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hehehe.  Well I recall reading about this "spice" one time and if you
overlook the old english "oe" in the word, you will see the word "fetid"
in it.  This isn't by accident.  Webster's defines asafoetida as "a
bad-smelling gum resin obtained from various Asiatic plants".  

I suppose the taste for it is culturally determined, the same as craving
for durian, a fruit that is NOT generally eaten by westerners.