When I lived in Tillamook, I used to run them through the old hand turn meat grinder, sautee them and throw them in chowder. To keep from crunching them while digging, we'd put a short dowel on the neck (down the hole) and dig beside the dowel, down to the end of the dowel. If you know how long the dowel is, you knew how far down they were by how much dowel was left on top.
You need to steam them open, this will also loosen up the skin on the neck and the meaty fringe. Generally, I like the neck and fringe ground or pounded and fried as fritters. These parts are kind of a poor mans razor clam. If you clean the other parts and they aren't broken, the rest can be breaded and fried and it becomes a poor mans oyster.
I actually prefer Softshells to Gapers. Gapers are huge but they are so full of goop that it the yield on the dozen clams you are allowed isn't much. With the softshells, most of the clam is darn tasty.
I don't bother with tha tried and true method of soaking overnight, or trying to feed them cornmeal.
You should eat them like you would a Gaper clam or a razor. Ramstrong, what are you like half Walrus or something? Eastern Softshells are a little big for eating whole dude. Unless of course you want to blow chunks after the second one.