This year give the gift of a Great Outdoor Pizza Oven!

If you're a 'foodie,' a backyard pizza oven promises heavenly eating

Are you a "foodie"  that is, are you a person who finds great joy in food? If you love to talk about recipes, taste of a variety of dishes, restaurant menus and more, then you might be one. Taking it one step further, perhaps you have a special weakness for pizza. Having a wood-fired pizza oven in your backyard would be an ultimate dream come true!

So that you aren't considered over the top with this idea, here are some arguments that may make your friends and family understand this obsession.

First, a pizza from a really good wood-fired outdoor oven has a special taste. Other methods will come close, but few will outdo this ancient method of baking. Because of the extreme heat these contraptions generate, foods cook quickly and have that infused wood fire aroma that just takes a pizza over the top! For some folks, the end result of a crispy crust evenly baked and piled with chosen toppings is like floating on a cloud and well worth the investment.

A pizza oven can set the tone for a meal by just wafting the wood burning aromas through the air. There is something to be said for tempting the other senses of sight and smell when preparing a treat like this. One of the most convincing arguments for an outdoor oven is that, even though this is called a "pizza oven," other foods can readily be prepared in it. Artisan breads, meat, fish and vegetables will all do well.

Part of the fun for cooks is the experimentation process and learning how to bring a recipe home tasting its best. Using the oven would call for the cook to put together ingredients and see how well they do in a "pizza oven." Once you become accomplished at using the oven you will find most foods take less time to cook so it being efficient is another argument to use for this purchase. Now getting the oven ready to cook is going to take more time that hitting a button on the indoor gas range, so steer clear of that part of this argument.

There are several alternatives to the full brick oven in the backyard that could be tried prior to going for the full deal. A pizza stone is a relatively inexpensive cooking tool that can offer a better taste to a pizza than just preparing it in a regular oven. The crispier crust it will produce may tantalize the taste buds just enough. Then there are the electric indoor pizza ovens that can produce a fairly good pizza as well. For less than $300, a better quality of pie can be produced. However, most of these models cannot reach the 900-degree point of an outdoor oven.

Some would point out that ordering from the local pizza parlor that has a commercial pizza oven is a whole lot cheaper than building a backyard oven that could cost into the thousands of dollars. This is where it all comes down to being a "foodie" and wanting the experience and joy of making your own right outside your back door. If you do decide to indulge in an outdoor pizza oven, educate yourself with pricing, brands and government zoning restrictions before laying out the cash. Your neighbors might consider your oven a nuisance, so be conscious of how it might affect them as well.