Perhaps the Dining with Destiny moment that is most remembered about the Rolling Stones is the notorious Mars Bar sex scandal of February 1967. The police stealthily planned an armed swoop on the Stone’s smelly den of vice, Keith Richard’s Redlands mansion (he’d bought it in 1966) … No less than 19 of Britain’s finest police officers lurked around the shrubbery outside: only those high as rockets on Benzedrine and White Lightning could fail to spot these bulky blue-clad shapes in the privet in front of Keith Richard’s door, poised to swoop on the groovy party inside. At their knock, Keith stumbled to the door to answer … in an unlikely moment of drug-induced, cross-generational gallantry he had thought that an elderly pensioner (and not a police detective) was rapping on his door to ask for his autograph.
Police bellowed and charged past Richards, only to screech to a halt before Mick Jagger, his head buried between Marianne Faithfull’s legs, eating a Mars Bar. Never ever had Scotland Yard seen the like … It took all of about three hours for this to leak to the press (later a furious Jagger wanted to sue News of the World). But the chocolate story stuck (boom boom) – when the court eventually listened to testimony about the Redlands raid later that year, the Stone’s own lawyer, Sir Michael Havers, was forced to admit that when he’d prowled around Redlands post-raid he had, indeed, come across a stash of Mars Bars …
Mars Bar Love
1 Mars Bar
1 Marianne Faithfull
Further food controversy hit the headlines at Mick’s court appearance following the Mars incident. Handcuffed to old Etonian Robert Fraser, with whom he was being held in Lewes jail, Jagger had the cheek to order a lunch delivery from a local hotelier, come the midday adjournment. The press reported, in scandalised, admiring tones, that the unrepentant Jagger lounged around, enjoying a lunch of prawn cocktail, roast lamb with mint sauce on the side, followed by strawberries and cream, washed down with a bottle of Beaujolais nonetheless.
Indeed, such tales come as no surprise: our Mick is very good at taking care of yours truly in tough times: studying as a student at LSE, and sharing digs with poor boys Keith Richards and Brian Jones, Jagger enjoyed comparatively indolent life on £2 a week, a fine income combined of parental handouts, a government student grant and income from singing for Blues Incorporated. Meanwhile Richards and Jones were on the verge of rabid starvation … but did Mick share his spoils? No! He’d sneak off for fancy, delicious restaurant meals while his flatmates resorted to filching food from the local grocery.
Similar meanness was apparent when he went out for dinner with fashion photographer David Bailey: Jagger was encouraged by Bailey to leave a tip of £10 for the waiting staff but, as they left the restaurant, out of the corner of his eye, Bailey caught sight of Jagger nipping back, secretly retrieving the tip, and slipping it into his pocket. Lucky, then, that Mars Bars were so cheap …
Sneaky Mick could use food and drink to get what he wanted too: when he first met Marianne Faithfull in March 1964, in the midst of a torrid argument with Chrissie Shrimpton, his girlfriend of the time, when she was so upset that her eyelashes had begun to slide off with her tears, he deliberately tripped and emptied a glass of Dom Perignon down her thin blouse.
Things didn’t get much more glamorous straight away for Marianne. She’d get stoned with the band at Brian Jones’ and Keith Richard’s grimy pad at Courtfield Road, which was a mass of dirty dishes, and then, about 10 at night, Marianne said, “We’d stagger out to Alvaro’s for some wonderful pasta. But once we got there we’d be so stoned we could barely manage more than a mouthful. I’d stare at the exquisite china and watch the tiny dragons crawl over the fettuccine.” Marianne seems positively streetwise though compared to Jaggers’ future wife, Argentinian Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, who he met in 1970 and wooed over caviar and Louis Cristal champagne. She’s already been groomed for the high life by her well-to-do, doting parents and her previous lover, Michael Caine, with whom she’d lived in the Dorchester Hotel, an experience about which she drawled: ‘I never washed a dish, boiled an egg or cleaned.’ You always know, don’t you, that people are really well off when they live in hotels like the Dorchester – the most I could ever afford would be a weekend bargain-break there … or a visit to the loo in order to steal some commemorative Dorchester toilet roll …
Visiting Marrakesh in March 1967 must have seemed either a good idea or a good publicity stunt so soon after the Redlands raid. The Stones drew up at a decadent hotel in Marrakesh, having migrated from London to Morocco (they purred their way there in Brian Jones’ car from his pad in the Swiss Cottage). They looked like a sulky, drowsy troupe of badly-stitched together gypsies. White-faced Anita Pallenberg, her black hair hanging in big dirty droplets, drifted alongside Brian Jones, like some sort of sexy effluence. Mick Jagger came with a retinue of Americans and Keith Richards had turned his hand to making his own clothes and sported an eighteenth-century suit and his lavender-rose trousers were bursting at the seams. Brian Jones appeared by the poolside, white trousers draped over his tight little buttocks, and a large black square sewn over his rear. Photographer Cecil Beaton, who happened to be in Marrakesh on the same night and in the same hotel, gravitated to Mick, keen to photograph him. Beaton introduced himself and watched Mick elegantly drink a long, frost-cool Vodka Collins, while setting forth his case that Britain was a police state and about his own role as a champion of permissiveness.
