Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

I suppose this book would fall under the category “chick-lit” which I generally loathe. However, I read Bridget Jones’s Diary years ago and remember laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, and the film version with Renee Zellwegger, was similarly hilarious and heart-felt. It’s still as funny today and I found myself snickering yet again as I reread it last week. I suppose many of us who were singletons in our mid-30s could definitely relate to many of the themes in this book – wanting to find a relationship, parental issues, being stuck between two different lovers, trying to find the right job – but for me, the underlying theme that stood out to me then and now was the concept of loving yourself and finding someone who was going to love you just as you were, warts and imperfections and cellulite and all.

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We live in a society that idolizes appearance. We all want to look our best. These two elements combined have created a sense that if we don’t look homogenized, have long straight hair, have the perfect relationship, or be a size 6, that we are not worthy, not valuable, not lovable, not NORMAL. I think why this book resonates is because it shows that when you do kill yourself to look/be “normal” or all those catchphrases that society tells us we must adhere to, oftentimes we end up looking worse, feeling worse, not being true to ourselves. When we accept our faults and our quirky unique weirdness is when we are our true selves and when we are able and open to loving ourselves.

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The book, in a nutshell, is the adventures of Bridget Jones, 30-something, still single, and her quest for the perfect job, perfect weight, and perfect man. What makes it so hilariously funny is that she is about as far from perfect as you can get – in other words, she is just like us. She is funny as fuck, totally relateable as she goes from one disaster to another, constantly trying to stop smoking, quit drinking, drop pounds, etc.

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The film version is excellent, too, and actually I prefer her mother in the movie. Bridget’s mom in the book is a horrendous human being. She isn’t even funny. In the film, Gemma Jones plays her with a ditzy sympathetic self-centeredness, but the book Mrs. Jones is just a selfish, self-centered nightmare who really doesn’t seem to care about anyone other than herself. She was quite an unpleasant character. Other than that, the book was most amusing.

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So of course Bridget is a walking disaster in the kitchen, which lends itself to possibly the funniest scene in the book, when she decides to cook herself and her friends a lovely birthday dinner. Of course, being Bridget Jones, it gets completely fucked up, and made even more hilarious by the fact that Mark Darcy shows up at her house as she is attempting her culinary masterpiece.

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7 p.m. Just got home. Right. Calm, calm. Inner poise. Soup will be absolutely fine. Will simply cook and purée vegetables as instructed and then – to give concentration of flavor – rinse blue jelly off chicken carcasses and boil them up with cream in the soup.

8:30 p.m. All going marvelously. Guests are all in living room. Mark Darcy is being v. nice and brought champagne and a box of Belgian chocolates. Have not done main course yet apart from fondant potatoes but sure will be v. quick. Anyway, soup is first.

8:35 p.m. Oh my God. Just took lid off casserole to remove carcasses. Soup is bright blue.
….
Horror-struck, took mouthful myself. It was, as he said marmalade. Realize after all effort and expense have served my guests:
Blue soup
Omelette
Marmalade

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Now, making an actual blue soup would be totally fun but I can’t imagine it would taste very good. So I decided to go another route and incorporate blue cheese into a spinach soup, and it was a most inspired decision, if I do say so myself.

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INGREDIENTS
5 ounces fresh baby spinach, preferably organic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 cup half and half (or full-fat milk)
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup white wine
1-2 tablespoons chicken bouillon paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

METHOD
Chop up the spinach finely and set aside.

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Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the flour to brown it, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

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Add the milk and keep whisking until the mixture thickens. You don’t want lumps so stirring continually is a good thing, and better yet, if you do it with a glass of wine in hand, you’ll feel confident and competent in the kitchen, just like Bridget Jones!

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Add the spinach, garlic cloves and salt and pepper, and stir.

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Add in the chicken broth, the chicken bouillon paste and the white wine, cover, and let simmer about 25-30 minutes.

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Tumble in the blue cheese crumbles and let melt into the hot soup.

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Decant into bowls and serve with more wine, in true Bridget Jones fashion. So good, rich and warming and decadent. Yum!

