Belgium is the country that is most associated with waffles, but it is believed that the recipe of making waffles originated somewhere in the Mediterranean. Every region of Belgium has its own special recipes for the batter-based flat cake.
While pancake-type foods started as far back as the Neolithic Age, it wasn't until the Middle Age when waffles became prominently known. During this time, they were commonly sold by street vendors. They made these waffles with barley and oats instead of the white flour that is used today. At the time, people called these oublies — a word evolved from the Greek tradition of making their own style of savory pancake-like food.
In the 13th century, however, a craftsman forged two cooking plates. The shapes in the "irons" created the classic squared look, prompting some to start referring to the cakes as "wafla," which means "honeybee hive." Today, this device is referred to as a pizelle. Pizelle's can have many other designs besides the classic honeycomb look, including coats of arms, religious symbols and other designs. The patent for this device was given to a Dutch-American from New York named Cornelius Swarthout in 1869. Now, every August 24th, people celebrate the patent by having a National Waffle Day.