Was the usage "Spaghetti were" ever acceptable or common?
[Following up from, but not a duplicate of, this question by another user, which was unresolved…]
Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence contains an unusual (perhaps even unique) usage of English that I'm hoping some native speaker can shed light on. Here is the sentence in bold, with some surrounding sentences for context. Dirk Stroeve has previously been described as "a painter, but a very bad one". The narrator says:
In the evenings I went to see my friends. I looked in often on the Stroeves, and sometimes shared their modest fare. Dirk Stroeve flattered himself on his skill in cooking Italian dishes, and I confess that his spaghetti were very much better than his pictures. It was a dinner for a King when he brought in a huge dish of it, succulent with tomatoes, and we ate it together with the good household bread and a bottle of red wine. I grew more intimate with Blanche Stroeve…
Since spaghetti is (almost?) always used in English in the singular as an uncountable (mass) noun, this is unusual. What is the right interpretation of this sentence?
"His spaghetti" is parallel to "his omelettes". That is, it refers to the many occasions he cooked spaghetti, and means something like "his spaghetti dishes were better than his pictures". (The OED entry for 'spaghetti' has "1. a. A variety of pasta made in long thin strings. Occas., a dish of spaghetti.")
As in the original Italian usage, "spaghetti" in the plural here refers to multiple strands of spaghetti or pieces of spaghetti.
(I am partial to (1.) myself, but this interpretation was described by another user as "unlikely" and "completely absurd", so I'm trying to know for sure.)