8 Signs You're Finally Becoming An Adult In The Kitchen

When do you actually become an adult? Is it when you turn 18 and can legally vote? Or when you turn 21 and can buy beer with your own ID, not the one you got from your older cousin who sort of looks like you? Is it when you turn 25 and have to decide whether or not to purchase the insurance the rental car company tried really hard to sell you?
Or is it when, at 11 a.m. on a random Saturday, you find yourself going over ever inch of your stovetop with a Mr. Clean eraser while a Golden Oldies Pandora station plays in the background? At some point on your early 20s, you may have considered "using the good plates" to mean serving mac and cheese on paper plates rather than eating it straight out the pot.
But slowly, something changes. Maybe 401(k)s, like moons, have gravitational pull that affect things around it. Maybe, at some point, we just realize no one else is going to show up to scrap the weeks-old Brussels sprouts out of the bowl at the back of the fridge. Maybe we just get boring and, suddenly, the idea of labelling food with the date you froze it becomes a real gas.
Ahead, the eight signs childhood is over and you're becoming (gulp) a real adult in the kitchen.
1 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
In college, having a collection of shot glasses was a perfectly acceptable thing to do, because who knows when you might need to pour shots of vodka from a giant plastic handle for ten? These days, we might still occasionally do shots — though it's for reasons like someone's birthday or bachelorette party, not just because it's Friday. The shot glass collection from undergrad may have followed you around, making it handy when you're mixing a negroni and need to measure out one part sweet red vermouth. A concept that doesn't even seem able to exist in the same universe as the cheap vodka of yore.
2 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
Whoever came up with the idea of decorating with empty liquor bottles was probably just someone who really hated taking out the trash, but it's a verified phenomenon on college campuses. These days, empty liquor bottles get a one-way ticket to the recycling bin after a good rinse. But another glass container is starting to take up more and more real estate on the kitchen counters: vinegars and oils. Who knew you needed both champagne and white wine vinegar? Or avocado and canola oil? Hopefully it will impress your friends who were once as equally wowed by the row of tequila bottles in your sophomore dorm.
3 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
A good takeout container has it's real uses, but the day you actually go out and buy a purpose-made set of Tupperware or Rubbermaid or mason jars of your very own is one of the biggest milestones in a young adult's life. No more trying to remember which tub actually still has yogurt in it and which one has leftover spaghetti: you can see right through. And no more paranoia about whether or not your chili con carne will leak all over the inside of your work tote after being stored in last week's Pad Thai container.

At least, that's what we tell ourselves. It might be the low-grade, totally legal high we get off of entering the doors of a Container Store these days.
4 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
Some chores, like cleaning the toilet or laundry, are fine to do weekly. Some, like dishes, are very easy to do once a week if you really try (and are really, really good at Tetris and can keep everything stacked just so).

At some point, the idea of keeping caked-on food hanging around in the sink becomes less appealing. Maybe because we realize that putting off a task doesn't mean it never happens. The only reason we're not 100% sold on this theory is because other tasks, like doing laundry, are easy to keep relegated to the old dishes philosophy of "maybe one day it will just happen on it's own."
5 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
At some point, coffee becomes a way for us to deal with the adult world. Tired? Listless? Need an excuse to leave the office for ten minutes that everyone will immediately understand? Coffee.

Tea, however, is an escape from the grind. (See what we did there?) Tea is for when the adult world gets to be too much and you need an escape, not caffeine-laced liquid body armor. Tea is for the times we need to wind down, relax, and soothe ourselves. Which is why, for no reason, there's a drawer (or shelf, or cupboard) overflowing with every kind tea you could grab at your preferred grocery store.
6 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
Once upon a time, you left the care of your guardians, and made do with an Ikea pan set and one dull knife. Now, however, you find yourself pondering spiralizers and apple corers, if only there was room for them in the kitchen next to the panini press, bullet blender, and mini muffin pans.

Do you really use any of it now? Maybe not, but who's to say you won't one day? You're an adult now, which means staring down many years of responsibility. We're saving the juicer and hoping for the best.
7 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
When once a cooked meal was just a scrambled egg on toast or hot water added to a ramen bowl, now you do things like buy fresh sage and cilantro. The problem is, you never finish off the whole bunch before the last few sprigs inevitably go bad. There's a really cool hack on freezing herbs that you really want to try — when you get around to it.
8 of 8
Illustrated by Malik Hejab.
The key word here is "think." No one really remembers to sharpen their knives. But, where once you were satisfied to hack away at an onion with a blunt knife, you now at least pause and note to yourself, "This should really be sharpened." This eventually graduates to saying it out loud to your spouse/roommate/signifiant other, and they'll nod knowingly and repeat it back to you.

But the knives will never be sharpened.

Welcome to adulthood.