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I belive that the closest we have to asafoetida is garlic (also for many an
acquired taste).

Muriel wrote:

         Asafoetida is an Indian spice and in my opinion is an acquired 
taste, which I have not yet acquired.  I believe it's also called HING, in 
India.  I don't know the origin of the prefix "asa", but it is not a 
linguistic coincidence that the last part of the word looks like 
"fetid".  Ie, it has a really strong and distinctive smell & taste, and you 
use it in a tiny pinch.  Seems to me you could omit it and no-one will be 
saying, "Gee, what is this dish missing?"

                         Just my .02 worth.