This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
The hard-shell clam is used for steaming. Scrub the shell with a brush and wash free of sand in several waters. Steam the clams in a steamer for ten minutes, or until opened. While the clams are steaming, melt the butter and mix with the lemon-juice, salt and pepper. Lay a napkin on a hot platter and place the clams in their shells on this. Cover with a second napkin and serve. In eating, remove the clam from the shell and dip it into the sauce. The thin, tough part known as the neck or siphon is not eaten.
Roasted in the Oven - Prepare the clams as for steaming, put them into a pan, set the pan in a hot oven (400°- 425 ° F.) and bake until the shells open. Remove the top shell, being careful not to spill the liquor. Arrange the clams in the half-shells on plates and on each place a piece of butter and a little pepper and salt. Add lemon-juice if desired. Serve immediately.
Clam-bake Roast - The seashore is the natural place for a clam-bake, but it is possible to have one at any place where there is a flat open space. Preparations should begin several hours before the time set for the meal.
Make a circle of flat stones - from two to four feet in diameter, according to the size of the party - and on this circle build a hot fire of wood. Let this burn for two or three hours. Then rake off the fire and cover the hot stones with fresh seaweed. On this lay fresh clams in their shells; also, if desired, oysters, potatoes in the skins, corn in the husk, and anything else that may be steamed. Cover with a thick layer of sea-weed, and over all spread a large piece of sailcloth, fastening down the edges with stones. Leave for two or three hours; remove the cloth and the top layer of seaweed, and rake out the clams and other foods as needed.
The same materials may be cooked in a large kettle at home using cheese-cloth between the layers, but will lack the fine flavor of the real clam-bake.