Eventually, they decided to go for dinner and Beaton found himself tucked in the back of the Stone’s Bentley, music booming in his ears, amid the litter of porn magazines, brightly coloured fur rugs and pop-art cushions they kept there. When they eventually tumbled out of the car into the brightness of the Moroccan restaurant, Jagger took it upon himself to teach Beaton how to eat tender chicken, Moroccan-style, with his fingertips … Between mouthfuls, he asked Beaton,” Have you ever taken LSD? Oh, I should. It would mean so much to you: you’d never forget the colours. For a painter it is a great experience.’ The painter in Beaton noted that the next day Jagger’s face had collapsed into a pale stew of tiny eyes (which Beaton memorably described as ‘albino-fringed’) and widened nose (the only shade of pink on his face) and that none of the band seemed capable of speech, except in ‘spasms’ … now what do you think they might have been up to overnight?
A generous glug of Stolichnaya vodka (about two fingers)
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
1½ tsp caster sugar
Slices of thinly cut orange and lemon
A Maraschino cherry
Put some cubed ice in a cocktail shaker; pour in the Stolichnaya, lemon and sugar. Shake and serve in a Collins glass. Top with a splash or two of soda water. Garnish with orange and lemon slices and one provocative Maraschino cherry.
1 medium sized, organic chicken, cut into eighths (ask your butcher to do this)
2 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp powdered saffron
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 onions, peeled and finely sliced
¼ lb chick peas, soaked overnight and then drained of their water
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 pints of strong chicken stock
4 tbsp of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp of finely chopped fresh green coriander
The night before … rub the chicken with the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and black pepper. Leave to marinade overnight. Put the chickpeas in water overnight too.
The next day, melt the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven, add the chicken and brown it in the oil. When it is browned, remove the chicken temporarily from the oil. Now add the onions and soften them until they are a warm golden colour. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the garlic and soften this a little. Now add the saffron and chick peas and cover with chicken stock. Simmer this delicious Moroccan stew for an hour, uncovered. Before serving, stir the freshly chopped parsley and coriander into the sauce but give it no more time to cook than the distance from stove to table! To further ‘lift’ the flavour, sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Serve with rice and Vodka Collins.
But before you imagine that that is the end of the adventures of 1967, in July 1967 Jagger reappears with Marianne Faithfull on his arm at a party in honour of the return to London of American Beat poet Alan Ginsberg. The party was rolled out at designer Christopher Gibb’s swish pad on Cheyne Walk (the street on which Jagger and Richards were to buy houses the following year). The sounds of Sergeant Pepper wafted through the air, MPs swayed to the music, a startled curator from the British Museum stood underneath the low lights, Princess Margaret toyed with her drink, Paul Getty II was on his way and, come 10 pm, some bright spark decided it would be a good idea if the butler invited the assembled guests to enjoy delicious hash fudges, served on a silver platter. There was one small problem, though, as a guest recalled, “Back then it was the ‘in’ thing to use the recipe from the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook […] Only this time someone had obviously doubled the recipe. What they were eating was very toxic, very dangerous.”
All hell broke loose as Britain’s finest in music and nobility swayed, burped and collapsed about the room, having overdosed on hashish. Stomachs were pumped that night and Jagger and Faithful took to running up and down the street repeatedly in order to fight the effects of hashish poisoning.
So here it is verbatim, word for word …
(which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)
Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of Cannabis sativa can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.”
Toklas goes on to suggest that, “Obtaining the Cannabis may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as Cannabis sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognised, everywhere in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope. In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called Cannabis indicia, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.”
© Alice B Toklas Cookbook
Disappointingly for Cecil Beaton, he met Mick Jagger again in the same month (September 1967) but found he bore little resemblance to the elegant and assured conversationalist of Marrakesh. With a suety-faced, Marianne Faithful stared up from beneath an odd cap of drowned hair while Mick made no move to be polite to Beaton, picking up a picture book to look at. Gone was the Bentley, instead it was a taxi ride to Fulham Road for dinner in the inauspicious-sounding Baghdad House, where Mick ignored Beaton even more fulsomely, looking over his shoulder and mewing that he wanted some ‘fewd’. So much for finger-licking chicken, Jagger shovelled a ‘cake of pap’ into his mouth while Beaton looked on, his idol revealed as clay.
