confectionery manuals are centered on the techniques used to manipulate sugar. They may also contain recipes for cakes and biscuits, ices, flavored drinks, alcoholic beverages, preserved fruit, medicines, cosmetics, and purely ornamental table decorations. These manuals are a subset of the comprehensive European cookbook. Their greatest utility lies in the preservation of foods for use in winter. They require specialized equipment and skills. More than most other culinary crafts, confectionery offers opportunities for ornamentation that range from the beautiful to the absurd.