos, “No muy cerca”.
My original “LUKE!” — the jellyfish (with a rainbow). And he wrote his name entirely by himself. Including the exclamation point! This came with a note he dictated that thanked me for the gifts I brought from New York for both him and his little brother.
Mi “LUKE!” original: la medusa (con un arcoíris). Y escribió su nombre completamente solo. ¡Incluyendo el signo de exclamación! Esto vino con una nota que él dictó que me agradeció por los regalos que traje de Nueva York para él y su hermanito.

Gefilte Jellyfish

COURTESY OF NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC (REALLY!)

It looks like “summer season” has come to an end in Fuengirola. The flags (banderas) are no longer flying along the beach to announce safe surf (green flag), risky (yellow), or dangerous (red).

With July being unusually warm and muggy, jellyfish (medusas) were in abundance. So a flag was added to warn swimmers of the risk. I went for a long walk on the beach yesterday and found myself side-stepping jellyfish most of the way. Many beach-goers were collecting them and tossing them in the trash.

One woman was filling a plate with a half-dozen at a time. It reminded me of a plate of gefilte fish* — which, in my opinion, is not a good thing. (My grandmother used to make ‘fresh’ gefilte fish and put it in her own jars. It was beyond disgusting  — In my humble opinion.)

I jokingly asked the woman with the plate of jellyfish if she was planning to cook them. I was grateful when she laughed and said she really didn’t think so. She then unceremoniously dumped them in the trash bin and went back to collect more.

Click the images for a closer look.

FROM OUR TERRACE: CAUTION FLAG AND JELLYFISH (MEDUSA) FLAG.
I MIRRORED THE IMAGE  — THE WIND WAS BLOWING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!
MY FIRST CLOSE ENCOUNTER ON SUNDAY. 
MANY BEACH-GOERS WERE COLLECTING (AND DISPOSING OF) THE THREAT.
A YOUNG FATHER WAS PICKING THEM UP SAFELY BY THEIR HEADS.
I STILL WOULDN’T RISK IT.
AN ODDLY SAFE BIT OF BEACH.
THE CURRENTS ARE FASCINATING.
THE FOAMY SURF, MID-AIR.

*Gefilte Fish: 
Fish fillets are ground with eggs, onion, bread or matzo crumbs, and spices to produce a paste or dough which is then boiled in fish stock. It is popularly (don’t ask me why) served with a fish-broth jelly! To me, it would be like eating jellyfish… Except for the poison.


I found the gefilte fish photo at National Geographic (click here). The author of the article, Virginia Hughes, described gefilte fish as a “flaccid culinary specimen” that looks like “brown-gray gelatinous lumps.” I think she was being kind.