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37 thoughts on “Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

  1. …now, I was wondering, an obvious challenge… blue soup. I’m thinking two directions: the one your way (but maybe using one of the holy trinities: broccoli, cheese (blue, stilton-like) and pig (maybe topped with crispy pig-cheek, ‘guanciale’). But I’m thinking, blue only as a part… how about a thickened shrimp-scampi bisque with lightly steamed mussels and wild scampi roe on top? (the latter is blue?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the first option best. I wish guanciale were easier to find in the States without having to sell a kidney to afford it. 😊 I do love mussels, but roe is a taste I am still acquiring. Still, I think I’m going to accept your challenge. Stay tuned.

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  2. Hahaha! yes I too have wished I could make a blue soup just for the laughing of it. BJ’s Diary is an all-time favourite and I think it doesn’t do any of us any harm to stoop from our high-lit pedestals from time to time and recognise that good writers can be found in all sorts of places. I’ve also read the two follow-ups, and the film ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ is wonderful. I dreaded that they might have balked, as so many movie-makers do, at realistically ageing her by 20 years – but they didn’t! There she is, lines on her face and all the rest of it, and just as gorgeous as ever. And I agree with your comments about her mother as played in the film – fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the two sequels as well, and particularly loved the third film where she has the baby. I’m with you on aging her. She looked wonderful. I know I can be a terrible snob when it comes to books and I admit that. 🙂 But I also think Bridget Jones’s Diary is great literature. I truly do. It takes on so many societal and cultural mores and shows them for what they really are – ridiculous. Yes, love Bridget both in the book and in the film. A rare example of the film being just as good as the book.

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  3. Reblogged this on Magical BookLush and commented:
    The thoughts written in this blog do indicate the way people are treated abnormally because they have different hair, body, shape, size and colour. The review plus recipe plus awareness make it a power-packed post. Stop body shaming. Be aware of the truth like my friend is. Follow her on https://foodinbooks.com. thank you so much for writing such a great post, Vanessa.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You write true things, Vanessa. People are never accepted normal if they have different hair, body, shape and size. Thank you for putting it out there. I haven’t read the book but adding it to my tbr right now. Thank you once again. I am fighting the body-shaming issue and this is exactly what I need. 🙂✌😔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, and yes, we all need to remember that our imperfections are what make us beautiful. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself because you look a certain way. Your uniqueness is your true beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. You are absolutely right but some people or I’d rather say idiots don’t understand this and judge people on their body ending up body shaming them. 😒😔🙄

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    1. I actually made it much less sinful than it could have been. I used regular milk instead of heavy cream and did not add bacon as I initially thought I would. All things considered, it’s a very nice soup and if you only have a small cup it’s not that bad. The remainder of my enormous potful is packed up and ready to give to a friend whose grandmother is dying. I think Bridget Jones is an underappreciated feminist icon, actually so she absolutely belongs in her own category. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It normally would not have occurred to me either, but I was trying to think of what flavors I like best with blue cheese and spinach is one of the top. So I thought a soup would be good. I almost dyed it blue to be artistic for the blog, but then I thought better of it. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. …. Who are you and what have you done with Vanessa?!?? 😣 IMPOSTER!!!
    I’m so glad you got a GIF of Colin Firth giving “the look” though…. That man just melts me. I think you need to now read “The Perfect Fit” by Mary Jayne Baker! Perfect for the Christmas season, and the same awesome kind of humour!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bridget Jones is on in a class all by herself. And no, I’m not gonna read some sappy-ass chick lit book that you’re recommending, particularly with the word “Christmas” in the title. Gag. Just because I went down the path once doesn’t mean I’m going down it again. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. First of all… Christmas is NOT in the name! Lmao! It’s called “the Perfect Fit”. And secondly, anything that has the words
        “Jiggered”
        “She’ll be well chuffed”
        “Cheeky git”
        “Daft sod”
        “Plummy, isn’t he?”
        “Take the piss”
        “Keep your Gob shut”
        “Miserable old Giffer”
        “Mardy bugger”
        Is definitely not sappy. Ha ha!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never read this book, but I love the movie. Always makes me laugh, especially the reindeer jumper. I love your version of blue soup, too. Spinach and blue cheese are such a good combination of flavors. I bet it would be even more delicious with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Going to definitely try this, as I have everything in the fridge for it. Thanks for another delicious post, Vanessa!

    Liked by 1 person

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