When I lived in Japan, I learned this fun fact: when Westerners first came to Japan, they were called "butter-stinkers" because to a Japanese person who had not eaten much (any?) dairy, these people smelled bad.
That said, my Japanese friends were mighty fond of a good French pastry soaked in butter. We used to go to a big, crowded French cafe on Omotesando for croissants and coffee. Sigh. I now live 60 miles from a good croissant.
As I developed into a greater food snob, I came to understand that not all butter is created equal.
My best education on butter was an article by Jeffrey Steingarten originally published in Vogue (July 2002) and later published in Best Food Writing 2003. I learned about how to make good, homemade butter, explored the chemistry behind rancidity, discovered the difference between cultured and uncultured butters and was told who makes the best artisan butters.
Sally Fallon is a great fan of butter and reminds us that it is an important (and natural) vehicle for fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids, lecithin and trace minerals.
As a result, I now upgrade my butter when I can (for both taste and health), and I buy unsalted butter for an unadulterated taste. (A pat of salted butter contains about 41mg of salt, whereas a pat of sweet butter contains less than 1 mg.)
And I discover that I am not alone in my love affair with butter. Cook Sister! describes a butter and salt tasting, and Accidental Hedonist answers all kinds of questions about the fat divine.