This painting forms a pair with the Still Life with Pipe and Matches, shown nearby. Along with several other paintings, they decorated the dining room of the artist's home, each painting representing a different stage of a meal. In this composition the artist focused his attention on rendering textures, which are as varied as the objects themselves: the skin of the smoked herrings, whose highlights echo the silver of the goblet and the cover of the pitcher; the spongy surface of the bread; the velvety crust of the cheese; and finally the soft wood surface (pine?) that supports this still life.
The Latin inscription translates: "How virtuous and how great to live with simple things."