Every year for Christmas we drive up to Sacramento and stay with my Mom for the holiday. We always make tamales on the day before Christmas Eve, but this year due to unforseen circumstances we stayed home. I still wanted to continue the tradition of making tamales and my daughter insisted on it! I've never made them on my own, Mom had always done all the preparations and the rest of the family assembled the tamales and she steamed them in her big pots. Well, I was up for the challenge; I cooked the beef, shredded it and made the sauce, went to the local Mexican market and bought prepared masa (I did try to make it from scratch, but that's another story!), and my daughter and I assembled them. Oh, and another thing, I didn't have a tamale steamer, what was I thinking! So I rigged up one with a huge stock pot, one of those small vegetable steamer and a pie plate punched with holes by my husband who does not eat tamales, but knew how important it was for my daughter and I to make them. It all worked out, we made them on Christmas Eve morning and shared some, froze some and had them with our turkey dinner on Christmas day. We didn't make alot as most families do, more like 50 and they are of random sizes, but they tasted delicious. I'm looking forward to making them again. Oh yeah, I'll make sure I have a real tamale steamer! Here are my "first tamales".