My mom used yellow transparents for sauce, pies, & dumplings. She probably used some others, too, but that was her primary choice. I planted one, too, because I liked'em so much. In addition to their handiness in cooking, they ripen far before the other apples (July, I think), so when planted in combination with other apples, you can have fresh apples for months.
Oh, yes, I have to agree on the yellow transparents! They make a tart pie, and having grown up on these, the pies in commercial bakeries seem at the same time bland and sickly sweet. My mother would freeze them for later use. They are nearly impossible to find around here too, this year I found one orchard about 30 miles away that grows them but they sold out before I could get there.
I wish that I could find one on dwarf rootstock, then I would have room to grow my own.
My mother's hand written recipe for apple pie also recommended, as I recall, Lodi, cox pippin, grimes golden, greening, spy, and Jonathon (which I think was her last choice but most easily obtained). I just went to look for the recipe but can't find it! It has been years since I had to use it, knowing it by heart, but that has particular importance now having just lost her at the age of 90.
It's amazing the types of apples that are no longer available commercially. If you are lucky, you may know someone who has something growing in their garden. It seems almost easier to find a nursery selling the tree than the actual fruit. My father had an old variety on his property (previously my grandfather's). If I had to guess, it was "snow". Those were some yummy apples. HUGE and pure white inside.
You inspired me to make a pie tonight! Not much to choose from, but two Granny Smith and two Winesaps worked ok for us. I felt better having read the article and having some scrap of info to apply to the choice. Thanks!
Karmijn de Sonnaville is a favorite of mine here in the Pacific NW. It's a cox orange jonathan cross that is wonderfully complex with sweet/tart flavor and floral and spicy notes. Excellent eaten fresh and makes delicious pies and sauce, unfortunately you can only get it by growing it at home. Raintree Nursery is an excellent source for dwarf apple trees pastapicker, although I don't know if they have yellow transparent.
Oh, how true the regional thing is! When I moved to Boston from Utah (born in Rochester NY) my new best friend's favorite apple was Macoun. I'd never heard of it! BTW, it should be Pahk YUAH (said very fast) cah, etc. Milkshakes with no ice cream really puzzled me as did "regular" coffee. To me, that meant "not decaf" so when the barista would say "Regular?" I'd answer, "Yes, black" and she'd give me an odd look. Took about 6 months to catch on they thought regular meant "with cream & sugar." And "tonic" for soda (Coke, etc). Oh how I miss Boston! Best place I ever lived. I left there for No. CA and now MD but my heart is in Boston.