Jagger’s long association with drugs and the immortality that seemed to ensure he never suffered the consequences lent him a dark, bedevilled glamour. Even when he has a secret snack about him it can be ‘read’ wrongly, as when a friend of Andy Warhol’s found a tinfoil-wrapped ‘package’ in his pocket after a wild night out with Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger. What could it be? he wondered … A secret stash of heroin? Cocaine? No! As he carefully unpeeled the foil he exposed … a Rice Crispie cookie!
More famed for audacious acts when eating than for what was on his plate: one evening in a restaurant, when an older gent inquired of Jagger, “Are you a man or a woman?” his reply was to unzip his pants…
Beyond drugs was alcohol, also looming large on the abuse list for the band. At the age of 6, Jade Jagger amazed Andy Warhol by coolly enquiring what he’d like to drink when he visited the Jaggers in New York. When Warhol mentioned he’d quite like vodka on the rocks, Jade, with the assurance of a 54 year old bar tender, bellowed out to the Spanish maid, “Dos vodkas con heilo.” And that was just a Rolling Stone’s child …
By the 1980s, alcoholism had Keith Richards in its tenacious grasp and breakfast was burgers and Black Jack bourbon with an HP sauce chaser and maybe some home fries on the side.
This predilection for HP sauce crops up much earlier in 1964, when the Stones were on tour in Brussels: an aspiring chef made the grave mistake of not researching their individual tastes and so missed Jagger’s loathing of tomatoes, serving them up tomato soup and tomatoes stuffed with shrimps and, on top of having his meal spurned, then felt suicidal and murderous impulses when the Stones further offended by requesting chips and … HP sauce (guess who for?) Indeed, Richard’s HP passion was as much part of 1960s Britain as Carnaby Street – HP was called ‘Wilson’s Gravy’ for a while, after British PM, Harold Wilson’s wife, Mary, told reporters at The Sunday Times, ‘If Harold has a fault, it is that he will drown everything with HP sauce.’
Even HP, or Black Jack, or orange juice and Stolichnaya, however, has not as great a hold on Keith Richard’s affections as one particular dish. Wherever he is out and about in the world, should there be a fridge in his room, look therein and, according to his closest acquaintances, you will find … a Shepherd’s Pie. Richards prides himself on his own belligerence (on the Brussels trip, for instance, he punched someone who suggested the Stones were actually The Supremes). So imagine what he’s like if you go near his Shepherd’s Pie: he experiences tight-lipped anxiety if one (or several) isn’t near to hand. Once a foolish, greedy member of his crew ate Keith’s shepherd’s pie and he, spitting with rage, warned him that next time Richards would dice him into pieces and put his legs in the self-same pie.
Stone’s Shepherd’s Pie
3 tbsps olive oil
1 lb of organic minced beef
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, scraped and sliced into ¾ inch chunks
1 swede, peeled and diced into rough one or two inch pieces
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp marmite
1 glass of red wine
Freshly ground black pepper
For the topping
1 onion, very finely chopped
3 lb potatoes
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp grated parmesan
Warm the olive oil in a deep, thick-bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook gently over about 10 minutes, until the onions have turned a pale gold colour. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for a minute. Add the minced beef and brown lightly. Now add the carrots, swede and green pepper. Give this a generous scattering of freshly ground black pepper. Now put in the splodge of tomato puree, the red wine and the marmite. Top with enough hot water to cover the mince stew. Let this bubble away on a medium heat for about 1 hour, until the mince has a thickish gravy around it.
When the mince has been cooking for about 15 minutes, prepare the topping. Peel the potatoes, cut into quarters and place them in a pan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 20 minutes. Keep testing the potatoes with a fork; they are ready when the fork can spear the potato. When this happens, drain the potatoes, put them back in the pot, place them over a low heat and shake them gently to dry – you will see comforting billows of steam rising from the potatoes. Once they are dry, you’ll see the outside of the potato fluff and scale. Now begin to mash them. Add the butter and mash through the potato and then add the milk. Keep beating the potato until it is smooth and light. If the mince base isn’t ready yet, then keep the potato covered and warmish until the mince is ready.
Heat the oven to 200C.
When the mince is suitably thick, taste it to check whether it needs a little more salt or a splash more wine. Then, pour it into the base of a pie dish. Sprinkle the finely chopped onion over the surface of the mince – this will give a very faint oniony ‘bite’ to the pie when it is ready. Now gently place modest spoonfuls of buttery mashed potato over the surface of the mince. Using a fork, gently drag these islands together to form a smooth crust of potato over the mince. Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered, in the oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with cooked frozen peas and a generous dollop of HP sauce. Aaaahhhh.